Tag Archives: gardening

This California Summer

This heat and drought in California is truly something else. I’m sure many of you have seen the “before and after” photos of bodies of water in California that have experienced devastating consequences from this drought (if not, check it out here). We are particularly feeling the effects of this drought here in Southern California. On top of that, we’re in the middle of a really horrendous heatwave right now that has led to some planned (and unplanned!) power outages around this region. I’m saying this in part to highlight a lot of the important issues that we’re facing in California, but also to really show that we don’t always have perfect, 75 degree temperatures in Southern California! In the Orange County area this past weekend, there was a fire burning over 1,000 acres of land in Silverado Canyon. This particularly hits close to home because it literally was close to my parents’ home in Orange County. Interestingly enough, this fire was started by the metal roofing of a vegetable garden! What a small way for such a devastating fire to start! You can find out more about the story here. Okay; end rant!

As a result of all of this, I have really made an effort to conserve as much water as possible. One way that I’ve been doing this is by choosing more drought-tolerant plants for my balcony garden. Of course, my small, unassuming balcony garden probably wouldn’t use up much water in the first place, but every drop counts, right? On top of that, keeping plants alive in this summer heat is a whole different ballgame, particularly regarding plants that are not suitable for high temperatures. As a resident of the top floor of my apartment complex, my balcony experiences inexplicably high heat. So instead of planting snapdragons and basil as I have before, I’ve planted succulents in my overhanging balcony planters! I feel like it’s a bit of a non-traditional way to use planters, but I love it!

Succulent Planter #1

Succulent Planter #1

Succulent Planter #2

Succulent Planter #2

This is a really great way to also use cuttings of succulents, propagate more succulents, and also, to minimize how many pots you use. I was tired of having so many separate little planters so I threw them all together.

Here are some photos of the rest of the balcony! It’s slowly but surely coming together!

IMG_2218

Balcony Gardening @ www.ecospired.com

What are you doing to keep cool in the last few days before fall begins? Leave a comment! 🙂

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Spring Renewal

Spring in Southern California is kind of a joke. We have “perfect” weather year-round. California’s subtleties in seasonal cycles can make it difficult to differentiate between the months. You have to go through the darkness to see the light, right? Figuratively, we don’t have that “darkness.” At the risk of sounding unappreciative, sometimes it’s hard to appreciate that beautiful day outside because we can trust that it’ll be there tomorrow and the day after. At least that’s how I feel.

My point is, it’s easy to fly by the seasons doing the exact same things when you live in a place that doesn’t obviously display its seasons. But I’ve made it a point of mine to change my actions/attire/perspective seasonally. That’s why I’ve planted a colossal amount of seeds. Even if spring is practically year round, it’s finally that time of year! So I went a little overboard at Home Depot and Orchard the other day. I always feel so dorky when I talk about plants, like I’m “too young” to be gardening. Then I realized that it doesn’t actually matter because at the end of the day, you’ve got to be unabashedly YOU.

Seeds

Yep. This happened. I usually never buy/plant any thing other than herbs, succulents and ferns. I’m branching out (puns)! I’ve decided to grow more vegetables and flowers. I used to think flowers were frivolous on such a small balcony but I’ve changed my mind. Flowers are awesome. Some flower seeds I got were Foxgloves, which are TREMENDOUSLY BEAUTIFUL and definitely too big for my balcony, Zinnias, Poppies, Baby’s Breath, Lupine and a few more. I also got more vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, swiss chard, lettuces, arugula, malabar spinach, etc. AND herbs, as usual. Here are some herbs I cut today from my balcony.

Rosemary, grapefruit mint, chives, dill and parsley

Rosemary, grapefruit mint, chives, dill and parsley

I bought the 72 pod Greenhouse Jiffy kit from Home depot and put some seeds in! I was wondering how to label the seeds so I used some plastic-y tabs and wrote on them with permanent marker and devised a little organizational system to make sure I don’t mix them up.

seeds at www.ecospired.com

seeds at www.ecospired.com

IMG_0016

At first, this was the container I was using. Jokes! It’s too small. So that’s when I bought the 72 pod container and transferred these guys over (that’s why you’ll see that there are a couple of already-sprouted rows).

seeds at www.ecospired.com

What do you think? I’m so excited for these little guys to grow. My balcony/apartment will be a complete jungle. No complaints here!

Sushi, my little parakeet

Sushi, my little parakeet

This is my bird, Sushi. Don’t ask about the name. Named her 13 or so years ago! Ironic that I never had tried sushi at the time that I named her, and no longer eat sushi now…

terrarium at www.ecospired.com

Also, I got bored with the moss terrarium so I took some of Sushi’s bird seeds and just threw them in the terrarium. They’ve sprouted. Surprise!

