Posts Tagged ‘plants’

Thistle Weed

Thistle Flower

The last time I was about to mow the grass, my son ran out to me and begged me to spare the life of this weed.  He said he wanted to let it grow so that he could see what kind of flower it would make. I played along and mowed around it, and this purple flower was our reward.

It grew a little over a foot tall–maybe 18 inches–and I have noticed our neighbors eyeing it from their side of the fence, wondering if we planned on letting the seeds blow around.

We actually cut it and brought it inside as a table centerpiece!

Planted Sweet Potato Hills

This is my third time growing sweet potatoes.

Sweet Potato Hills

This year I am trying a hilled approach.

Home grown sweet potato plants

This is just bagged dirt, mixed with what I already had in the bed, and amended with some Dr. Earth fertilizer.  My hope is that if I keep these hills moist, the soil will remain loose and friable enough for the sweet potatoes to go bonkers and grow well for me.

Newly Planted Sweet Potato Plant

I shouldn’t mix experiments, but another thing I’m trying that is different this year is that I didn’t cut the sweet potato slips off the mother spud…I just pulled the whole piece from the jar where I sprouted it and stuck it in the dirt.

Sweet Potato Vines

There are six hopeful sweet potato plants in these 3 hills.  The dirt under the hills was worked loose down to 8 or 10 inches.  As the vines grow and sprawl over this bed, I’ll let them root wherever they want.  Anywhere a vine roots, potatoes start to grow down from there.

Sweet Potato Hills

My wife says it looks like I buried somebody here.

Starting from seed

I planted seeds on March 5 through the 10th and a few more sporadically after that.  On March 17th, this is what my seedling table looked like under the hanging lights.

Seeding table 12 days after planting

The thing you want to do is keep the lights hung only one or two inches above the plants, even if that means moving them up a fraction every night when you check on them.  If the lights are more than 2 inches above the plants, the plants will grow taller to let the leaves reach the light better.  If they get leggy like that they won’t have the strength to hold themselves up, especially when you eventually transplant them outside where the wind blows.

Seedlings in cups

At times, I had some plants growing faster than others, so I just let the fixture hang higher on one end and rearranged the cups underneath based on height.

Fish Auction and the Bathroom

This past weekend my wife was out of town. There was a fish auction in Peoria, which is 125 miles from me on 2-lane roads. I really needed to get rid of some of these snails, so I registered as a seller and hauled my boys down there.

We arrived at the auction at Limestone High School outside Peoria at 9 a.m. and hung out there all day. Before we checked in, the boys needed the bathroom. I was told it was WAAAAY down the hall. Probably 100 yards from the cafeteria where the auction was to be held.

I checked in all my bags full of plants and animals that I was selling and the auction started. I kept the boys busy with snacks, coloring, toys, and playing with the chairs. They were great, by the way, except for one annoying thing.

Between 9 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., these boys needed the bathroom SEVEN TIMES. And they weren’t kidding either, they genuinely needed to go again. SEVEN TIMES! It was at least 100 yards down there each time and, oh my, was I tired of doing that walk!

I sold off about 110 snails including 36 large adults and a bag of about 80 tiny ones for feeders. I bought a couple paintings and a tank heater. I exercised EXTREME RESTRAINT from buying more tanks as they were below dirt cheap…basically giving them away!

We left a bit early and I gave half of the money I made as a seller to the fish club that was running the auction. It was only $15 or $20 and they hadn’t charged me to sell, so I figured I ought to support them. The other half paid for the paintings I bought.

Our next stop was Chuck E. Cheese’s and that place was a mad-house! The next time you take your kids there, imagine being an employee there–every day. Scary thought!

Finally we drove to Kewanee and spent the night at my parents’ house. It was an awesome weekend and the boys have never been better for me. They were happy when their mom finally got home though.

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