Sunday, February 22, 2015

2,000 New Friends come a knockin' at my door!

They're here! 

2,000 of my new best friends have arrived USPS Priority Mail and I couldn't be happier!

Now before I introduce you let's back up a few weeks when I decided to jump on the homesteading wagon. Keep in mind I'm basically starting from scratch out here in suburbia so I'm reading everything I can get my hands on and one thing that kept coming up in my reading was composting.

So with a few tips from gardening book and YouTube videos I figured if I was gonna do this right and help amend this Oklahoma red dirt that's harder than a brick, I'd need a little help. OK, change that to a lot of help! new best friends. Red Wiggler Worms!

In my research I learned Red Wigglers were the best for composting.  Frankly they seem a bit like slithering little vampires...they don't like light, and are blood  veggie thirsty critters with voracious appetites and the weirdly cool thing about them is that what they excrete is pure gold for us gardeners. Sounds gross I know, but when you live with 2 teenage sons, nothing grosses you out, least of all worm poo.

Now I'm all for organic, no pesticides and adding as much back into the garden as possible the all natural way. And since I'm not the squeamish sort and thought those little dudes were rather cool considering all they'd be doing to help a new gardener like myself out, I knew I had to have me some new friends.

About the same time I started saving all of my food scraps. No meat. No grease. No Cheetos, just good old fruit and veggie scraps. Oh! And I learned those little stickers you get on your know the ones, well, worms don't like those, so they hit the trashcan. But all the yummy food that worms like to eat, got tossed into my temporary worm bin.

To set up my worm bin, I took an old clear shallow plastic bin (24x15x5) threw it into a big black yard waste trash bag, layered it with damp torn newspaper shreds, about a half gallon of organic soil and then started adding food scraps to the bin.

Now I've read that worms like when food starts to rot. Something to do with bacteria and all that jazz. So I started this food bin about a week before the worms actually arrived in order to get the decomposition going. I made sure everything was slightly damp, not soaking wet and then popped the lid on, put it in the garage to percolate a bit.

With the compost cooking I needed worms. 

I hit my local nurseries first but who knew no one carried worms in the winter. What? Worms go on vacation? They diet in the winter? I don't get it! Not a single worm to be had. That's ridiculous! A worm's gotta eat! And I've got garbage to feed them...why can't I buy worms in the winter? That's just weird.

Oh well, back to square one. The 'net.

Within minutes I found my worm source. Uncle Jim's Worm Farm.

Now here's the cool thing. Apparently there are sales on worms in the winter. Yep. And there are discount codes for additional money off. Love that!  So I placed my order and a few days later, shipped Priority Mail, my vampire Red Wiggler worms showed up in a peat packed breathable bag.

 I followed the directions just as Uncle Jim suggested and got the worms transferred to their new home with nary a problem. And so far it would seem that everyone is happy!

I want to encourage everyone to start a worm bin.  If you want compost that is pure heaven's nectar for your veggies and flowers, get a bin, save your scraps and order your own set of vampires! Your plants will love you! And frankly these little dudes are so cool to watch.

Until next time,

Happy Gardening,


Monday, February 16, 2015

New Beginnings for a New Gardener

It's time to get started.

But where to begin?

I'm new at this. Well, relatively speaking I am. I've done a few perennials with mild success but frankly my life as a busy mom only allowed my gardening skills and efforts to put in a small rose garden, a few hydrangeas and a couple of herbs. But that's about to change.

As a novice gardener I'm excited about all the things I want to accomplish outside. This is the first real year my life has slowed to a dull roar and I'm enjoying the extra time to pursue gardening. There are so many things I want to do this season.

There's the raised garden bed I want to build and fill with my family's favorite veggies like carrots, green beans and kale. But also I want to try my hand at sweet potatoes and growing them from slips I start here in the kitchen.

Then there's the potting bench I want to build out of an old double seated swing that used to grace the front porch of our very first home. (I'm a big sentimental softie!)

Thorn-less blackberries and raspberries will be added to the garden in hopes that our family will be enjoying them atop a big bowl of homemade ice cream after a day spent in the sweltering Oklahoma heat.

Now I realize it may be a bit nostalgic to think that I could grow veggies and a few fruits for my family to enjoy like my grandma did. And the nostalgia I feel when I remember running up and down the rows in my grandparents garden chasing "horny toads" and breaking out in a rash because I'd eaten myself sick my plucking cucumbers and tomatoes right off the vine, well..frankly I want that for my kids too! 

I want to slow life down a little, enjoy what's been given to us in our own small suburban back yard, step away from the hectic pace of go, go, go and simply live life a little bit better, centered on our home and family and what we can achieve together right here at home versus always looking to tackle the world.

I want to bring back the simple pleasures that come from hard work and sweat when digging in the earth, time spent with loved ones in such a way that I simply cannot wait to get the raised beds built and seedlings in the ground and to wait to see what springs to life.

New beginnings do come with their own set of challenges, some seen and some unforeseen. Gardening, especially for a newbie like myself is bound to have huge learning curves. So while I have grand plans and dreams of what will be, I know it is best to pull my head out of the clouds and be realistic. Start small and learn big will be my motto this season.

Follow me this season as I head back to my roots, back to the way my grandmother did things, where leading a quiet, simple life shared with those who cross your path means building memories and a lifetime of joy.

Blessings & Best Wishes,


Welcome to Sundays in the South

I'm so glad you are here!

From as far back as I can remember gardening has been something I've dabbled in. I grew up loving my grandmother's sky blue hydrangeas that hedged her deep front porch, the massive English ivy's that hung above the porch banisters and the hens and chicks that lined the driveway up to the screened back door. My grandmother's gardening skills also extended to her vegetable garden. There wasn't a veggie she didn't grow, cook, can or serve to anyone who stepped foot into her home.

My grandmother had a green thumb that was magical. Not only did everything she touch grow but it was larger than life and it was shared with everyone she came in contact with. Whatever she grew, she would share. It didn't matter if it was a small bouquet of roses for her cousin who lived across the street, sent over by one of us grandkids to brighten cousin Pearl's day, or an invitation to one of granddad's friends who'd stopped by to drop off his lawnmower to it tuned up for the season, they too were served a cold glass of sweet tea and several chilled slices of cantaloupe fresh from the morning's garden. 

The garden allowed my grandmother to show everyone she came in contact with what it meant to feel loved, welcomed and appreciated.

That is my hope for Sundays in the South.

I want to carry on my grandmother's traditions, her hospitality and her love for gardening and while I'm rather new at this whole gardening process, you are more than welcome to grab a glass of sweet tea, sit a spell and enjoy the fruits of the garden. 

I welcome you here at Sundays in the South. I hope you enjoy your visit!

Blessings & Best wishes,