post off: what’s growing in your garden now?

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This is the first spring in our house and we are timidly dipping our toes into edible gardening. There are a still a bunch of plants around the yard that haven’t flowered yet, so rather than dig things up, we decided to start some containers with vegetables on our deck. We didn’t get our act together in time to grow from seeds, so we picked up some plants at our local nursery. We chose stuff for pasta and pesto — tomatoes, basil, oregano — and things to help with guacamole — peppers and cilantro. For kicks I planted a few fennel bulbs and some bib lettuce, both which look lovely in our bright plastic pots (from Home Depot). Elsewhere we have raspberry bushes which seem to grow like weeds. I can’t wait for our first home grown feast. What’s growing in your garden? Please share and inspire this novice. – Angela M.

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bringing functional art outdoors: cumulus studios

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I can’t remember where I saw it, but I ran into the top photo recently when browsing around the interwebs. I never saved the link, but scribbled down the name of the company, or so I thought. All I wrote down was “cumulus”. A lengthy google-quest ensued, and I found my proverbial holy grail: Cumulus Studios. Cumulus, founded in 2008 by landscape designer Nathalie Karg, is dedicated to producing limited runs of weather-safe, functional outdoor pieces by emerging contemporary artists. Benches, tables, umbrellas, and sculptures are just some of the fabulous items featured — priced, according to the company’s website, “to accommodate all budgets and tastes”. Keep an eye out for even more unique designs coming soon, like outdoor textiles and swimming pool tiles. Or, if you’ve got the budget, why not commission a custom piece? — Megan B.

From our partners
From our partners

gardening 101: tips for starting seeds

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It’s that time again – time to get our gardens started! I’m a casual backyard gardener, and this year I’ve decided to grow my usual things – herbs and tomatoes – and perhaps some cucumbers. And it’s time to get those seeds going! I’ve learned a few things over the past few years that have helped my seeds and garden flourish:

1. Start seedlings between damp paper towels, loosely sealed in a zip-top or plastic bag. The bag will help keep the towels moist, and create a terrarium-like effect when placed in the sun.

2. Once the seeds have sprouted (a few days to a week, depending on the plant), using tweezers or a gentle hand transfer them to a clean paper egg carton filled with sterilized soil. You can sterilize your own soil by dampening it slightly and microwaving for a minute (or until steamy) and let cool. This will help kill bacteria and inhibit mould growth. Again, loosely cover with plastic and place in a sunny window.

3. Once the seedlings are about 1cm tall, remove the cover and gently water. I use a turkey-baster to slowly drip water into each cup. Rotate the carton in sun every few days, letting the seedlings grow up to 2 inches (any taller than that, and the roots will probably need more soil to properly grow). Once they reach 2 inches, you can cut the carton up into individual cups and plant directly into larger pots (yes, you can plant the carton! It will decompose), or, gently scoop out the plant and dirt with a spoon to transfer.

Tips:
– Rotate seedling containers every few days so they get even sunshine.
– Do not overwater or you could cause seedlings to rot. Soil should be damp, but not flooded.
– Be sure the dirt in seedling’s final growing spot is fertile. Add compost or
organic fertilizer to boost nutrients, based on your local garden supplier’s recommendations. It will immensely help the growth and stamina of plants as the summer goes on!
– Don’t be afraid to start too many seeds! You may loose a few plants to rot, dehydration, etc., so plant extras to start. You can always give away the extra seedlings to neighbors and friends. Have any of your own tips to add? Sound off in comments! – Rebecca F.

Photo: Rebecca Firlik

From our partners

new twist on lawn chair webbing: leather belts

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I’ve re-webbed patio chairs and I’ve written about chairs woven with belts, but this is the first I’ve seen leather belts used to web patio chairs. Lori Wyant has the how-to at Green Is Universal. I confess I’m slightly on the fence about the finished project, but I think it could be a lot of fun to seplace out funky belts at thrift stores. Just be sure they’re long enough to use as webbing! And if you need a little more instruction, revisit our chair webbing how-to. — Mary T.

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