gardening

Another sprout update

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Now my friends, all seeds have sprouted except for our beloved Jalepenos! (My husband laid hands on them and said a heartfelt prayer this morning). If they don’t sprout soon I might need to try again with fresh seeds. The good news is, we have yellow pear tomato, speckled roman tomato, tomatillo, better boy tomato, and poblano peppers! Once they get their second set of leaves they will be transplanted outside where they will join “Okinawa Vegetable.” They will also be placed directly into the soil (still in eggshells) as the eggshells will compost and provide calcium.

Happy gardening!

Marissa

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gardening

First sprouts of 2013

Great news! We have sprouts!

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The Speckled Roman and Mexican Yellow Pear tomato Seeds are the first to sprout out of the set–they even beat the pepper seeds that were planted nearly three days earlier. These are an heirloom variety of vegetables. I bought the seed packet for the Speckled Romans from Whole foods and the Yellow Pear Tomatoes where imports from Mexico that I ate but I saved the seeds first. I obtained both varieties last year with hopes that I can grow them.

When planting seeds you need to plant 2-3 seeds in each spot to ensure at least one will sprout; but when more than one sprout you have to separate them or else they will all be weak stalks. You have to try and decide which one is the strongest.

For now I will just be grateful for the miracle of new life!

Happy Gardening,
Marissa

gardening

Keep a record of when you fertilize so you won’t forget when to fertilize again (lots of pictures)

Had a good and busy day in the garden today and yesterday:

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I added a couple more flower plants in this entry bed.

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I added some flowers to this spot as well. In this area I also buried fertilizers around the first 9 Hibiscus bushes. I learned through my research that Hibiscus plants need approximately three parts potassium, two parts nitrogen, and one small part phosphorous. I used banana peels and coffee grounds as I’ve heard old gardeners sometimes do.

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Here I planted Lemon Balm which is a yummy smelling herb. I have heard Mosquitos aren’t big fans of this plant which makes it appealing to me. Since it is like a mint, I have it in a self watering container as these herbs like a little more moisture than most. I sprinkled some slow release fertilizer in with it.

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Here I have three pepper plants in a box that can fit 8 pepper plants. The first two on the left are jalapeño transplants I bought here in Okinawa a week ago, the third is a colorful pepper plant I bought today (the label reads “okinawa vegetable”), and the next plants will be the seeds I started. I sprinkled slow release fertilizer around the plants.

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In this shallow clay pot I lined the bottom of the container with a coffee filter and drainage stones. Most herbs (mint being the exception) are Mediterranean and like a hot dry climate. This means you must make the pots as moisture wicking as you can. For this arrangement I chose two thyme plants, chamomile, and a melampodem flower (common herb and vegetable companion in Pamela Crawford’s container series). I also used slow release fertilizer in this container.

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Here I also used the drainage stones so that this Basil will be especially tasty. I only planted a single impatiens flower as it is flexible with sun or shade and it won’t take long for the Boxwood Basil to get BIG. Slow release fertilizer was added to this one as well.

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Here I have an okra plant I found in the 45 yen bin and I couldn’t be happier about this one. I really hope I have success with okra this year. With it I planted some gorgeous, tiny petunias and sprinkled some white petunia seed around the empty space. The petunia/okra combo is also featured in Pamela Crawford’s container series. Slow release fertilizer was added.

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Here I have a lavender plant in which I left open space to plant seeds in hopes some flowers will spring up and accompany this fragrant plant. The seeds I chose are white petunia, purple salvia, and chamomile. Slow release fertilizer was added.

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I can hardly wait to harvest delicious food from this garden and watch my flowers bloom.

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As for the “Eesa-Fuji”, after observing it I noticed all of the flowers dropped when it didn’t get very much light. I also noticed that it is in a quick drying soil and as I kept it in partial sun it seemed to become greener. I wanted to plant low growing, dainty purple flowers and these where the only ones I found. I will continue to watch its progress.

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If following in the advice of fertilizing every three months, most of my plants will be due for a feeding in late July. Happy Gardening!

Marissa

Garden Crafts

Trying a New Seed Starting Method

I recently saw someone use egg shells to start seeds on Pinterest and I wanted to try it myself. My added touch? I used a sharpie to label the seeds so that I remember what I planted and when.

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When the seedlings are the desired size for transplanting, I can bury the eggshell right into the ground. No root disturbance, organic, instant compost, resourceful, and free–it’s a win win.

Happy Gardening!

Marissa

gardening

A Half-Answered Question

“Accuracy of language is one of the bulwarks of truth.”
Anna Jameson

In the last post I posed a question about a peculiar plant I picked up. Well my Filipino house inspector noticed it immediately and asked me what it was. I explained my predicament and asked if he could read Kanji and tell me what the label said.

