Garden Update

Some plants are doing awesome!
Others… not so sure… :/

Carrots

Carrots – will need to be thinned soon (now).

Lettuce

Romaine & Mesclum – growing steady!

Corn

Corn – the roots shot through holes at bottom of pots, lol  Well, I guess it’s growing strong 🙂  I wonder if it’s too crowded though; will inquire about that.

Pumpkins

Pumpkins – not sure if it’s doing so good :/ Flowers seem to bloom, then wither and die. Perhaps container is too small… Will also ask about that.

Peas

Peas – Now those are doing most excellent! 🙂  I think they might even be ready – or very close to ready – to harvest. 😀

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Little Garden Grows

I tried gardening once before – in the summer of 2008. Which also coincides with the summer Miss A was born. Which means that my poor plants ended up pretty much neglected, and for the most part died.

This year, I’m determined to make it work! We highly value fresh produce & organic eating (when we can) in this family, and growing our own vegetables seems like a great way to save some money, while knowing exactly what we are eating – plus it’s so satisfying, conveninent (once it’s grown and right in your backyard), eco-friendly, and a great value to pass on to our children.

So, I’ve been reading up on it, I planned a raised bed plot, I got some seeds. My original plan for our backyard was to have 2 raised beds: one rectangular where I would plant tomatoes + basil (I heard it was good for the tomatoes!), carrots (which are also apparently good to combine with tomatoes, even though you might get slightly smaller carrots), and romaine lettuce (an easy grow, plus the allure of fresh lettuce leaves all summer is tempting); and one circular where I planned to plant some rhubarb (a perennial plant that keeps growing with minimal care – perfect! And so YUM). I need to wait until the last frost date to plant most of my stuff, which is pretty much now, but I could have probably planted the rhubarb earlier, as it loves the spring cold for it’s roots… But I haven’t yet prepared the beds (I just have the bricks set but I still need to dig up the grass in the beds!), and I think my rhubarb bulbs died. 😦

Garden 1, Me 0.

My little raised beds, awaiting completion

We also went to a playdate on Earth Day (April 22nd) and did a seed planting craft (A loved filling the egg carton with dirt! I pretty much had to do the rest when the play kitchen got more interesting.) The seeds planted include a mix of snapdragons, some “ladybug” tomatoes (not quite sure what the ladybug part means, there’s a ladybug on the package my friend got! I guess they are seeds aimed at kids 🙂 ), and some pumpkin seeds. I’m definitely looking forward to some yummy pumpkin this fall!!

A is rocking the egg carton filling

And then, that same weekend (April 24th), a neighbourhood mom, who’s a gardener extraordinare, offered to host a little Q&A afternoon, and even hooked us up with some seed. She gave us some peat pellets to plant the seeds in (I’m only and always using those form now on – how convenient!), and had a host of seeds available. I chose to plant some Tiny Tim tomatoes (a cherry tomato type), asparagus (which will actually start producing edible veggies in 2-3 years, but then it’s a perennial!), peas, corn (!), sunflowers (my favourite flower ever) and Mesclum mix (more lettuce!). She gave us some good tips to get started, such as to cover the seeds with saran wrap for eat until they sprouted, how to spray water, and sent us on our way.

The gang on May 2nd

May 2nd - Tiny Snapdragon sprouts on the left!

And wow – the seeds are actually sprouting and GROWING! I must be doing SOMETHING right 🙂 All the seeds I planted in the peat pellets are doing a-awesome, and I have quite a few pumpkin seeds, Ladybug tomatoes, and snapdragons that sprouted as well. I got a bit of mold on my corn pellets, but my friend mentioned that I could gently scoop it out, let it dry, and re-water, and if it came back, to spray with very diluted dish soap and water and that should take care of it. And it did, for the most part. I had tiny bits again this morning but I scooped it out – and the seeds seem unaffected! I had a natural soap solution a neighbour gave me to try on hand – Pink Solution, apparently you can do anything and everything with it, and it’s all natural – so I used that to spray the mold.

May 6th - It's growing!

So this is where I’m at – incomplete raised bed awaiting carrots, basil and romaine lettuce planting, and a bunch of sprouts on my window silt. Not bad! I am planning on using the May long weekend to do some raised bed prep and perhaps planting, and will inquire as to the readiness of my sprouts for transplanting also. My friend mentioned they needed to be stronger, although they are getting quite tall! I think I will mostly do containers for those plants for now, until I figure a more permanent plot out. Plus, it will be handy to move them around if needed. Especially the huge corn plants… in our fairly tiny backyard…  My neighbours (with also fairly tiny backyards) will love me 🙂 (or maybe they will – fresh corn anyone?)

