10-15-07

Status updates:

  • Freeze drying experiments have been underway. Mixed fruit was the first batch, ice cream bars the second, and chili is now in for the third. Mixed results. Fruit seemed fine, but the portion that was put in mylar with an oxygen absorber must have had some moisture in it so it went bad. Ice cream bars are tasty, but exploded. I bet the chili is gonna be nice though.
  • Made a few iterations of felt fairies. Some debate with partner about the difference between fairies and angels, haha. Needed more pipe cleaners, so those are on the way. Looking forward to finishing the mobile and moving on to trying to make little booties and hats.
  • Going to pick up the cross-stitch back up while I wait for the pipe cleaners to arrive.
  • Aerial rig has been up, had a few sessions of aerial work. However, overall, have not been doing as well staying active as last month. Autumn means great weather for silks though.
  • Ben has been very busy printing out his expandohedrons and we will be working on documenting that this weekend.
  • Want to recommit to studying Japanese since we will likely be going to Japan for our honeymoon.
  • Ice ballet is planted in the garden, but I’m worried I didn’t keep it watered enough. Hard to tell when the plant is going to “die” regardless- won’t know unless until time for it to bloom in the spring.
  • Enjoying Seven Eves by Neal Stephenson. Probably should be reading Ready Player One, but just couldn’t help myself.
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Collection of felt shops

This is for my future reference when needing more felt, as I embark on my felted e-textile journey….

https://www.etsy.com/shop/wildethyme

https://www.etsy.com/shop/BenzieDesign

https://www.etsy.com/shop/CraftyWoolFelt

https://www.etsy.com/shop/yarnwench

https://www.etsy.com/shop/Motomo

https://www.etsy.com/shop/FeltedforEwe

https://www.etsy.com/shop/FeltingFarmerLady

https://www.etsy.com/shop/FairyTaleWool

https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheFeltedEweOnEtsy

felt

My felt collection. Much of this is from shops listed above. 

 

Growing Monarchs

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Me admiring monarchs in a butterfly garden art exhibition at Alchemy

My butterfly weed didn’t do well this year. But I’m not giving up on growing some monarchs. Some of my other butterfly friendly plants ¬†are at least still alive...

I’m missing some of my seeds. I definitely want to plant more mexican sun flowers and zinnias (both annuals), they’re both very pretty plants! But I’ve lost those seeds, as well as my milkweed seeds. Oh well- I am thinking of trying a swamp milkweed variety called Ice Ballet.

Fun fact: The milkweed genus was named after Aesculapius, Greek god of medicine, because of its use to treat a variety of ailments.

 

I’m subscribed to a newsletter on the topic and they released their overview of their Raise the Migration event. So this prompted me to put all my notes together in one place.

I think I’ve probably missed this season, even if I got some plants. ¬†Seems like now might be when the butterflies lay their eggs?

Here are my notes:

Perennials grow back bigger each year. Work well as borders. Propagate by cutting.

In order for annuals to grow back, you must harvest the seeds.

Need groups of at least 6 milkweed plants. Needs to not be too windy.

Tools: Caterpiller cage, floral tubes for cuttings, something to use as poop tray, bleach for disinfecting poop trays, magnifying glass for looking at baby caterpillars, gloves for handling milkweed (avoid getting into eyes).

Plants: Ice Ballet, Purple Milkweed, Hollyhock, Borage (annual), Black Eyed Susan (short-lived perennial), Purple Coneflower (perennial), Cosmos (annual)
Goal: 1-10 monarchs
Life-cycle: 30 days from egg to butterfly
Look for eggs: July?
Release Butterflies : Late August/Early September

 

Ice Ballet

Start: Direct sow outdoors in Fall
Germination: Requires light
Flowers: Mid Summer, Late Summer/Early Fall
Soil: Slightly acidic
Light: Full sun to some shade
Spacing: 24-36 in.
Propagate: Collect seeds in the fall, when the brown pods are dry and have begun to split. Crack the pods open completely allowing the seeds to dry for one to two weeks in paper bags Once they are dry, place the seeds into plastic bags filled with moist perlite or vermiculite and store them in a cold place, approximately 35 to 38 degrees Fahrenheit, for at least 4 to 12 weeks (stratification). Good germination results have been reported without stratification by soaking the seed. Soak the seed in hot water (190 degrees Fahrenheit) for 12 hours. Repeat this process two additional times for expected seed germination of 50%.

