Yesterday was my first full day around the homestead in weeks. It felt so nice to get the house clean and in order, get laundry done, the refrigerator cleaned out and at least take a look around the garden to see all the blooming I’ve been missing while we’ve been away. It’s really starting to come to life out there. Here’s a new type of bulb I planted – so pretty – I love the multi-color:

Today, after church, I hope to spend some time out there weeding (there’s never a lack of that task to do) and planning where the next vegetable bed is going to go. My neighbor has 2 lemon trees that just aren’t thriving where she has them, so she’s offered them to me. I never pass up anything free (as you know if you know me) and also, I love putting plants into “re-hab”. I used to have an area of my garden set up for re-hab, but now that zone is full as most of the plants I moved there, settled in an made it there home. So, I need to scope out a new zone for the lemons.

I read a lot about gardening and have come across so much information on soil testing, etc., but I must admit, I’ve never gone so far as to test mine. Maybe we’re lucky here, but my typical course of action is to mix in some organic compost with the soil I already have and let it ride. I figure if I dig a hole in the ground and I see worms and life moving around in that hole, then certainly a plant can live there too. I also like to take my gloves off and feel the soil. I picture dark, deep, life-giving soil in my head (or what I’ve seen in gardening books and magazines) and then try to emulate that in the yard. Does this sound too esoteric for you? I hear soil testing kits are inexpensive and readily available at all home improvement stores. Click here for more information on soil from, of course, my idol The Pioneer Woman.

I’m also hoping to get a couple kinds of seeds into the ground today. I will probably stagger their planting so they don’t all come due at once. I have some butternut squash seeds saved from a delicious squash we had this fall, and I purchased these packets yesterday during my quick stop at Target:

I’m going to admit that I don’t usually have much luck with pumpkins, but I try every year just the same. Maybe this year, I’ll pick just the right spot.

I usually start some veggies from plants (especially tomatoes) and some from seed. Whenever I see “deals” on herb plants I buy them, though a lot of times I start new herbs by taking cuttings from my existing ones. I either put the cuttings in water until roots grow, or dip the cutting in rooting hormone and stick them directly into potting soil.

I’m also contemplating different ways to compost. I had an amazing compost pile last year – well, until someone threw something not so lovely into it and it was taken over by maggots – ick! Also, as with most things I do outside, I had rushed and built it in a spot that I then wanted plants in – so it was taken apart. This year, I’m thinking I’ll compost with red worms. If you’re interested you can read more about red worm composting by clicking here. If you’re interested in purchasing a ready-made kit for worm composting, you can find one by Grow Organic by clicking here. Two pounds of these little wrigglers can convert 3.5 to 7 pounds of food scraps into castings in one week. If you’re completely into “no-brainer” composting, then check out this bin that looks like your kitchen garbage can at Nature Mill.

Ok, I’m off to begin another beautiful day here in the South Bay – enjoy and be blessed.