Square Foot Garden: Best Laid Plans

Today brussel sprouts went into six square originally marked for garlic, beets, and beans. But- the little starts at the garden store called to me and things are easy to rearrange when they are on paper. Plus, it's fun to see some green in the garden. Sometimes the seeds in the ground feel so theoretical it's hard to wait until they sprout.
I planted two per square, which will probably prove to be a little snug as they get bigger. We'll see.
Sweet little sprouts:


Square Foot Garden: The Plan

In winter, I plot and plan. In spring I move. -Henry Rollins

It all started with this- the seed catalogue made it's appearance in January and I found myself carelessly flipping through pages.
Then I was folding down corners, marking pages to come back to, making mental notes of things I wanted to plant.
Then, for the first time, I really read the descriptions of how and when to plant certain seeds. I noticed recommendation for soil temperature and for care. I found a few things that could go in the ground early- forty and forty five degree soil for germination. Suddenly, spring felt close again.
So, I started to plan. I made lists of veggies we wanted to try for the first time (potatoes!), veggies we wanted to be sure an grow again (peas! beans! tomatoes!), and the veggies I wanted to take a break from (broccoli, cherry tomatoes).
And then I really got into it. I started regrouping things by plant times and soil temperatures so I could think about planting order and what I could start.

I roughed out this plan:

You can see, on the side, things are sorted by temp. I also made a code for the order I would plant thing and started to think about what I could plant in a square when my early crops are done. It's all a grand experiment.

I'm doing square foot gardening for the second year. My plot is about 6ft by 8ft, which is huge. Last year I spent a lot of time researching how many of each seed I could put per square foot. There's lots out there to guide anyone who is interested.
This year, I'm trusting my math skills a little more. If something says it need to be three inches apart to grow, I know that means I can do about nine seeds and still leave enough room to not crowd too close to the edge of the square.

I learned a lot last year. Like, trellising tomatoes is amazing- but I can be even more aggressive in pruning and tying them. And I should expect much to grow in the squares right in front of these tomatoes.

Anyway, after my rough draft, I started this one:
This one is a little easier to read and I tried to leave room in the squares for extra notes- things like variety, date planted, etc.

So far I have in the peas, sweet pea flowers, the onion, and the garlic. Potatoes go in this week. Then I'll just be in a waiting game until those first sprouts come up. That's always the best feeling.

This plan will change- and it will change a lot- before the summer is over. I know that. But a plan gets me started and gives me something to hang my hat on.

Below are some of the onion sets being set in place for growing. I put them close together and I'll thin the when they start going.


Square Foot Garden: Prepping the bed

"We are stardust. We are golden. And we got to get ourselves back to the garden"- Joni Mitchell

Somehow, here in the middle of February, spring found Portland. Signs of spring, as my daughter would say, are everywhere. For instance, this slug we've already found creeping in our new plants:
"It feels all sticky" she says with no qualms
So, my gardening adventure begins again. The bedraggled vines of finished veggies, the forgotten last tomatoes of last October-- mere memories as I flip through the seed catalogue, plotting the great comeback that is SPRING.
And while I hope, with grad school coming to a close this May, that soon I'll have sewing projects to share and crafting successes to celebrate- I thought sharing this gardening adventure post worthy as well. Not to mention, a record for when it starts again next spring.

This is year three in my fabulous garden plot. With no sun in our own yard, I use a community spot at the neighborhood middle school. Year 1- I threw some things in and had a cherry tomato that took over everything. Some good harvest, but lots of missed opportunity. Year 2- I discovered square foot gardening. My math heart could not resist. Squares, math, order, LOVELY. But still, lots to learn. So now, Year 3, I'm ready to make even more of my space.

The bed had a few remnants of my attempts at winter crops. Not wanting to say goodbye to my garden last year, I planted some carrots. I think they would be something great if I gave them another month, but I'm not willing to do so at the expense of waiting to get other plants in, so out they came.
We dug up the soil turned it all, then got ready to add another layer of new compost. The school will do this as a service, but not until community service day at the end of April. Since I just discovered that peas can go in NOW, I couldn't wait.
So, here's where we started:
New dirt waiting to join the old
We brought in three bags of good garden bed compost and spread it out and worked it in with the dirt from last year. I don't plan on fertilizing much beyond that. 

Then we started putting in the grid. The idea here is to plant things by the square foot, not by the row. We just stuck thumb tacs in every 12 inches into the frame and wrapped string around each one. M continued to spread dirt for us. 

laying out the grid

Now, that's a beautiful garden. Ready for anything. We put in a few peas today. Yeah! Soil temp for peas only needs to be 40 degrees and the Oregon State extension services says to plant them in February. Who knew we could get this rolling so soon! Soon to come- radishes and potatoes- also cool weather starts.

 And so it begins! Spring! Garden! A life outside grad school! But for now, I need to hit the books again.


Make it Perfect- Sprout

 The dress I finished last night. My first NON Oliver and S. Here it is in the strange 11pm sewing room light:
The company is Make it Perfect and the pattern in Sprout. The dress is advertised as a winter dress- lined with flannel, long sleeves, hood. Just what we needed around here.
 Notes about the pattern:
1) Make it Perfect is Australian based, so the sizing is different. I had to poke around online to guess which size translated to baby's size. I went with size four.
2) This pattern is an easier one- but I'm still glad I spent the last two years on Oliver and S. Those directions are full of hints and EVERY step needed for a professional finish. This pattern didn't have all that- but it was easy to learn what I used from my past experience.

