Garden Checkin 2017

Well all be. It’s summer this week. I haven’t said anything about my garden yet. We’ll I have reason for that, let’s start at the beginning.

It’s January and I cannot wait for planting season, last year I had a HUGE amount of help from Colorado Urban Farm.  They not only set up my beds, filled, them, planted, but with their laminated checklist/references I was able to keep things alive/weed and ultimately enjoy eating from my garden! It was a major success, but I felt like this year I could own the whole thing.  So I came up with a new design – add 2 4ftx8ft beds, and some containers for container corn.

I still planned on practicing square foot gardening. So I had 128 squares to fill and three large felt pots. I got on burpees.com and went ape shit. $100 worth of seeds later I had:

  1. Pickling Cucumbers
  2. Tomatoes (Beefsteak + Big Boy)
  3. Cauliflower
  4. Celery
  5. Spinach
  6. Container Corn
  7. Shasta Daisies
  8. Sunflowers
  9. Green Bell Peppers
  10. Jalapeños
  11. Banana Peppers
  12. Beans
  13. Summer Squash
  14. Zucchini
  15. Radish


Then I started the celery, cauliflower, peppers and tomatoes inside around March 15th. I bought this light from amazon, set up a room where they would be undisturbed and warm and spent a lot of time planting, making sure everything had good light etc. I used this kind of seedling tray from Black Magic – was really unhappy with it.  It said it was peat, but the peat never broke down even after it was soaked. It was more hydroponic style, which in hindsight is Black Magic’s whole ‘thing’.


I lost 50% of my seedlings when I transferred them to soil three weeks later. What remained were some hardy pepper plants, some spunky tomato plants and some super hair-fine celery plants plus one random cauliflower plant. That core group of plants was doing great – I had about 12 total and was feeling great about next steps with them. Then it came time to plant them outdoors. Four days later – IT FUCKING SNOWED IN MAY IN COLORADO.


But everything survived. It was a miracle! But a short lived one, three weeks after the snow another 50% of the plants were gone. Just POOF gone on 70-80 degree days under their shade/hail tent. I was/am/will always be disappointed.

I ended up just buying new plants at $2 a pop from Home Depot, O’Tooles, Walmart.


All in all, my seedling experiment was a bust. I’m glad I tried it, but I won’t be doing it again.

Cost of indoor seedlings: $50 for seeds, $80 for electricity, 8 hours total working time

Cost of new plants: $32

Also my home made compost that I used to plant my tall pompous grasses totally has veggies growing around it lol

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What do you grow in your garden?

For the first time ever, I have space for a garden!  So of course, I’m embarking on full homesteading! My dream come true – You know two summers ago I got to help my buddies at IGLOO – Sustainability Group plant their garden so I’m so excited to have my own! Here are the tentative plans for this upcoming season.

Space: 

We will locate 2 – 4x8ft garden beds on the west side of our house which gets full sun exposure.  We also know this part was used as a ‘garden’ before and was not used for some weird renter parking lot*.  We also know that if we have success and want to expand forward we can do so on this portion of the house.  Further, I HATE grass – so using the space would be not only beautiful, but help make less wasted lawn space. Sorry Lois, I know you are sad you raised someone who doesn’t love a green grass yard as much as you ;).   *see photo below

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What Will We Grow?

Cold Season Crops:

Beets, Kale, Cilantro, Broccolini (tiny broccoli!)

Warm Season Crops:

Tomatoes, Sweet Peppers, Hot Peppers, Zucchini, Cucumber, Chives, Rosemary, etc. herbs.

Materials:

We are going to be using Douglas Fir wood for the beds (not Cedar due to small savings in cost).  Yes, we will probably have to replace these in 5-10 years, but oh well – who knows what our garden will look like in 5-10 years anyways.

We are going to install a drip irrigation system on each bed that will be attached to a spigot timer.  We will also install some PVC frames for UV/Shade/Hail protection covering. Since it is Colorado this is a must not only for our location of the beds in full sun, but also for those freak hail storms that can ruin months of work in one afternoon.

We plan on getting underway with the garden on April 30th so expect a mapped out update for grid placement in the beds before then!

Of course I’ll also start my SCOBY/Kombucha up again and possibly dabble in some mushrooms if not too intensive.

Some other cool things will be all the canning, cooking/recipes – that will follow this summer/fall.

Anyways – any tips or advice to this newbie are MORE than welcome. Can’t wait to share what I discover.  What do you grow in your garden?

 

 

 

Craft Attack MuthaF*****

Happy Wednesday! I’m quite excited today, because later tonight is my monthly craft night with my favorite ladies in StitchCraft! I found these lovely ladies on MeetUp.com which is a great social planner for people new to a city or just looking for new social events to attend. For a solo-crafter like myself I have so enjoyed meeting so many crafters, whether they are knitters, crocheters, wool spinners/dyers, seamstresses, quilters, paper artisans… the list literally could go on, because there are so many wonderful people doing AMAZING things out there now. I wanted to share briefly the things I have come across lately/am in LOVE with in the world of crafting.

