Woop! I have a garden.

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Before moving out here to the sticks, I was city dweller for almost a decade.  Mama only had a 10′ x 10′ patch of land to keep alive, and I failed miserably.  Everything was always half dead, but you hardly noticed because there was so little there.  Now we have this huge lot (for a DC suburb) and I feel like others notice when things aren’t alive.  I’ve resolved to make it look a little more pleasant this year, and we are off to a good start.  There is actually grass seed coming up, and tulips that I put in the ground all the way last fall have found their way up.  It’s a pretty amazing feeling.  Gracie and I even planted a teeny-tiny Rosemary bush along our front walk this weekend.  We thought it would fill out nicely and allow our company to be greeted with great smells as they approach our door.

My favorite tree this season is quickly becoming the Redbud.  It’s completely beautiful, perfect for climbing, and gives great shade after the leaves come in.  I will say, this neighborhood is not for the allergy-afflicted.  I think we would be miserable right now if we weren’t immune to flowering trees.

Any other tips out there for some sunny beginner plantings that I can not kill and feel good about?

Gardening Vicariously

I can’t grow anything.  I mean, anything.  Which is one of the reasons I love working in a school with over 10,000 square feet of gardens.  I get to help out, and I get to feel like part of growing something special, and there is someone there to tell me what to do.

This afternoon, I was walking through the student garden to get Gracie from aftercare, and I snapped a couple photos.  My favorite thing about this garden is that it is completely student created.  They design the layout, plant the seeds, transplant seedlings, water, weed, and tend.  Every sign is student-created, and kids get to walk past the tulips or the lettuce and know that it was theirs.  It’s pretty special, particularly since so much of our population live in apartments (or live in black thumb households like mine) and don’t get a chance to garden.

Our kids get the chance to eat food they have grown, observe flowers they have planted, and build literacy authentically in our garden, and it makes me proud.

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If you are interested in learning more about our lovely gardens and the special school they surround, you can read about The First Lady’s visit a few years ago here.

It’s Spring Ya’ll

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I’m feeling impatients!  (Hilarious  Akward pun).  Okay, so it’s blazing hot here in the DC suburbs, and my air conditioning is completely busted in my car.  The Metro area tends to go from winter directly to the sweaty season.  For many, the combination of 90 degree temperatures and no A/C would cause some serious wilting, but all the flowers coming into bloom are bolstering me against the heat.  That and A/C at school and at home.  I caught these in a garden near my school, and after wiping the sweat from the lense, snapped a few photos.

Instagram Jam

ImageThis weekend, we went for a hike through the Mason Neck Wildlife Refuge.  It’s right near the house and is an easy place to squeeze in a Gracie-length hike.  Best part? There is a little telescope at one of the lookouts for kiddos to spy on herons, mallards, and sailboats in the Potomac.

How Does Your Garden Grow???

Or, my attempt to replace my black thumb with a green one.

I belong to a lovely cooking club made up of a group of teachers I worked with a few years ago before changing schools.  My friend Abbey made it all happen.  Not only is she an incredible teacher and mom, she can perform amazing fetes like make plants grow right out of the ground.  For this month’s meeting, she arranged a lesson at our Williams Sonoma on planting herbs and vegetables from seed.

When we got there, they had these little seedlings on display.  I was immediately inspired.

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How cute are these???  After walking us through what zone we live in (zone 6), and explaining how to read seed packets, we got to get started.

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We got all our materials together, including these little biodegradable containers for the seeds.  The best part about these little goodies? You don’t have to take your seedling out to plant them. You can just place them right in the dirt when you are ready to transplant.

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We got to choose our seeds, and we labeled our stakes.

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Check out Abbey at work!  She looked like a pro right away.

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And after spilling a lot of water, soil, and generally making a mess, I had little seeds all tucked in ready to sprout.  After we were done, I safely got them to Seth’s placed them in a tray so they can be watered from the bottom up without disturbing the seed, and put the whole shebang in a cool, dark space in the kitchen.  I can not WAIT to see some little plants poking out of there, and then to get some fresh basil from the garden this summer!