This weekend we hunted for rocks. Husband did so much hard work digging up our new garden area (one of two this year - we are expanding) and the Little Miss and I helped pick out all of the rocks he unearthed. We live on the side of a mountain so there were never-ending rocks, some as big as my head, and we must have tossed hundreds of them down the mountainside. So glad that part is over.
In my quest to have a successful garden this year (last year it was left to luck and didn't thrive) I actually did some research and had a nice chat with a lady at a garden center who was very knowledgeable about the soil in my area - I highly recommend this. I thought I would share what I learned about prepping soil here (sorry if you don't live in Utah Valley) in hopes that it will help someone, because it can be intimidating if you don't know where to start. This is by no means comprehensive and I still have a lot to learn but it should help. Here we go...
The ideal soil for a garden is called loam, which is made up of 40% sand, 40% silt, and 20% clay. If you live in Utah Valley your soil is probably mostly clay. Not only does the clay retain too much water and make it hard for the roots to penetrate, but the pH of clay is about a 7. Most vegetables like to grow at a pH of 5 or 6 (with some exceptions like asparagus at an 8). To top it off our water is a pH of 8, so every time we water we are tipping the scale in the wrong direction. So, one way to help bring the pH down is by adding peat moss which has a pH of 3-4. Adding the peat moss will also help with the consistency of the soil making it lighter and softer.
After this, you will need to add some nutrients. Our soil is naturally lacking nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, zinc and iron so organic compost and fertilizer will help make up for this deficiency. I was able to find an all organic and natural soil stimulant at a garden center that I felt good about using since I am trying to be as natural as possible. It has all of the nutrients plants need along with mycorrhizae and worm castings (in a nut shell, mycorrhizae are soil fungi which have a beneficial relationship with plant roots helping them to absorb more nutrients, and worm castings are the end-product of organic matter composted by earthworms). We also started our own compost last fall and added that in to the mix.
We made the decision to raise our gardens by making garden boxes out of redwood (which is resistant to rot). This will give our plants an extra 6 inches or so of soft, rich soil to grow in but it is not required by any means and will raise your cost. It was about $60 for two 4x7 boxes, plus however many bags of soil we will need to fill them up - we haven't done that yet. We will also be adding some more peat moss, soil stimulant, and compost to the bags of soil we add.
Our prepped native soil which used to be so thick you could mold a clay pot out of it, is now much lighter, softer, and rich looking. It took a lot of hard work and sweat but I feel good about planting our little seedlings in a few weeks - like I will be giving them what they will need to thrive. I'll give you an update then.
If you want to learn even more, there was a great post on Bloom today about gardening you should check out.
Here are some Diana shots from our weekend getaway last month. I am still only getting a handful of good frames each roll so hopefully I can fix that problem soon. But I love not knowing how the pictures will turn out. I feel giddy like I'm opening a present when I pick up the film.
I am a bit of a bookworm so I am excited about the old/new books I acquired this week.
Old book covers are so beautiful. The top one caught my eye first because of the design on the side but then I saw it was written by Louisa May Alcott whom I adore (think Little Women). The bottom song book was used by school children in the 50's and is full of cute songs like this:
The Diet Rebel's Cookbook is going to be my food bible this summer - I am determined to try every recipe. I met these two ladies when I worked full-time at the health foods store and am so happy they are sharing their recipes with us. Usually I have to change recipes to make them healthy but I'll be able to use all of these as they are and know they will turn out nourishing and delicious!
One of the greatest joys in my life is watching the relationship these two have with each other. I feel so lucky to have them both.
We definitely enjoyed the warm weather this weekend with two trips to the park and lots of playing in the backyard. I planted more seeds for our tiny garden in hopes that I can grow anything close to this (although I will have to settle for quality, not quantity). Now I am going to sit down and read through all of the Organic Gardening magazines I've been ignoring all winter in hopes of gaining a fertilizer and pesticide-free green thumb. How was your weekend?
I was thinking about embroidery patterns and remembered that I had thrifted some vintage iron-on transfers a few months back. I don't think I am going to use these at the moment, but I thought you might like too! This is just one part so I will probably have some more for you in the future. Please use this for personal use only and enjoy!
I'm excited about the free Embroidery 101 class Amy at Early Bird Special is offering. The first lesson is already up (she'll be posting every Thursday) on transfer techniques and it is so informative - I had no idea there were so many different options. I have always been slightly afraid of trying to transfer a pattern that didn't iron-on but I'm going to try it. Now I'm on the search for a cute pattern so I can start...
I am in love with this dress. Isn't it beautiful? You should buy it so I won't be tempted.
Have a wonderful weekend! We will be taking the Little Miss to a birthday party and spending as much time outside as the sunshine allows. And, if I can get my act together I should have a shop update early next week.
Do you have any fun plans?What would you do if you were wearing this dress?
I spent a lot of time last weekend crocheting granny squares and being uplifted while listening to my church's General Conference. I have to say I am becoming a bit addicted - I can no longer just relax without feeling like I need to be working a hook! But, I am going to have to force myself to take a break because I really think if I keep up this pace I am going to get a stress fracture in my right hand. It kills. I am quite pleased with my progress so far though. Maybe I'll just tuck in all those tails... then I promise I'll stop.
I wanted to write a Thank You post to my mom. She sews all of her granddaughters Easter dresses each year (so far there are three girls) and always does such a wonderful job. We provide her with fabric and decide on a pattern together and she does all the work - how lucky are we?! She loves to sew and I think it is so special that the Little Miss will have a collection of dresses saved up that her Gran made especially for her! We love this tradition!
I wasn't trying to tease you by not showing a picture of the finished skirt in the post below, I just didn't have one yet! So here it is in case you were curious. All I did was chop the top off of a dress, then added an elastic waistband and the pocket.
I just added these cute little pleated pockets to a skirt I made for the Little Miss. They are pretty easy to make and here's how - I hope my instructions and pictures are clear!
By the way: I used a 5/8" seam allowance and if you use the pattern I provided below the pocket ends up being about 4 1/2" high and 4" wide.
step 1. Cut out pocket and pocket band (see pattern below). Baste stitch across pocket top and pull to gather. Fold over pocket band with wrong sides together about 1 inch (or 1/3 of the height) and iron.
step 2. Pin pocket band to pocket with right sides together with folded edge of pocket band on the bottom. Adjust your gathers so the edges match up.
step 3. Stitch across top, trim seam allowance to 1/4".
step 4. Open up and iron seam allowance toward pocket band.
step 5. Fold down pocket band to outside seam line and pin in place.
step 6. Stitch around all raw edges (not across the top).
step 7. Trim seam allowances to about 1 cm and cut top corners diagonally.
step 8. Turn pocket band to inside.
step 9. Iron pocket band flat and raw edges of the pocket to inside.
step 10. Slip stitch open edge of pocket band closed.
step 11. Pin pocket in the position you want it on your garment. (If you are making your garment from scratch do this before you sew it all together - it's a lot easier).
step 12. Stitch around sides and bottom close to edge. You're done!
So far today has been off to a slow start, but I am hoping by the end I can look back and say it was productive because I have lots to do! Here are a few peeks into what we are up to around here... Hopefully by tomorrow I will have a tutorial finished for you!
p.s. I think the weather is playing an April Fool's joke on everyone - snow!?(okay, it's not that surprising for Utah but still...)