1. American-Made / Organic Fabrics

Let me just go ahead and inform you that cotton is one of the most heavily pesticide filled crops that we come into contact with on a daily basis. Seriously, now think about your sheets, your clothes, your lady products, your toilet paper, paper towels….. AHHHHH. I am SO ELATED to see Joann’s jump on board with an Organic Fabric line and boy is it pretty. The patterns are just so unique and visually marvelous. They are $10.99-14.99/yard though, so definitely wait for a 50% off coupon to purchase. I have only seen these in a few Joann’s stores though, I can’t seem to locate them on the website.




I’m seriously getting that panicky feeling only other crafters know right now looking at those bolts. The ‘oh man, maybe I need to leave work right now and go buy them all because what if it sells out and what if I can’t add it to the already ENORMOUS pile of WIP fabrics I have at home… ANGST.” Joann’s is also offering an “American-made” fabric line that is stunning as well. With 27 different designs and patterns it is great to see such a large chain offer something that is important to the spirit of ‘locally-made’ and responsible crafting.

Daisy On Vine Blue

I know not everyone supports shopping at a large chain like Joann’s so please check out your local fabric and sewing stores, often the smaller local shops have the best quality and respond to consumer desires faster than a giant store. My local sewing spot is The Needle Shop on Addison and Lincoln in Chicago. They offer so many different styles of rotating apparel and upholstery fabrics. Every time I go in there I think I touch and look at each bolt for 5 minutes.

2. Yarn/Crochet/Fiber Arts

I mean, I can’t even begin to share all the wonders I see daily regarding fiber arts. I’m continually inspired and awed at how crafters are able to dye/spin/manipulate and then create a gorgeous fiber item. A few of my favorite people/shops/stuff/events are:

knitxmidwest 2 – they are having a second one this year! you betchyer ass i already reserved 5 spots!

heyjenrenee – equal parts rad mom and epical knitter (plus rowan ambassador, GAPTASTIC Cowl Designer, knitxmidwest founder, the list goes on)

YarnBox – a monthly yarn delivery service that lets you sample and knit with 1/2 skeins of indie and small batch yarn producers. I seriously have LOVED being a YarnBox member. There is a wait list now, but it is worth it. Last month I got gorgeous yarn from Switzerland for christ’s sake!

Susan Crawford – the retro knit goddess.

Plus, because fiber arts are booming – so many people are creating top-notch patterns and even giving them away. Check out Ravelry before you ever buy a pattern chances are it is on there. But, if you into supporting indie pattern designers, there is no bad karma in donating or purchasing patterns from their websites/etsy.com stores/ravelry. Pay it forward my crafters!

What kind of things are inspiring you with the season change? Do you find that you change your craft entirely or just augment what you work on? Further, if anyone would like to share their thoughts and opinion about organic fabrics and/or large chain consumption I would love to hear you thoughts.

xxx
GFK

Allegro Coffee Headquarters Visit!

During my trip to Denver last week I got to visit and take a tour of the Allegro Coffee Headquarters in Thornton, Colorado. It was so great! I was very familiar with their products as I have used them for years. I love their coffees, teas, and spices and over the years have tried quite a multitude of their offerings. They have a partnership with Whole Foods, so they are ‘big time’ in that they supply to Whole Foods all over the nation. That is a LOT of coffee, tea, and spices! I was incredibly impressed with their facility, the lovely cafe they have in the building, and the cheerful disposition of all the employees there.

Here are my pictures from my little tour 🙂

lovely entrance cafe
lovely entrance cafe
bulk coffee/tea store.
bulk coffee/tea store.
coffee roaster - smelled sooo good.
coffee roaster – smelled sooo good.
massive roasting/packaging equipment
massive roasting/packaging equipment
boxing it up.
boxing it up.
all the tea ready to go!
all the tea ready to go!
standard lavern and shirley conveyer belt picture without the glove.
standard lavern and shirley conveyer belt picture without the glove.

I had such a blast and then got a GREAT chai tea latte on my way out plus 4 boxes of tea! Thanks bitesizedtwinkie for the Allegro love!

XXX
GFK

Sweat

This fitness challenge is getting DURTY. Just kidding, but I do have a few thoughts on the word ‘sweat.’

1. I’m obsessed with my new work out clothes that wick the sweat from muh baadee.

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2. I am really loving the Argus app – it combines pedometer/water calculator/weight manager/activity log/social competition. Just ask Lois she is getting fierce with the daily step competition.

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3. Running – last weekend I set a new best (in the last five years) of 2 consecutive 8:30 minute miles. I ran between 6.5-9 and when it was over I was sweating and felt the strong urge to spew all over the gym. I, however, refrained because I like Planet Fitness and do not need to be kicked out for “jillian michaels-ing’ myself. YOU CAN GET OFF THIS TREADMILL WHEN YOU PUKE, PASS OUT OR DIE!!!

SWEAT.
xxx
GFK

My Thesis: Read it all!

With my Top Five Post earlier and mentioning my thesis journey I realized I never made my paper available to any curious readers. Just remember this is MY ORIGINAL WORK. If you steal from it or use it in a way that is not just reading it for leisure/curiosity/seeing if I can write/write without an attitude – NOT COOL. As Liam Neeson said in Taken “I will find you.” Okay that being said….

Here it is in it’s entirety. The Organic Beauty Industry: A Gendered Economic Review

Can you believe this goofball has a MA?
Can you believe this goofball has a MA?