Tag Archives: Seedlings

Seeds, Seeds and More Seeds

10 Apr

Post Hagrid Attack

The count is in.  Twenty tomato seedlings, about 12 of which are really healthy.  The other 8 too early to tell.   One eggplant seedling. Four pepper seedlings (with two looking a little bit whimpy).   Yes, very low on peppers and eggplants.  After two more Hagrid attacks (who knew a cat could contort himself to such a degree that he could put his paw in sideways and keep whapping at the pot until it tumbled over, smothering seedlings in potting soil??) and probably the trauma of transplanting, my peppers and eggplants did not prove to be robust enough to survive.   Looks like I will need to rely on the nursery to round out this year’s eggplant needs.  If all my peppers survive, then all will be well in pepper land and no nursery seedlings will be required.

(You can see the photos of the more recent Hagrid attack, complete with soil spread about on the floor.  Then a photo of Hagrid in the cage while I transplanted seedlings, and him in action trying to paw and knock over my watering container.  Finally, the photo of the anti-Hagrid reinforcements designed to prevent his paw from breaching the perimeter.)

My cold frame crop is doing BEAUTIFULLY, just beautifully.  All my herbs are growing strong.  My strawberries are growing green leaves. My lettuce is doing wonderfully, both the nursery transplants and all the seeds that I planted.  (I ended up needing to plant some more nursery transplants to replace those that were off’d by the last squirrel attack.)  I planted arugula and pot of of gold container swiss chard today in various pots and put them in the cold frame.  I also planted lettuce, bright lights swiss chard and mustard greens in containers and put them on the front porch.  The chard and mustard greens are in a recycled frozen lasagna trays while the lettuce is in one of those big under the bed plastic storage box. I totally love my cold frame.  Happy to report that the anti-squirrel perimeter barriers are holding up nicely.  (In addition to stapling plastic mesh where I had gaps, I am using the logs chopped up from the huge branch that fell from the last storm to hold down the plastic door and seal off the entrance.)

I planted some basil and stuck the little pots in the kitchen window sill.    So, all in all, I am content on the seed front.  Next weekend is the big yard clean up as we edge ever so closer to that ever magical “last frost date.”  Although given the very unpredictable weather patterns these days, that date may be ever more elusive.

Click on “Pea Pods” to see more photos of the cold frame, indoor greenhouse set up and Hagrid.


Powering on through the Dust

22 Mar

Strange weather!  Although it is downright spring like right now, this morning was a different story.  Around 6 am, a storm flew through, bringing pounding rain and then hail.  It lasted only about 30 minutes but left in its wake a carpet of little red buds of some type from the trees.  I surveyed the cold frame to see how the lettuce fared since I had opened up the top of the cold frame to let air circulate given the warming temperatures the past few days.   All lettuce seedlings accounted for, although one looked a bit flat.  Not sure if it was from the hail or the previous squirrel attack.   I also checked out the three terra cotta pots where I had planted lettuce seeds.  Woo hoo!  A bed of sprouts greeted me.  It never ceases to amaze me how soil, a seed and water can create a seedling.  Then add sun, and poof!  You have a full grown plant that can feed and nourish us.

On the inside front, the Hagrid proof set up is working!  This would be set my fourth set up.   The cage idea was perfect.  Unfortunately, the cage we had (see photo of set up #3) was not large enough to hold all my seed and seedling pots.  So my mother in law loaned to me a very large cage that she had (see photo of set up #4).   It is perfect!!  My tomato seedlings are happily growing and love the grow light. My eggplant seedlings just started to sprout this weekend.  I am a bit concerned about the pepper seedlings.  No sightings yet.  Not sure what is up with that.  I am new to planting pepper seeds so will wait it out a bit before planting more or, perish the thought, buying the seedlings from the nursery.

On the peace front, today was the first day in our new building.  Wow.  For well over a decade, we were sharing space in the National Restaurant Association building.  Finally, thanks to Congress who appropriated funds, we have a symbol on the Mall as a testament to our American values and our commitment to peace.   In the back of many of our minds, however, as we moved into the building, is the specter of politics and whether the American values set forth by our country’s founders will prevail over personal agendas and short-sided political gain.  With the attack on our budget and our very existence and contribution, it takes everything we have to tune this out and focus on the mission that we all are passionate about.  The mission of preventing and resolving conflict.   But it only takes us to look at what is going around in the world, with so many conflicts and so many people yearning for democratic changes — to know that we are truly needed.  It helps to know that our many friends (from all quarters:  the military, peacebuilding community, diplomats, civil society and more) are coming out in our support.  

Amazing women of Huanta, Peru

I think of the widows that I recently interviewed in Kosovo and Peru and the atrocities that they suffered.  I think of the soldiers I met in Guatemala and how they yearn for a time when they can be protectors of society as a whole and not to a limited few in charge.  I think of youth that I interviewed in Nicaragua and Nepal and their hope (no demand) for a just and equitable future.  I see them all in my mind’s eye and know that with what they have been through in their lives, this little bit of turbulence in mine, is nothing.   It gives me strength to fight on.   In the words of my seven year old just this morning, “When dismay comes with the dusk, you must power on through the dust.”   And that I will.


12 Mar


I am not feeling very peaceful right now.  Why?  Because of a cat named Hagrid (named after the Harry Potter character in case you were wondering.  Oh, and yes, he looks like him).   By way of background, Hagrid is a cat we adopted from the animal shelter.  He had been one of about 18 cats rescued from a house.  Hagrid is a cat who thinks he is a dog.  He is a huge Maine Coon cat and has extra toes, is very vocal and terribly smart and ultimately affectionate.  But incredibly klutzy, adventurous, mischievous and generally a big fluff ball wrecking crew.  Let me put it this way.  I have had many cats in my life.  I won’t say how many lest one think I am a crazy cat person.  But Hagrid is one of a kind.  For purposes of this note, let me just say that he breaks things.  Lots of things.

I spent my last weekend happily and joyfully planting tomato, lettuce and eggplant seeds in little pots.  I carefully created an eco-system for them in my living room.  (Since I live in a house better sized these days for one adult instead of two adults, one 7 year old, two dogs, one cat, one chinchilla and until recently (sadly) a fish, this was quite a feat). I found the perfect window and went to work.  To hold the pots and their watering trays,  I set up a series of platforms consisting of a three step ladder, a nightstand and the radiator.  Then I put plastic around it all to produce the greenhouse effect to provide a conducive environment for germination.  Once the sprouts appeared, my totally cool grow lamp would be pressed into service.

Now back to Hagrid.  The planting extravaganza took place on Sunday.   By that evening, he had managed to sneak into my biosphere and knock over four pots.  I sighed but cleaned up, vacuumed the dirt up, mopped up the water and re-planted the seedlings. I was annoyed but generally “okay.”    Then we taped up the plastic to prevent another intrusion.  All was well.  Until tonight.  I walked into the living room and spotted that all was not well in plantland.  The cat from hell (that would be Hagrid) had managed to infiltrate the carefully taped up protective barrier and knocked over eight, YES 8!!!  pots.  Well, let’s just say I was not only annoyed but down right !!!%%%%^^^*&&&&&&.  And then some.  Before I could scream “HAGRID (and what I wanted to do to him)!!!” he had made himself scarce and bolted from the room.

So another clean up job, with much less peace than the last time, and I moved the entire set up to my son’s room where the door could be closed.  So I end this note with dreams of a time when I have a real greenhouse outside……………………..

Click on “Pea Pods” for additional photos of my planting endeavors, Hagrid and makeshift greenhouse.

%d bloggers like this: