It’s Official – I’m now a Master Gardener

I am so happy that I’ve graduated as a Master Gardener! But there is still a lot to learn.

Master Gardener Badge

Master Gardener Badge

Now I think back to last year’s garden. How I had to plant it three times, well I planted once and then replanted two times due to frost and other conditions. I sure wish I had known then what I know now. And yet, after all my classes I still feel inept. They say some people have green thumbs. My Mom is one such person. You should see her yard, front and back, it’s just beautiful. She has such wonderful plants, trees and shrubs.

I have learn to stand back and look at how things grow differently. Case in point, I willingly looked into a plant because a specific spider was present and I wanted to see what he was eating. (Of course when said spider decided he had had enough and quickly came running out I promptly jumped back assuming I was his next meal.)

What I need is a dose gamma rays to ignite my green DNA. So here’s to lush tomatoes, crisp green lettuces, juicy black berries, fresh green beans and fragrant herbs. Let the growing season commence!



My Limerick to You

It’s Saint Paddy’s day weekend don’t cha know! So in honor of that –

I’ll be sitting here wearing my green
On the day that is March seventeen,
A Guiness I’ll enjoy,
Perhaps a Rob Roy,
I think this will be my routine.

May you find yer pot of gold, enjoy yer corned beef and cabbage, and may luck always be with ye.

Leprechaun Lady

Leprechaun Lady

Dear Tomato how do you grow?

Spring and summer are coming so it’s time to start thinking about growing tomatoes! But what kind?

Well here is some info that might help you understand how they fruit so you will know. Tomatoes that are determinate type ripen in a concentrated period of time. So you’ll get the bulk of your crop all at once.

Indeterminate tomatoes, on the other hand, will grow vigorously to heights of up to 12 feet and produce fruit until frost kills them. Wonderful type to have that fresh tomato taste all summer long.

So if you want to make a big batch of sauce you will want determinate and if you want tomatoes for salads, sandwiches thru the summer etc., you want to grow indeterminate. For me it was one step further, what would grow well in my area but also what will grow well in containers in my greenhouse.

The Oregon State University (OSU) has actually developed several breeds of tomatoes that some of the best determinate tomatoes you can grow in the Northwest. Be sure to contact your local extension office to find out what you should be growing in your area.

Now lets get our salsa, tomato sauce, bruschetta, caprese salad and BLT’s on!

Walk by Hugging

Today after putting up the new fence for the garden, we had to return a tool we rented. We were tired and hungry and decided to get lunch. While we sat outside a woman and her husband were leaving. She stopped and asked if were cold. I replied not really, actually feels nice out. (54 degrees) I laughed that we didn’t want to eat inside since we were filthy from yard work. She then looks at Derek and says “I’m going to give you a hug! And I don’t miss anyone, so you’re getting hugged too”  and then by joe she did hug us both.

This got me to thinking, how hard is it to do small random acts of kindness? Not hard at all. And I don’t mean just buying the food or coffee for the person behind you in the drive thru. That act doesn’t require actual interaction with the person. While it may not be advisable to start hugging random people I give you a list of suggestions –

1 – Help someone take the groceries out of the basket and load them into their car.
2  – If they’ve done it already grab their cart and return to the cart area.

The one for me, I did last week, was I saw an elderly woman trimming her small decorative hedge while on my way home from a rose pruning session at the Discovery Garden. I pulled over, and pruners in hand walked up and said how can I help? She looked at me like I was crazy but gave a grateful smile and pointing to what she was trying to accomplish. This act took only 30 minutes of my time. Maybe that’s why I was hugged today.

3 – Take your neighbors trash cans out to the street for pick up or bring them in after trash is picked up.
4 – Go to an Assisted Living home and for 30 minutes let them just talk.  You have no idea how many of our elderly sit in homes each day with no visitors and for them to be able to talk to someone who listens and asks questions lifts their spirits immeasurably!
5 – And for those in high traffic areas this is a biggie – If someone signals, let them over. For 24 driving hours allow all who need to merge to merge. It really isn’t going to cost you that much extra time.
6 – Tell a stranger they look nice.
7 – If you want to spend money, that waitress/waiter…leave them double the tip.
8 – Donate blood! There is a huge shortage.
9 – This summer, leave a cold beverage out for your mail carrier/gardener/bus driver etc.
10 – Call someone you haven’t talked to in ages just to ask how they are doing.

There are thousands of ways we can be better at making our environment better. I would love to hear about your acts of kindness as simple or complex as they are. You never know the ripple affect, but acts of kindness can only be positive.