high summer gardening

new home in the summer = surprise flowers every week

new home in the summer = surprise flowers every week

Let’s not kid ourselves.  There’s about a million other things I could be doing today instead of crouching, wrist deep in dirt, trying to eke another harvest out of the summer.  But when the spirit calls you have to answer, so I did.

Two weeks ago I requested today off since it was the last official day of our lease at the old place — with careful planning about a laundry load of sweaty clothes we were able to move everything and clean everything with a week to spare.  So I find myself with a free day in the middle of the work week.  Hurray!

Sure, there a lot of things I should be doing.  And they’re on the list, don’t worry.  #1 is screen printing some more onesies for the Etsy shop, #2 is screen printing some t-shirts for Metal Feathers‘ show on Friday.  #3 is sanding allllllllllll theeeeee spackle off the living room wall.  But I added #4, high summer gardening, and did it first today.

quick crops

quick crops

I’m new to gardening and when we left our old place we left behind six tomato plants, eight greenleaf lettuce plants and a rogue vine of summer squash and cucumbers in the community garden.  I can visit it about once a week when I go to work at Mayo Street Arts, but it was sad to not have something I could walk to to check on my little crops.  Being a newbie, I had no idea that even in our *cough* SHORT growing season in the North East there are crops you can plant from seed as late as early August and still get a ‘winter harvest’ which I had to try.



A visit to Skillins‘ nursery across town yielded quite the future crops, just need to figure out where in the yard all the greens will go when the seedlings are ready.  I bought broccoli seedlings that had already started as well as seed packets + trays for kale, mesclun and spinach.  In a few weeks they should be ready to stick in the ground.  There were also some ‘seedlings’ that had gotten way too big for their britches that I brought home.  One healthy bunch of basil made its way to an oversized pot for all my pesto and caprese dreams:

touch the basil

touch the basil

I love when you bump up against basil in the garden or the kitchen the totally overwhelming smell the leaves release.  I love you, basil.

We had tried to grow habanero in the community garden but it was quickly overrun by the rogue summer squash.  New garden lesson #1:  believe the packet when it says to plant things far apart.  Just because you don’t believe your thumb is green enough doesn’t mean that vine isn’t grow 6′ long by the end of June…  Anyways, I found a healthy, flowering habanero plant with some vegetables already growing so I put that in the cart for another go.



I still want to try and get some catnip growing since I know it does so well in Maine soil – the cats are loving their new outdoor status and their little hearts might just bust out of their chests if I give them yet another reason to love frolicking in the back yard.  Lastly, I hear that if you want to plant blueberry bushes you should do it the year before, in August or September, to help the roots establish in hopes of berries the coming year.  So a future plan for berries is definitely in the works!

Now with dirty fingernails and renewed inspiration (home gardening is so freaking rejuvenating, it’s unbelievable) I’ll spend some time sanding walls + making prints.  Coming back soon with some more goodies, like how to make a natural, herbal mouse repellent and some updates from the creative endeavors of Little Eye.  Don’t be a stranger!

A Week in Pictures

Cash and Jason surveying our seedlings, mostly salad stuff like cherry tomatoes, cucumbers and mesclun mix. But we've got some summer squash and basil in there for good measure. Yum.

Jason and I finally learned how to use the Yudu. It's definitely a machine meant for soccer moms, but to burn a screen and make a decent print for beginners is pretty sweet. Next task is to learn how to mix our own emulsion so we don't have to pay for those ridiculous sheets. Still! Bath Salts t-shirts are on their way!

Little K turned 3 last week, but we celebrated tonight. She is so interesting at this age - learning how to be shy (finally) but also regaling everyone with her sense of humor.

Ice Cream Cone Shaped Cake. Deliciously sweet, I think we all crashed about 10 minutes after each having just one teeny bit of it!

My favorite photograph this week: Cash blisses out on tissue paper under the coffee table and the excellent dinosaur print 'tablecloth.' She's a crowd pleaser while the other darn cat runs away and hides, which is fine because he smells a little funny most of the time, so it's probably better that way.

Spending unusually large amounts of money on unusual tchotchkes at the Prides Corner Flea Market

Perfect little objects, like this 4 inch tall kerosene lamp, perfectly usable and perfectly in tact, are definitely worth $10, even for a cheapskate.

We've been eating remarkably well, and almost entirely from the international market, Mittapheap, on Washington Ave. in Portland, ME. Neighborhoods need to support their international markets, frozen crickets and all, because where else will you find plantains, rice noodles, nag champa, sriracha, Vietnamese coffee supplies and pocky under one roof? Nowhere else.