Tag Archives: garden

plans

I love the first few weeks in January. It feels like everything is clean and fresh and ready for a new start. A time to make plans.
home. tidytipsy
I am itching to buy seeds and plan out our little balcony garden. This little garden will be feeding us and help us in staying healthy and I’m excited to share the process of planning and planting and growing.
home. tidytipsy
This year will again feature opportunities to travel and making plans for that is always a wonderful start of the year task. Travelling always feels like a breath of fresh air blowing away the cobwebs of daily routines and sharpening the senses for the beauty around us. Oh, the photos to come!
wood. tidytipsy
This little blog is overdue for a change too. True to my resolutions I’m looking forward to spending more time here. A new name plus a visual overhaul will be in order and I’m so excited about it! It’s all still in the planning stages, but I hope to share the results with you very soon!
The photo blog has already gotten a new coat of paint so to speak πŸ™‚
There’s a few photos from our new year’s walk over there too if you want to have a look.

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loving

this spring and sunshine. So, so much!
spring. tidytipsy
spring. tidytipsy
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Maybe it was the long winter and cold this year, but I’m still soaking up every ray of sunshine I can get and watching my balcony and the world around me come to life feels invigorating.
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Hello, italian mint!
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The ponies are happy too, finally it’s time for freedom and green grass again after spending winter in their stalls.
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Love these little flowers! My mom gave me a few from her garden last year but they never bloomed. I kept them all the same and this year they’re blooming in lovely colours from pale rosey to bright orange to lush dark red!
dress to copy. tidytipsy
And finally, I’m feeling creative again after a late winter lurch and look forward to getting back to my sewing machine soon. The dress above is from Zara, it was so gorgeous I had to have it even though it’s polyester. Oh, all the Downton Abbey inspired prettiness of Zara’s spring collection! I love how TV inspires fashion. I spent all weekend trying to wrap my head around how it is made so I can make my own copy in a cotton silk or even (imagine!) some luxurious washed silk.

at home

Some random photos from the last few weeks.

I never did get around to blogging our balcony garden this year but it’s there (past its prime already) and we had zucchini, and turnips and herbs and tomatoes and lots of flowers.

The peppers! I had high plans for these. I got ‘pimientos de padron’ peppers because I had liked them in Spain and started lots of plants from seed. Alas, they all turned out to be the hot type instead of the mild ones I was hoping for. I ended up giving them all away. If anyone in Spain has access to the mild pimientos de padron (the ones you fry in a little oil and sprinkle with sea salt), I’d be more than thrilled if you could send me some seeds! Do email me at tidytipsy.at.yahoo.de!

A little Oleander cutting my mom gave me is thriving and produced its first flower. Love it.

And finally, some down time with the cats amid some crazy busy weeks πŸ™‚

june days

I am SO hooked on making videos…I just can’t seem to stop.


We’ve had some lovely sunny days here which I’ve tried hard to enjoy. Between my pollen allergy and a LOT of work it hasn’t always been easy. Sneeze.
In addition to some really tough days at the office (which unfortunately will continue all month) I’ve been quite busy with my photography as well, which is great of course and I am enjoying myself immensely doing photoshoots. So far I’ve been blessed with the sweetest clients imaginable and I hope I’ll be able to share the results pretty soon!
At this point I just have to mention this speech I listened to the other day. Do yourselves a favor and sit down with a cup of tea or lemonade, depending on your weather, watch this and be inspired. Preferably after you’ve read this post to the end that is πŸ™‚

I’m trying to soak up this time of year at the barn, when the wind is still fresh and the grass is lush and green, before the flies and the heat. Sneeze. I also gave in today and started taking pills against my allergy.
I then rode the pony bareback through the woods without a single sneeze. Heaven.
My balcony garden is coming along nicely as well. I got flowers in addition to edibles this year and they look lovely in their pots next to the herbs and mints. Which reminds me, I just bought a fourth type of mint. Ginger mint. How could I resist?

The kohlrabis are getting chubbier.

I took out the sukkulents to soak up some sun too, then had to take them inside again because they got burned and turned red! Now they’re back to green and doing great thankfully.

The sunniest corner is occupied by the tomatoes and peppers, along with a little mint and yet more flowers tucked in here and there.


I was given some soil to use from a friend and mixed it with storebought soil. I seems to have come from a garden, because these have been growing in between my plants:

Aren’t they cute? The seeds must have been dormant in the soil. Anyone know their name in english?
The wild strawberries are producing like crazy.

I love the unique taste of wild strawberries. The greatest weekend breakfast!

I also finally got some green things for our bare window sills inside. It’s amazing how a little bit of green can cheer a room up so much.

The cats love them too. Unfortunately this means they’re busy nibbling away at them. Good thing I took care only to buy plants that are non-toxic for cats and so far, the addition to their diet doesn’t seem to be doing any harm.
They do love our new rug as well…I’m predicting the plants are tougher than the rug and will last longer. Good thing too because the rug only cost me 3€ at the thrift store πŸ™‚ Slowly but surely this new place of ours is getting cozy!

first strawberries

The first local strawberries of the year, bought at today’s farmer’s market.