So, the thing that had me on pins and needles all night- would the dress fit? Did I guess correctly?
 YES!! I did! It fit really well! And she wore it all day with comfort and ease. Played in it, ran it in, napped in it. Lovely.
 I've only been using fabric from my stash. It's time to make a real dent in that fabric stash. It feels great. The floral was a Liberty cotton on sale at Bolt Fabrics and the blue lining was a flannel I bought tons of at Mill End for the back of her baby quilt. I adjusted the hemming so to blue would poke out at the sleeve and the bottom hem.
 I knew pigtails would be just the thing for this dress. With a little lunch to distract her, we managed to wrangle a few hair ties in.
I would change a few things in the next go around. 1) I would either make the sleeve longer or just go up a size in the bodice. With the flannel lining, I'm worried she'll outgrow it quickly. 2) I would use the hood pattern from the school days Oliver and S jacket. It has three pieces instead of two and I like the finish of it.
I just find it amazing I can even think about veering from a pattern at ALL to make something work better for me. This sewing thing has really been a journey.... and I have so much more to learn!

So much running in the new dress meant a little time with Dada was needed. I think we'll see a lot of the dress this winter.


Ice Cream in October

Eighteen luscious, scrumptious flavors
Chocolate, lime and cherry,
Coffee, pumpkin, fudge banana
Caramel cream and boysenberry.
Rocky road and toasted almond,
Butterscotch, vanilla dip,
Butter brickle, apple ripple,
Coconut and mocha chip,
Brandy peach and lemon custard,
Each scoop lovely, smooth and round,
Tallest ice cream cone in town,
Lying there (sniff) on the ground.

-Shel Silverstein

Oliver and S. How I love! And the Ice Cream dress pattern? The best. I've made the dress four times now and the shirt version once. Maybe not 18 luscious flavors- but I'm on my way!

 This particular version is a size four. FOUR! I held it up to the six month size I first made- unreal. That thing about babies growing up fast? True. All true. (Wrinkles in the picture? Because she wore it before I did the photo shoot)
Check the adorable bunny fabric. Perfect.
I made the dress one size bigger than I thought I needed because I didn't want to work and work... then have it not fit. But, I forgot, Oliver and S does a little of that for you. So, it's a little big.

Even a little big, it's perfect for some bunny I know. She wore it all day, put toys in the pocket (is there any other reason to have a pocket?)

 Had to get the the Star Wars shot in all this. She used it as a suitcase, and went on a journey to a galaxy far far away.
Another success. Seeing her in clothes I made... worth it all.
I have another finished, she'll try it on in the morning, fingers crossed it fits. It's not an Oliver and S pattern. Still though, it turned out. Ha! Flannel lined and long sleeves- something for these winter months.


Late night

"Now I know my ABCs, next time won't you sing with me?"

I don't know. I just found myself in THAT situation. You know, the situation where I'm in a one week professional development class for graduate credit, homework to do, a baby to get to bed, and a sewing project that just HAD to be finished.
So, with most {some} of my homework behind me, I jumped in to the project. And, with a husband out of town I had nobody to hold me accountable to my bed time...well, except myself... and myself kept saying, "one more letter, one more letter"

 For this project I used a tutorial I found through pinterest- it led me to Chez Beeper Bebe and her tutorial. I changed her letter template- I realized (I think) that she was just using Arial black on an outline setting, and I wanted bigger letters... so I made my own templates. Also, this set does not have magnets in them, but magnets are ordered and another set will be made this weekend.
I found the "scrap busting" aspect of the project delightful. Fun to watch that pile shrink a little, while reliving memories of the original projects the scraps came from. And, since I dream of getting my craft room organized this summer, it's probably important I reduce my fabric supply to make the task easier, right? 


to the fathers!

my father moved through dooms of love 
through sames of am through haves of give, 
singing each morning out of each night 
my father moved through depths of height 

-e.e. cummings 

 So, I'll admit it. I'm a groupie. An e.e. cummings groupie. Like so many before me and so many after... I just love reading his words. i carry your heart with me has long been my definition of love, my love theme of life. I once wrote a lesson plan designed to teach some of his less erotic poetry to 3-5th graders. 

So, as I planned a father's day gift, sifting through the myriad of weird stuff out there in pintrest/Internet land, I came across e.e. cumming's poem that he wrote after his father died. How have I missed this poem? Every word of it made me want to meet this man, this father, this person. 

I found one stanza that particularly made me think of my husband and combined it with hand prints- baby's first painting!- and I think the end result is perfection. I stuck it in a frame (and then took a not so great picture) and it's a treasure for always. So sweet.

The stanza I went with was:
My father moved through theys of we,
singing each new leaf out of each tree
(and every child was sure that spring
danced when she heard my father sing)
singing in spring for a very new daughter

 Getting into the paint with baby just got me excited to get some more messy arts and crafts going this summer. There is freedom in knowing I can turn on the sprinkler and get a clean baby through more "play time". 

So, father's day to all. I'm so thankful that my daughter has such a sweet, caring, thoughtful, smart, interesting, loving man to be her father.
my father moved through dooms of love through sames of am through haves of give, singing each morning out of each night my father moved through depths of height - See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15405#sthash.vpq1CazO.dp
my father moved through dooms of love through sames of am through haves of give, singing each morning out of each night my father moved through depths of height - See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15405#sthash.vpq1CazO.dpuf
my father moved through dooms of love through sames of am through haves of give, singing each morning out of each night my father moved through depths of height - See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15405#sthash.vpq1CazO.dpuf