He replied, “It says, ‘EESA-FUJI'”.

I listened really intently as he said this and slowly repeated, “EESA-FUJI?”

“No,” he said. “Eets’ za Fuji.”

“Oh,” I responded. “It’s a Fugi!”

“Yes, Thas what eet says in Kanji!” He replied.

(Head hanging low in embarrassment at unintentionally mimicking his dialect as he was trying to translate for me…)

He advised me to secure my potted plants in the closet in the event of a typhoon because, “There goes plants! They’re in the trees!” This was very good advise.

But I still don’t know how to care for the “Eesa-Fugi.”

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I will continue to look for a solution on that one.

I have heard it said a few times that most communication is non-verbal. I certainly hope so. If it weren’t for other forms of communication that translate our best intentions, how would we ever be able to adapt in foreign situations?

gardening

A Question for Readers and Gardeners (comments are welcomed)

Most writers regard the truth as their most valuable possession, and therefore are most economical in its use.- Mark Twain

There is something I need to know. Mark Twain expressed the value of truth and its economic impact. Knowing what types of plants I’m working with will allow me to place them in the right location and address their needs correctly. Well, I cannot read Kanji but I want to plant this very interesting plant.

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Does anybody recognize it? Can you tell me what it is?

Other plants that will be going in the garden include:

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Later I will update with new pictures and show you how the garden is coming along.

Marissa

travel

A Change of Season: Expect the Unexpected

Ecclesiastes 3

New International Version (NIV)

A Time for Everything

3 There is a time(A) for everything,     and a season for every activity under the heavens:

2     a time to be born and a time to die,     a time to plant and a time to uproot,(B)3     a time to kill(C) and a time to heal,     a time to tear down and a time to build,

Recently we attended church and heard a sermon called “Change of Season = Change of Heart” and it certainly struck a chord in light of the fact that we were about to move overseas. We are now in our overseas location-Okinawa, Japan– and figuratively we are in a new season, but also the season is literally in transition. It’s that time of year when Spring feels a little bit like winter and almost like summer. It’s too cold to jump in the ocean but it’s also too warm to bundle up in cozy coats and scarves. It is also warm enough for a multitude of spring flowers to reach out from under old winter growth and into the light of the sun so we can enjoy their cheerful blooms. Yes, in spite of the discomforts that are brought about by seasonal change, a change in season is undoubtly beautiful!

As I was reflecting on the seasons, I decided to do a little scientific research on season changes. We all learned in school that the Earth rotates around the Sun and the Moon rotates around the Earth and the location of the Earth in relation to the Sun determines the seasons. What I didn’t realize though was that Earth’s hemispheres are actually closer to the Sun in Winter and further from the Sun in the Summer. This is contrary to my line of logic–I didn’t expect to learn that.

So goes our journey here. We expected to stay in Georgia longer or possibly receive orders stateside; we received sudden unexpected orders to Japan. We expected a drought in Texas when we went home to visit; there was a drought but there was a huge downpour of rain just before we left. We expected cloudy rainy weather during our stop in Seattle; it was the clearest, sunniest day of the week. We expected a hot humid island; well it probably will be soon but for now it’s chilly.

What is more intriguing is that the weather is not the only factor of unexpected happenings. Along with the weather, our circumstances have been met with unexpected surprises. We expected to spend time searching for a church; we have found one we are already in love with. We expected a long car search; a car has already been offered to us and it’s just what we wanted.We had hoped for a home in a specific neighborhood, we were offered something different and not at all what we wanted (which had us feeling discouraged), then we unexpectedly got offered a newly renovated home in exactly the area we wanted to be in (that surprise was undoubtedly the answer to our prayers, Thank you Lord). We are expecting more things as we transition into this new place and while all outcomes are not always perfect, I think it comes down to trust. Throughout this moving process in the past few months, there have been a lot of uncertains, unknowns, hopes, dreams, fears, etc–There have been many reasons to expect disappointments and let’s face it, they come. The good news is that with every few steps a little more is revealed and there are more opportunities to put faith in God and I find more often than not that things work out better than I expected.

In summary, expectations are relative. It is okay to assume the weather might be cold in the winter and hot in the summer, but don’t crumble if you have a hot day in the winter because it can happen. My grandfather used to say, “You should always have a plan, but understand that things might not go according to plan.” What he meant was that it was wise to always be prepared yet flexible. Coming from a man who was in the Army for 30 years, he knew what he was talking about. There is truly a time for everything even though it doesn’t always fall into our anticipated schedules.