Mother of Pearls & an Emerald

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Happy St. Patricks Day Update March 17, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — motherofpearls @ 8:49 pm

We started our Copra Onion seeds on 3/7 and had some germination only 3 day later! Yesterday, we had about 14 seedlings up in each container, so we moved them under the lights. Today we started our pre-sprouting of Green Arrow pea seeds. Can’t wait to get them in the ground. The 2012 Garden is underway!


First Seeds Sowed this Season March 9, 2012

Filed under: Garden — motherofpearls @ 10:30 am

I can’t believe we haven’t done anything but dream about the garden until now. Maybe we didn’t do any winter sowing yet because we hardly had what you could call a winter here! We did sow our first seeds indoors though on March 7th, 2012. We are trying Copra onions for the first this year. It is said to be a very good winter storage onion. Next year, I think they should be sowed even earlier, but our first batch of ordered seed was lost in the mail in February. GraphixMuse’s Garden Spot’s post was my inspiration to try growing onions.

It is said that in Chicagoland, Zone 5b, you can sow peas on St. Patrick’s Day. Last year we did and it took them forever to germinate in the cold soil and a longer time for them to fully grow. We weren’t eating peas until early June and they were in a bed that we wanted to sucession plant pole beans. This year, we are going to pre-sprout our pea seeds and then plant them in hopes of earlier peas. Supposedly they grow well in cold soil, they just don’t germinate well in cold soil. Also, I think we lost alot of seeds to garden foes…

Finally, we need to go through our seed stash and determine what we will be “winter” sowing and what we need to start indoors within a few weeks. I think this year we will opt not to grow tomatoes from seed. We really had a lousy year last year for tomato production. Not sure it was weather, our plants grown from seed, heirloom varieties we choose, but this year we will go back to purchasing some nice disease-resistant, early varieties instead. It was fun to grow them, but it did take alot of nurturing, re-potting, and space under our grow lights for little return. We’ve got plenty of plans for that space under lights this year!


KinderGARDEN Week 12 07-24-11 July 24, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — motherofpearls @ 1:59 pm

It was a hot one this past week! Here are a few things we observed in the garden this week:

First Tomato Harvested!

First "real" Jack Be Little Pumpkin

Until now, all of the little pumpkins would grow to about a cherry tomato size and then shrivel up. This week we noticed two large ones that are doing great! Here’s Mister Emerald staring at the “Punkin”! And we’ve never grown pumpkins before, but one of the three is threatening to take over the world. It’s UNBELIEVABLE how large they grow!

First Violetto beans on the trellis

And here’s how the three areas of the KinderGARDEN are shaping up:

Cutting Garden

Trellis Arch

Sunflower Forest

And Kim asked if we have any animals and if they are a part of our garden! We have cats, but only one insists rather loudly and obnoxiously to go outside. She is a Mama cat we rescued, who gave us 3 adorable baby kittens in which to love! She is a master hunter, although I think she’s allowing her prey to feast on our square foot garden bed before she pounces… Here she is laying down on the job apparently!

We are linking up with Kim at The Inadvertent Farmer and her KINDERgarden 2011 series. Stop over to see Kim’s new additions to her family!


KinderGARDEN Week 11 “I’m ready for my Close Up, Mr. DeMille” July 15, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — motherofpearls @ 9:24 am

I had to google that quote to learn the exact origins! I’ve heard it before and thought it aptly applied to this week’s KinderGARDEN update. Last week, Kim at The Inadvertent Farmer asked that we get up close and personal with our cameras in the garden. So, here are the results:

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We are linking up with Kim at The Inadvertent Farmer and her KINDERgarden 2011 series. Stop over to see all gorgeous, fascinating close up shots of what’s growing in our gardens!


KinderGARDEN Update 07-11-11 July 11, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — motherofpearls @ 6:54 pm

Late posting again, but we made it in under the wire again! We had a busy holiday weekend celebrating our beautiful country.

We mostly just putzed in the garden this week: tying up vines, pulling weeds (drat that PURSLANE), trying to keep everything alive with no rain in sight. (So wish we’d have spent the money on a diy rain barrel system-next year.) And of course, we munched! The Golden Raspberry patch went nuts this season. Usually there are two harvests-a small one in June and a larger one in September. Mister Emerald has found that he LOVES  “strawberries” as he calls them and eats every single one that’s ripe. I love all the garden bloggers who blog their “Harvest Mondays” with Daphne’s Dandelions, but I’d never have any figures to post. Nearly everything is eaten garden-side!