Purple Milkweed

Start: Sow seeds directly outside in fall, start seeds indoors 2 months before final frost-
Germination: Needs sun, indoors needs stratification
Flowers: late spring to early summer
Soil: Rich with good drainage
Light: Full sun – Some shade
Spacing: 1 to 3 ft
Propagation: difficult, try to save seeds

Hollyhock

Start: After last spring frost, indoors 2-3 weeks before spring frost, cover with plastic
Germination: requires indirect sunlight, keep wet, 7-14 days
Flowers: two years from seed to bloom.
Soil: Rich moist and well-draining
Light: Full Sun
Spacing: 1/4 inch deep 8-10″ apart, in the back of flowerbed
Propagate: Reseeds self well
Note: may be best to use underground watering for hollyhock

Borage

Start: Spring and Autumn
Matures: 6 weeks
Flowers: Summer and Spring
Soil: Average well-draining soil
Light: Full sun – some shade
Spacing: 1/4″ deep, `1″ apart , thin for 2ft between plants
Propagate: Reseeds itself well
Note: plays well with strawberries

Black Eyed Susan

Start: Prepare planting containers approximately six to eight weeks before the last spring frost. Fill 3-inch starter pots with a mixture of 4 parts potting soil, 1 part medium-grit sand and 1 part perlite.
Germinate: Prepare black-eyed Susan seeds for indoor sowing five months before the last spring frost. Store them inside the refrigerator in a plastic bag filled with lightly moistened sphagnum moss. Remoisten the moss, as needed. Takes a week to germinate
Flowers: June to October Requires dead-heading
Soil: Average, well-draining
Light: Full sun to some shade
Spacing: 1/8″ deep, 12-18″ apart loosely covered

Purple Coneflower

Start: Mid-spring, early fall
Germinate: Fold a paper towel in half. Sprinkle it with water until it’s barely damp but not soggy. Sprinkle the coneflower seeds on one half of the paper towel. Fold the towel in half so the seeds are between two layers of moist towel. Seal the towel in a plastic bag and keep it in the refrigerator for eight to 12 weeks.
Flowers: Summer
Soil: Rich, good drainage
Light: Full sun to some shade
Spacing: 12″ apart
Propagate: may be started from root division in fall, from 3+ year old plants

Cosmos

Start: indoors 4 to 6 weeks before the last spring frost in trays or pots with a good seed-starting mixture. Seedlings grow fast, so move them into 5-inch pots as soon as they’re 3 or 4 inches tall.
Flowers: 7 weeks to first bloom, requires deadheading
Soil: Well-draining, sandy to average soil
Light: Full Sun
Spacing: 1/4″ deep, 8- 24″ apart, provide support
Propagate: Reseeds itself well, spreads

Where monarchs hang out

Master of the Peppers

I have had a slow start to my gardening process, because I was insisting to myself that I would build the raised bed gardens, but I finally said, no, I really just want to get started… I just don’t have quite enough time to woodwork….

I have a bunch of seeds, some herbs and teas, peppers, various vegetables, but I’m going to get even more… but mostly, I want to grow every kind of pepper. I already have a couple pepper plants but I didn’t put a name-stake in and so I don’t remember if they are jalopenos. They may be. They recently grew flowers so I am pretty excited. Ben loves peppers, and they make any dish amazing so I figure I will specialize in them.

Peppers play well with tomatoes, carrots, and cucumbers. Rotate with peas and beans.

We live in zone 7b: 5-10.

Last spring frost is approximately late march.  First fall frost is approximately mid-November.

In summary, it appears that pretty much all the peppers do well planted 8-10 weeks in well drained mulchy composty not-so-nitrogenized soil supported with a stake or cage.

