Friday, June 23, 2017

I'm Back - With Garden Pictures!

Well that was a long break, wasn't it? Life has been crazy and I just wasn't feeling it. But summer is here, I'm loving our garden, and I want to share it. Today I'll showcase our vegetable garden.

 In the front raise beds we have sugar snap peas and mixed lettuce in the first square. I planted some more lettuce and onions on the other side of the peas.

Next comes the first crop of bush green beans, one of my favorite homegrown veggies. I love making a salad with them.
Then we have a bed of swiss chard, spinach, carrots and green onions. I planted these onions from seed so they make tiny green onions for salads.

I have 24 tomato plants that I grew from seed. Lots of paste and a mix of heirloom tomatoes. Yum!

I also have a bed of peppers, both sweet and hot. These took such a long time to get big, but they are doing great in the hot weather.

In the center square I always plant flowers and this year I put in some pansies and zinnias.

In the bigger back beds we have different squashes, cucumbers, onions, sunflowers, strawberries and asparagus and rhubarb. All the annual vegetables get rotated every year. We still have trouble with viruses on our tomatoes, but it doesn't seem to limit our harvest.

Strawberries, asparagus, red raspberries, and blueberries on the right.
Justin, Andrew, and grandson Tad picking strawberries in May.
I hope you all enjoyed this tour of the vegetable garden. I really love to keep it looking nice (when it's not too hot:) and it's fun to show it off! I will be back (much sooner) with flower gardens, and the crafting I have been doing. In the meantime, have a great weekend!!!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Botanical Dyes

Last summer I finally played with dyes from plant materials, something I have wanted to do for a long time. I bought an inexpensive ball of white wool yarn to experiment with. After looking at a few sites on the internet, I gathered up some plants, fruits and even beans that are shown to make dye colors. First I prepared the wool by scouring it which is just soaking it in soapy water and then rinsing. Then the yarn has to be soaked in a mordant. It can be alum, cream of tarter, or copper. I chose alum for the first round. I prepared the dye stuff by boiling and straining it and then in goes the wool. I wasn't very careful about measuring, but I did keep a record of what I got. Pretty colors! I especially liked the colors from the red raspberries and black beans.

Later I wanted to dye enough yarn to knit a hat. I used the black bean water again only this time I used cream of tarter for the mordant. Guess what? Instead of a pretty green I got this soft gray blue. Still very nice and it made a beautiful color for the ombre hat. I am definitely doing more of this next summer. I even got seeds for a few traditional dye plants such as woad and weld. They get a little more complicated to extract the dye, but I'm going to give it a try!