Not a great pic, but Mister Pearl is feeding Mister Emerald raspberries!

Lastly, our sunflower forest is growing like crazy. We had Father of Pearls make this cute Sunflower Measuring Stick (8 feet high) and by the time I’m posting this from when the pictures were taken, they’ve grown at least two more feet! (And I just looked at that picture again wondering why Miss Pearl grew so much too-ahhh she’s standing on a brick paver stack!) They’re starting to bloom and I love all the varieties. We could have used some cute, short Teddy Bear varieties too.

This pretty Sunflower gal was the first to bloom. I thought it was a “Vanilla Ice”, but it may be the “Jade Hybrid” as it’s center is light colored.  This flower growing from seed can get very addictive. We plan to save lots of seed this fall.

We are linking up with Kim at The Inadvertent Farmer and her KINDERgarden 2011 series. Stop over to see all the good things growing in our gardens!


KinderGARDEN Update 06-30-11 June 30, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — motherofpearls @ 2:36 pm

This week’s KinderGARDEN assignment was to turn over the camera to the kids! The Pearls sure loved this task.
First up, just a few highlights from Mister Pearl (He easily snapped off 40 in the short time frame though):

My Budding Photographer

I really loved the angle of this one and the sun flare.

Broccoli-the kids were fascinated with how it grows vs. the bunch bought in the store!

And of course, siblings capturing siblings on camera give some of the best candid images I have. You can just see something different in their eyes.

Love you, Brother

Now for Miss Pearl:

Miss Pearl's Photography-specializing in MACRO images

Pumpkin Vine blossoms Closeup

Marigold Closeup

And we couldn’t do without another sibling close up! Love the reflection in his eyes 🙂

In Your Eyes

We are linking up with Kim at The Inadvertent Farmerand her KINDERgarden 2011 series. Stop over to see all the images captured in our gardens through the eyes of the kiddos!


KinderGARDEN Update 06-24-11 June 27, 2011

Filed under: Garden — motherofpearls @ 4:39 pm

I cannot believe another week has passed by so quickly! Of course this is going up late. It was a slow week in the garden work-wise, but we captured alot of growth on camera. We harvested lot of strawberries and the first of our peas. Mister Emerald wasn’t too excited about them that first day, but look out after that! He was calling them “corny” his word for canned corn niblets that he LOVES. Yes, I guess fresh garden peas do taste a bit like corn. He wanted to both harvest and open them up HIMSELF.

On Friday, we visited one of our favorite spots, Cantigny Park. It’s a 500 acre property with a historical museum, tank park and amazing gardens. The kids love to climb on the tanks foremost
but they also really love the:

Idea Garden

Sparkling with color, designed for the amateur gardener in all of us, the Idea Garden inspires creativity and seeks to educate. This one-acre garden includes four sections: an herb garden, a children’s garden, a sensory garden, and a Walk Through the Seasons garden.

Each section includes a multitude of new and tried-and-true varieties, products, techniques, and structures to stimulate ideas and encourage experimentation. With more than 300 varieties of vegetables, herbs, shrubs, and flowers, the Idea Garden is sure to spark an interest in young and old alike.

We got alot of inspiration for our own KinderGARDEN from the Idea Garden last year. Here is a slideshow of the Idea Garden 2011:

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In an earlier KinderGARDEN post entitled Grow to Give, Kim talked about the epidemic of hunger facing children and families in the U.S. on a daily basis (1 in 8 households)… She has asked that we join her and “purposely plant extra this year for the hungry.” Last week as I was checking our local newspaper online, I noticed a link presenting all the local food banks by county that will accept fresh produce to be donated here. We don’t have room for extra rows, but we did tuck in three more squash plants in near the lilac bushes in hopes we can produce a fair amount to donate.

Grow to Give

We are linking up with Kim at The Inadvertent Farmer and her KinderGARDEN 2011 series. This week holds an assignment my kids will be thrilled about;) We are to turn the camera over to the kids to capture the garden through their eyes. Mister Pearl, without a doubt, is my budding photographer. He wants to be behind my camera alot more than I’m comfortable with him using it (our good DSLR). I truly think he has an eye already for photography and as much as I cringe watching him not always carefully heft my camera around, I LOVE to look at the images he’s captured. Stay tuned for that post!