Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Spring Fever

On a recent trip to storage, I found a Kitty Garden kit that I'd bought years ago for my cats. I was a little skeptical that it might still yield the promised organic oats, wheat, rye, and barley, but I thought, what do I have to lose? Imagine my surprise when I had sprouts after only a few days!

It grew and grew!

It's healthy for your cats to nibble on greens, and I know that Bosewichte in particular is always begging to go outside and eat grass. I set the Kitty's Garden on the floor for his inspection.

Then he had a nibble...

...some lick-smacking...

...and back for more!

I'm so happy that he likes it. I'm starting to take him outside more, mainly because he's such a beggar and I'm such a softie. He loves laying in the sun.

I've started my garden work this year...clearing the leaves out of the beds and pulling the young weeds. I know that a little work here now...

...will produce this in a few months!

Because I want even more flowers this year, Todd and I decided to invest in a heat mat and grow lights for our basement. Todd built this wooden stand for them.

He drilled holes in almost 200 Dixie cups and I carefully separated out my seeds. I chose easy-grow annuals because I wanted to learn the grow light system well: green Envy Zinnias, colorful and spiky Larkspur, soft pink Cosmos, sprawling Nasturtiums, climbing white Sweet Peas, unique green Bells of Ireland, and so on.

Once the seeds were planted in their domed containers...

...they were taken to the basement and set up on the heat mat.

I made a grave error, though. I put soil in the cups, then seeds, and then watered them. It wasn't enough water to penetrate the soil and many seedlings just didn't germinate because of it. Sadly, my germination rate was only about 15 - 20%. I still got a sampling of each flower, though, except for Sweet Peas, which continue to confound me.

When your seedlings emerge from the soil, they must be removed from the heat mats, which will cook their roots, and put under the grow lights. Because I had seedlings that germinated at different times, some had to be transplanted early.

They can become root bound in their little pots, which is unhealthy.

Or, you can have too many seedlings in a small space, like these snapdragons. They must be thinned, or none will live.

Ahhh! All transplanted to bigger cups with more space and nourishing soil.

I couldn't bear to throw away many of the snapdragon seedlings, so I separated them out in old planting containers. They're doing well!

Meanwhile, we've still been taking long hikes with Borga at our local state park. Corgis need to feel like they have a job, and Borga considers walking us her job. I've never seen a dog so crazy for taking walks.

(Excuse this series of photos, taken with Todd's iPhone!)

We have to admit that we enjoy 'being walked'! I was just remarking to Todd today how wonderful the spring is here. When we first started taking our long hikes several weeks ago, the ground was bare except for a carpet of leaves. Just a few spring plants were pushing through: mayapples, spring beauties, golden ragwort, and dutchman's breeches, to name a few. Then, most of those plants died back, and huge carpets of virginia bluebells sprang up everywhere.

Lovely little ferns broke through the carpet of leaves and unfurled in the sun.

We noticed tiny spiderwebs stringing from branch to branch in the trees bordering our path, as small spiders were beginning to be more active!

Then, last week the virginia bluebells started to drop their blossoms, and shooting stars came up.

Fields of shooting stars!

Honeysuckles burst into bloom, both white and yellow...

...and pink!

The air was unbelievably fragrant, especially around these mystery bushes, which were numerous around the lake.

Wild delphiniums popped up, too, adding some color.

Today we saw that the mayapples were sprouting a single white bloom. Creeping jenny has started poking its way around the lake's edge. Leaves are beginning to unfurl on lower branches of small trees. Every week it's something different, and we are delighting in our little discoveries. Walking along honeysuckle-scented paths, with carpets of flowers all around, though the ever-changing forests and along the lake, with iridescent blue tree swallows and red wing blackbirds flitting overhead and singing lustily...we have to wonder why more people aren't enjoying it, too! Even last Saturday, the park was almost empty. What else could be so wonderful?

We both love to see what's new every week...and Borga loves the satisfaction of a job well done!

I haven't posted any recipes or knitting for a while, but I hope to get back on track with things soon.

Have a great week...and take a walk in the park, if you can!


  1. That kitty garden is so cool!! I'd love to get one! My cats go insane for cat grass!


  2. I got mine on Amazon.com. The great thing about it is the base, which is very sturdy. You can buy seeds and use the base over and over again...and the cats love it! :)