I had a craving for chocolate covered strawberries, so we made chocolate fondue and enjoyed every bite.


I’ve been busy potting and transplanting plants on my balcony, where finally there is some growth. My own strawberries will be carrying fruit soon:

These are conventional strawberries but just today my mom gave me some wild strawberry plants from her garden. I love the special taste of wild strawberries and it will be interesting to see how well they do in a container compaired to the ordinary ones.
There’s also mint, which I love…I cannot wait to have fresh mint tea and alongside my trusty and aromatic italian mint I bought some chocolate and orange mint this year. I’m also trying out some new (to me) plants like Anise Hyssop and Monarda this year.

In addition to the peppers and tomatoes, who are being hardened off this weekend, I’m growning some regional veggies like kohlrabi and broccoli this year.

Aside from having homegrown food to eat, getting my hands dirty planting and growing things in the fresh wind is just the kind of work that keeps me healthy and happy, when too much computer work has made me antsy.
Not that I don’t like my computer work…I’m happy with my photo editing and blogreading and such, as long as I can balance it with physical work.
And to change the topic completely onto something computer related: Now that I own a camera that can do video and after being involved in some video projects at work and with friends, I’m completely excited to try making and editing videos. I’ve spent a couple of hours trying out the function as well as editing the video in Photoshop (yes, you can actually edit video files in Photoshop!) and researching cutting software. Turns out there’s no freeware out there which works with the kind of files my camera produces (bummer!) so I’ll probably need to buy software for cutting. I’ll keep y’all updated…expect some cat and pony videos as my first tries πŸ™‚

growing

Though I haven’t talked about it in detail yet, I have started quite a few seeds indoors again for the coming balcony gardening season. Seeing as I started a bit late last year, I made sure to be early this spring.
Our new balcony is huge, but faces southeast instead of southwest, so time will tell if the sun hungry veggie plants will be ok with that.
I’ve sown some hardy seeds in the containers outdoors already…lots of mints, some kohlrabi, lettuce, peas and such. We’ve been having a very cold spring so far though, so nothing much to show for it yet.
But indoors! Hard to believe that in only a few weeks my tiny, fragile pepper seedlings have grown from this:

to this:

As you can see, they’ve outgrown their light box already, so I am now keeping them near our sunniest window until it is warm enough to move them outside in the day.
The light box has again worked great.

I ordered a special sort of pepper this year, called Pimientos de Padron. They are small green peppers which are tossed in a pan with olive oil briefly and then sprinkled with coarse sea salt and eaten as Tapas in Spain. I love them and hope they will grow well. There’s also a few tomato plants again and I will be sowing broccoli and zucchini later this month.
I’ll try and update throughout the season again and I am already getting very excited to grow and harvest πŸ™‚
Other than that, I am insanely busy and my weekend at the sea feels so far away already. There’s a new post on my photo blog with more beach portraits and a couple of projects are going on at the same time. I’m still sewing whenever I get the chance, but haven’t made time for photos yet. Might as well add that there’s some not so happy stuff…an aunt of mine died last weekend after a long illness and we’re alternating between being sad and feeling relieved that she is no longer suffering.
Sometimes a single day holds so many different emotions it makes me dizzy.

gardening 2011 – part 6

Time for another balcony garden update! We are in the midst of a tomato rush.
We picked all these for sunday night dinner and made a nice easy tomato sauce to go with spaghetti. We even had some left for the freezer.

We sowed and planted four types of heirloom tomatoes: the small red ones, tigerella, green zebra and a yellow type. As you can see, the tiny sweet red ones and the tigerellas have been most productive so for next year I’ll probably be replacing the other two with new types to try. The yellow ones especially haven’t done great and are very soft.

The leaves of the tomato plants are starting to yellow and shrivel and after letting the last of the fruit ripen the plants will be ripped out.
The zucchini plant is on its last leg as is the cucumber. We had three big cucumbers from it though and still need to eat these two biggies.

Apart from these there are still plants just getting started as we head into fall early this year (my, it gets dark early here with all this rainy and cloudy weather). The peppers are growing nicely, some plants only just flowering, some already laden with small peppers.
The herbs are still doing nicely and we have a first baby melon!

I tried brussels sprouts from seed because I like them so much. I read they are hard to grow but so far mine are doing great and I only regret not having two or three pots of these instead of just one.

There is also new lettuce to be had in a few weeks. Two trays of mΓ’che and arugula were eaten by slugs but the others are doing great.
So I’m excited to see the fall plants grow in the next few weeks.

eating homegrown a.k.a gardening 2011 – part 4

Our balcony is overflowing with green and it changes so rapidly all the time that I barely get a chance to photograph it all!
The peas and beans and strawberries are done for the year but the melons and zucchini and cucumbers fill every available space with pretty yellow flowers.