So here are my notes, these are untested rules, so I wouldn’t follow this if I was a reader, I would do my own research:

Bell pepper

  • Start:¬†indoors 8-10 weeks before last spring¬†frost date.¬†3 to a pot, and thin out the weakest seedling.
  • Germinate:¬†70¬į¬†F.
  • Soil: A week before transplanting, introduce fertilizer or aged compost into your garden¬†soil.¬†Well drained, with mulch or plastic¬†covering.
  • Transplant:¬†Put in shade before transplanting. ¬†Transplant when soil should be at least 65¬į¬†F
  • Plant spacing: 18 to 24 inches apart (but keep paired plants close to¬†touching.)
  • Fertilize:¬† Fertilize after the first fruit¬†set. Put two or three match sticks in the hole with each plant, along with about a teaspoon of fertilizer. These¬†give the plants a bit of sulfur, which they¬†like.
  • Water: one to two inches per week; For larger fruit, spray the plants with a solution of one tablespoon of Epsom salts in a gallon of water, once when it begins to bloom, and once ten days¬†later.

Jalope√Īo pepper

  • Light:¬†Full sun
  • Start:¬†Indoor, 8 weeks before last frost.
  • Matures:¬†65-80 days
  • Plant spacing:¬† 1/4″ deep; 12-36 inches apart
  • Soil requirements:¬†well-drained;¬†Amend soil with 3 to 5 inches of compost or other organic matter prior to planting. Soil pH should be pH 5.5-7.0. Use mulch.
  • Fertilize:¬†rich in phosphorus, potassium and calcium

Serrano pepper

  • Light:¬†Full sun
  • Fruit size:¬†3 to 3.5 inches
  • Matures:¬†80 days
  • Plant spacing:¬†18 inches apart
  • Soil requirements:¬†well-drained; Amend soil with 3 to 5 inches of compost or other organic matter prior to planting. Soil pH should be 6.2 to 7.0.
  • Fertilize: a

Habenero pepper

  • Light: Bright Sun
  • Temperature: Warm
  • Plant spacing:¬†18 inches apart
  • Soil requirements:¬†Peppers need well-drained, nutrient-rich soil. Amend soil with 3 to 5 inches of compost or other organic matter prior to planting. Soil pH should be 6.2 to 7.0.
  • Start: indoors. Plant outside after at least 6 leaves in warm soil.
  • Water: Infrequent but deep watering
  • Fertilize: ¬†¬ľ tablespoon of nitrogen per plant when six weeks old.

Poblano pepper

  • Light:¬†Full sun
  • Start:¬†Indoor, 8 weeks before last frost.
  • Matures:¬†65-80 days
  • Plant spacing:¬† 1/4″ deep; 12-36 inches apart
  • Soil requirements:¬†well-drained;¬†Amend soil with 3 to 5 inches of compost or other organic matter prior to planting. Soil pH should be pH 5.5-7.0. Use mulch.
  • Fertilize:¬†rich in phosphorus, potassium and calcium

Chili pepper

  • Light:¬†Full sun
  • Start:¬†Indoor, 8 weeks before last frost.
  • Matures:¬†65-80 days
  • Plant spacing:¬† 1/4″ deep; 12-36 inches apart
  • Soil requirements:¬†well-drained;¬†Amend soil with 3 to 5 inches of compost or other organic matter prior to planting. Soil pH should be pH 5.5-7.0. Use mulch.
  • Fertilize:¬†rich in phosphorus, potassium and calcium

Shishito pepper

  • Light:¬†Full sun
  • Fruit size:¬†3 to 4 inches long
  • Matures:¬†60 days for green fruits, 80 days for red
  • Plant spacing:¬†18 to 24 inches
  • Plant size:¬†24 to 30 inches tall
  • Start: Indoors, 8 to 10 weeks before the last frost.
  • Water: check the soil 4-6‚Ä≥ inches deep and water when the soil feels dry to the touch.
  • Fertilize:¬†Balanced vegetable fertilizer with a formula such as 5-10-10 or similar.

Cross stitch 

Cross stitching takes forever. After many hours this weekend, still haven’t completed a hoop area. But getting close.

I have ordered some replacement floss for the brown and grey because I have misplaced them. I also ordered floss I’m many colors as well as some roving and mixed batt.¬†

My next two cross stitching projects~

(This one I will of course add aerial silks to.)