geekery, drawing and then some

Easy peasy beans.

I've grown a few bean-plants on my balcony (more than a few actually) and have looked for the best way to get them to germinate. In the beginning I tried sticking them in the ground and just keeping the ground wet, and though that did work for some beans, it also failed plenty of times.

Lots of times my beans got eaten by the larvae of the bean-fly (oh how I hate them!). I went looking for a better way and found something that works very well. This will probably work for other seeds too, and will give you a good idea about the germination rate of your seeds (if you have old seeds you sometimes want to check). I've had no problem transplanting the resulting sprouts, just keep in mind you will have to transplant them at some point. Not all sprouts like that.

Kids will usually love this too. Use beans though, they sprout fast :)

You will need: - a ziploc bag (or another type of firm plastic bag) - some toiletpaper or paper towels - something to spray water with - beans! Put beans on paper. Take the toiletpaper and put down several layers. Place a few beans on the paper. Spray thoroughly with water until the paper becomes moist with water, but does not drip.

beans, germination in a ziploc bag. Fold the paper, with the beans in the fold. It helps to not line up the edges so you can check later on. Keep the bag open (very important) and place it in a dark warm place. Most people prefer the top of their fridge, I used a kitchen-cabinet with pipes behind it.

Nothing happens the first day.... After the first day you may or may not see little roots coming from the bean. Check daily if you prefer, or every other day, to make sure the paper stays moist and to check for beans that rot (it sometimes happens, especially with older beans, they smell bad so it's best to remove the asap).

5 days later... A few days later, however, the beans have sprouted!

Carefully take them out. Take it out of the bag, carefully. Make sure not to break any roots.

Not all will have sprouted.. You'll see here that not all beans sprouted. Two of them rotted (I felt very sad), but the others shot up! The ones on the right I deemed plant-worthy and planted them outside. I took the risk with the two on the left as well, but left the other two (barely rooting) in the bag for a while. If the roots have gone through the paper, don't worry! Just rip the paper and plant it with the bean-sprout. It'll dissolve quickly enough.

Some beans take longer than others, perfectly normal. However, if after a week to ten days you see no action at all, and the beans have gone mushy, they failed. They'll smell bad too.

Sister's dog and his unfortunate accident.

DenzelDenzel is a couple of months old now. I took this (terrible) photo a few weeks ago at sister's birthday party. Somewhat over a week ago sister, her boyfriend and their two dogs went out with the dogs to play. They found a spot where another guy and his dog were playing (throwing a stick, bring it back). The dogs happily played together and the guy happily threw the stick. At some point he swings his arm back, ready to throw the stick and just as he swings it low, Denzel jumps in front of him and gets the stick full in his face, knocking him out. Sister cried, guy cried, emergency visit to vet. Denzel had blood coming out of his nose, his jaw swelled up and his eye got 'bloody' as well. Pretty bad all in all (combined with going KO). The vet thoroughly checked him out (and gave him medication) and sister had to wake up the dog every hour that night. He had a pretty bad concussion, and swelling / bruising, but should make a full recovery.

The good part about this story, apart from his recovery (it still happened recently, but I expect the worst has passed and hopefully he won't have any permanent damage): the guy paid for the veterinarian costs and kept in touch about Denzel's health. Last I heard they were going to visit him (or he would come around) to make sure the dog indeed got a bit better.

Can only imagine what that guy felt like, and certainly can relate to sister (a little bit, Nano has had minor incidents so far knock on wood). It shows some people still take their responsibility and don't hide behind 'but it was an accident!'. So, bravo, anonymous-guy!

So many tomatoes!

Harvest :-) Yesterday I harvested 241 grams of cherry-tomatoes. This brings the total for this one plant to roughly 450 grams. And this is just one plant. Very pleased with how much it produces. I left a few orange ones on yesterday, but from the looks of it, I could probably harvest those today too.

These cherry-tomatoes taste so much better than the kind I buy in the store.


Salad After harvesting a bunch of tomatoes and basil I made a tasty salad with mozzarella cheese and some mild peppers (from a jar, yes). It tasted great!

As a dressing I used a simple balsamic vinegar / olive oil mix.

New addition to the garden.

Apple or pear tree. The latest addition to my balcony-garden is a pear-or-apple-tree. We don't know yet. It might take a year or two before we do. I placed it next to the bay-tree, I'm sure they'll get along.

I will document this tree as much as possible, who knows what it'll do!

The plants in general grow really well. I can harvest roughly one salad per week, very nice :)

The plants, they grow.

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[gallery link="file"] I got a pretty good harvest today, thanks to the sweet pepper-plant I bought. I harvested two of those small peppers, one small cucumber and three little tomatoes (I grow mostly small varieties because the plants usually also stay smaller). What started out as a way to keep the sun out in the summer has turned into this contest with myself, seeing how much of my own food I can grow on my own balcony. No need to blame the recession here, I enjoy doing this ;) I have watched tons of movies on Youtube and read websites about growing your own food and the more I watch the more I realise I could still grow more!

I have this feeling people start to look at me oddly, as if I've gone crazy... I haven't, really ;)


Bee on my flower. My balcony garden seems to do well. The weather goes from sunny to cloudy to sunny again, and I have watered when needed. My seedlings seem to grow very well, I blame this on the southern location of my balcony.

My drawing-rhythm seems disturbed so I use my garden as my creative outlet. Seems to work out well. I keep a gardening journal at MyFolia which helps me track the progress of my plants.

Still very tired and barely have the energy to do the stuff I need to do, not to mention the stuff I want to do (the gardening seems my max now). Going to the doctor again on Tuesday, for recurring eye-issues. I wonder when my body will stabilise... (dear body, it's about time. Really!)

Playing with photos.

A collection photos of my balconyThis past week I've mostly played around with my digital photos (I have so many...).

I bought the bundle at the MUPromo and it came with Posterino. Playing with it for a while I managed to create some cool collages of photos (from my balcony) and combining it with a template I made in Pixelmator I created a little card with a polaroid-effect. I may have overworked myself a little cause I went a little nuts with scanning paper for the effect and the colours and such. But at least I enjoyed it :)

Balcony finished (basically)

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[gallery columns="5"]Today I installed the last bits of my balcony. I got some more small green pots and planted rosemary, a bay tree (more like a bush), two new types of oregano (makes three in total) and I planted the beans and peas. Also planted the courgettes, and put the rest in pots to give away. My left lower box hasn't got anything in it yet, and I plan to sow some lettuce, spring onion and beetroot in it. The lower right one has lamb's lettuce and scallions. I have some basil seeds left (and mint, coriander, parsley and then some) which I plan to sow by the tomatoes, I hear that works out well. This morning I harvested my first mini-cucumber and ate it on a cheese-sandwich, tasted excellent. Looking forward to more of that :D


Over the weekend I planted some seeds for plants I eventually want to plant outside on my balcony. I started out with courgette (zucchini), sage, thyme, rosemary, Tropaeolum, mustard and several types of beans.

Some have already started germination, even the tiny thymeseeds start to look green. Others, not so much yet. Patience....

Tidied up balcony.

Installed a rack. I installed a rack for my empty pots and to put my herbs on.

Perhaps I can put some plants that like shade on the middle layer.

Hike over artificial island.

20090510-224531-1 This afternoon we hiked over a small artificial island (it's a Dutch thing). We saw a very weird larva there.

Bf said it eats through wood so I told Nano to sit and stay away from it so it wouldn't jump at her and bite her.

Ofcourse she didn't listen and attacked it, tossing it in the air. It did seem unhurt, I suspect she wanted to toy with it because we paid more attention to it than to her.