May 11th - Corn & Peas on the right, Sunflowers & Mesclum on the left

May 11th - Tomatoes in the back, with tiny asparagus sprouts out front

May 11th - Pumpkin sprouts

Garden 1, Me 1 🙂

On Going No ‘Poo

Yesterday marked 6 months since I bid farewell to shampoo & conditioner. I had no idea what to expect when I stepped in the shower with a mix of water and baking soda on November 6th. I had friends who had made the transition successfully, and online reviews all seemed very promising. I figured: what have I got to loose? If the result is extremely crappy to the point of unrepresentable-ness, I’ll just step back in…

But it was fine! Sure, there is a transition period, which can hit anytime around 2 weeks to a month, and can last from a few days to a few weeks. I guess it depends on your previous hair washing routine: if you were one to wash your hair every day or even twice a day with both shampoo & conditioner, to then style it with hair products, then transition might be longer. If, like me, you washed every 2-3 days and never used any styling products on it, then it might be shorter. I couldn’t exactly pin-point when my transition was… I think around 2-3 weeks, it felt slicker in-between washes – but not dirty. Just, you know… a bit more blah.

And it’s not hard either! When you read up on it, it can feel overwhelming, with all the different ratio, testimonies of having to adapt mixes through the seasons, adding conditioner, using baking soda, vinegar, apple cider… But really, you just have to try one, and tweak it. What have you got to loose?  If it’s crappy, just step back in!! 😀 (although I would suggest trying it for a few washes!)

So what exactly is “no ‘poo”? Basically, it’s “no shampoo”. Meaning none of the store-bought hair cleaning products that get expensive and are full of chemicals, and are really just detergents aimed at stripping your scalp of it’s natural oils, making it prone to produce more, creating the need to wash more often, with more shampoo. I have oily hair. I’ve ALWAYS had oily hair. Sleek, really straight, oily hair. So it would seem counterproductive to use a method that actually lets my scalp produce it’s natural oils unhindered, right? Not so! After a few weeks adjustment, as my scalp adjusting to “hey… I don’t need to produce so much anymore!”, my hair actually became LESS oily than it ever was before. More manageable too. And I swear it feels thicker as well (and by that, I mean from BEFORE I got pregnant 🙂 ).

The basic formula for no ‘poo is 1 tbls of baking soda for 1 cup of water. I use half of that on my medium length hair (just below the shoulders), and it works great. I use a squirt bottle, which I fill up before every wash – I find it easier to prepare it as I need it, otherwise I tend to use more than I really need. And even though baking soda is less expensive than shampoo, I still like to save a buck more when I can 😀 You might need more or less depending on your hair length and style, or a slightly different ratio. But don’t be scared – just start with the basic 1 tbls per 1 cup of water, use that for about a month until you hit/pass transition, and then if you don’t 100% like the result, try out a few different formulas. You can’t really go wrong any which way anyway, except maybe a bit of baking soda buildup, but that’s an obvious consequence with an obvious remedy.

If you have hair that tangles very easily, you can add a conditioner from 1 tbls apple cider to 1 cup of water. But if you have oily hair, that might make it oilier too. I have very very fine hair, and used to ALWAYS need conditioner or else it was heck trying to comb it afterwards. I have never used the apple cider mix, and my hair is perfectly fine to comb after washes!

We also use this method with Miss A. Since we had started with using regular baby shampoo with her, she did go through a small transition as well, but now it works just fine! Her ratio is the same as mine, and we wash her hair every 3-4 days, like I do. The only word of caution when using this with young children: it’s not tear-free like other products on the market. 😉 But, with a bit of imagination and resourcefulness (spray bottles anyone?), it’s possible to not get it in their eyes!

Want more info? These articles are great starting points:
* How to Clean Your Hair Without Shampoo, from Simplemom.net
* Shampoo Free, from babyslime on LiveJournal – very good in-depth article.
* Shampoo Free?, on KellyMom.net
* A friend’s saga of going No’ Poo, including with her now 2 yrs daughter

I think my next step will be to wean out my face cleaning products. I heard honey was very good, and oil too – I know, oil! And I have oily skin. But the argument makes sense and hey – I can always rewash my face if the result is disastrous. 😉