The big surprise success have been the sugar snap peas. Boy, were those delicious! I have never been a big fan of peas but there really is nothing comparable to the taste of a freshly picked sugar snap pea, their sweetness is out of this world!

We will definitely be growing 3 times as many next year.
A big motivation for growing a balcony garden this year has been that we want to eat better and fresher. And we find that we do which is a bit of a surprise to us. We don’t so much try fancy new recipes but we tweak the simple dishes we know with homegrown produce. The snap peas we ate raw or cooked with pasta and parmesan cheese. Topped with fresh italian parsley it makes a simple dish a delight.

The addition of fresh herbs makes a lot of difference I find and we are trying out lots of new things this year. My favourite to look at and smell is this real italian peppermint plant, brought all the way from southern Italy by a friend whose family is from there. Even just brushing against it the scent is intense and wonderful. It’s a perennial too so we will have lots of peppermint in the years to come πŸ™‚

The zucchini plant has all but succeeded in taking over the whole balcony, it’s that huge!

We ate the first giant zucchini last weekend, putting it in the oven with some tomatoes, onion, garlic and topped with cheese…yum!

And last but not least, all the tomatoes are carrying fruits and while it will be a couple of weeks still until they are ready they are just gorgeous to look at!

I’ll try to get a full balcony shot in the next couple of days, after I get it cleaned up a bit. Right now it’s a bit of a mess, due to having been sick followed by a couple of pretty hectic days at work. But another long weekend has just started over here and I have next week off, so plenty of time for gardening and other stuff.
Wishing you all a great weekend!

gardening 2011 – part 3

Click here for part 1 and part 2.
A lot has been happening on my balcony so I figured you all deserve a little update. This is the view from the door. You’ll see the greenhouses have moved to the other side of the balcony to serve as a rain protection for the tomatoes and catch as much sun as possible.

All of my seedlings have been in their final pots since the beginning of the month (I did have to cover them up a cold night or two). The tomatoes are doing wonderfully, they have grown big and sturdy and I am expecting flowers any day now. In with the tomatoes and peppers grow basil (three types), cilantro, arugula and calendula.

The zucchini and cucumbers are growing at such speed, they double in size by the week (they have doubled again since taking this picture a couple of days ago!). I have mizuna growing with them in some containers.

The view from the greenhouses towards the door.

The space formerly occupied by the greenhouses now hosts raspberries, more pots of strawberries, a lone cranberry plant, mint, lemon, balm, spinach, chives, brussels sprouts, chamomile, lots of salad and a container with sugar snap peas and parsley.


I must admit I did go a bit overboard with the lettuce. We have much more than we can actually consume (seeing as the boyfriend and I both work full time and eat most meals away from home during the week).
The beans are covered with flowers and we are waiting to eat the first sugar snap peas! Anyone know when they are ready to eat once they appear?

And one last shot from the first parsley I’ve ever grown. We only know the curly variety here but this is italian flat-leaved parsley and it has a wonderful, very intense flavor, yum!

All this planning and experimenting has turned out better than my wildest dreams, you really can eat off a balcony very well!
See you with another update once the first veggies are ready for harvest.

gardening 2011 – part 2

*Click here for part 1*
Ok, so far I’ve only shown bits and pieces of my plants, but by now the balcony is looking quite nice so I think it’s time for an overall look.
Here it is, this is the view from the door looking out onto our balcony:

The flower boxes hold strawberries which are just now starting to bloom. In the far end corner by the chair you can see the raspberry plant and the pots underneath the flower boxes hold beans and peas or are waiting for their tomatoes and peppers (they also hold basil and parsley and calendula and bunching onions which had to go in already).
This is the view standing in the corner by the raspberry, looking toward the door and the two greenhouses:

The little wooden box and the small ladder were both thrift store finds. I had actually been looking for something like it for a while and was thrilled to find these! They hold the herbs, which will need to go back into the greenhouse should the nights get colder again. But for now I think they just look so pretty here:

Ok, so much for a general overview, back to the seedlings I’ve been fussing over for the last couple of weeks.
The tomatoes and peppers and cucumbers went out into the greenhouse permanently a week ago and yesterday I transplanted them to larger newspaper pots (look how small the first pots are looking in comparison, it was high time!). I will also need to start fertilizing now.

I hope they continue to do well, at this stage I would honestly be crushed should they die on me. The seedlings get the sunny top shelf in the greenhouses:

The top shelf in the other greenhouse is taken up by all my experiments with starting seeds directly in the greenhouse or sprouting inside and then transferring them outside (I went a little wild experimenting after I got the greenhouses). I was so scared that my first attempt would fail and now pretty much everything has sprouted and is growing and I will have so many plants to give away to friends!

And to really make you tired of seeing baby plant pics, here’s the week by week on the indoor seedlings:

Also, last but not least, the lettuce is also thriving, so much that I really need to thin it (and I can even eat the thinnings as baby lettuce, so nothing goes to waste!):

Ok, this was a marathon post, next ones will be shorter again, promise πŸ˜‰