Lastly, this is some seaweed concentrate that I got for the plants from Orchard. It’s apparently really great for the soil and foliage of plants and apparently keeps bugs from infesting your plants because they don’t like the taste. We’ll see!

seaweed concentrate for gardening!

seaweed concentrate for gardening!

Have you started planting yet? Spring cleaning? Let me know!

-Daria

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

I’m back!

It’s been too long. I have nooo excuses other than the fact that so much has happened and changed and it’s finally all settling down. To recap- two very close people in my life got married, I got to play harp in Capital Cities’ new music video “Kangaroo Court” (check it out here) and I’m officially a grad student at USC! So that’s nice, because I’ve felt like one for the past 4 years so now my life finally makes sense. Let’s be real, I never experienced college like most people did. For heaven’s sake, I have a blog about PLANTS. Welllll it’s more than plants, and sustainability is what I’m passionate about, so what gives, right?

A lot has changed over in my little apartment. The decor, for one. Here’s some of my most recent pictures:

www.ecospired.com

my place!

another blurry image of my place!

I’m not sure if I ever showed you before pictures. I’m not brave enough yet. One day I’ll gather up the courage.

Here are some more pictures of what I’ve been up to.

my sea glass chandelier at night.

my sea glass chandelier at night.

I put an exposed filament light bulb in my sea glass chandelier that I made. My tutorial is here and I seriously suggest you do this project. It’s so stunning during the day and night, and it’s totally doable.

manzanita branch!

manzanita branch!

An orchid from LA’s flower district.

The above tree branch is a Manzanita branch. This is one that hasn’t been sand-blasted– the ones you see as decorations are sand-blasted, which gives them their light color. I personally loooove the natural smooth texture and red color of the manzanita, so I bought one that wasn’t sanded. I got it from the Los Angeles Flower District  for $10! It comes assembled with a wooden box at its base. I personally wanted to hang my jewelry off of it, but you could just use it as a decoration or hang little jars with LED (battery-powered) candles inside it (I wouldn’t suggest real candles because it turns out, wood is flammable. Weird.) I also got the orchid at the flower district. I totally suggest going one morning if you’re local! I went with a friend of mine and we had a great time. The flowers are reasonably cheap and you can find any type of manzanita branch imaginable (think- pink glitter…). I wasn’t very impressed by their succulent collection, but they have a lot of great cut flowers.

This is what’s been happening on the balcony:

www.ecospired.com

Getting up close and personal with some dill…

Trader Joes’ herbs! I totally suggest buying them. Only $2.50 and healthy. Love it.

IMG_0069

IMG_0064

Malabar Spinach! I bought it from my local farmers’ market.

IMG_0094

IMG_2939

I love farmers’ markets.

These are some of the things I love. What about you? What do you get to make your place “home”?

-D

PS: I almost forgot! I harvested my worm compost. It is messy. And gross. It is definitely not for the faint-hearted or for the easily-grossed-out-type. BUT once you get over the fact that you’re touching worms and their sht, it’s great! My plants are so happy with their compost! And I started another vermicompost.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

DIY: Chalkboard Pots Tutorial

Chalkboard Pots at Ecospired.comChalkboard-ing has been around for a while, but I hadn’t really hopped on the bandwagon until now. And the reason is pretty silly. I got this chalkboard pencil that literally screamed “ecospired” so loud, that I bought it just to shut it up. That might just be me justifying my purchase. Regardless, I figured that I had to get a chalkboard in order to actually use the pencil, but chalkboards are just soo traditional. Let’s think outside the box, shall we?

Chalk pencil at ecospired.com

I’m obsessed with plants, which is glaringly obvious to anyone who has read a line of this blog. So I decided to paint the rim of my clay pots with chalkboard paint. Clay pots are a lot better for plants than a lot of other pots. They let the plant breathe, and it’s harder to kill the plants if they’re in clay pots (I’ve learned from experience). Also, instead of buying new pots because you’re bored of your decor, you can simply paint them. Woo! So now, I can write obnoxious notes, informational notes, or just reminders. Or inspirational quotes. Allllll over my plants.

This is extremely easy, so run out and get the materials ASAP!

Materials:

  • Chalkboard paint- I got Martha Stewart’s chalkboard paint from JoAnns. Good ol’ Martha.
  • Foam Brush
  • Clay pot
  • Chalk
  • Towel or paper towel
  • Optional: Steel Wool

Chalkboard Pots at Ecospired.com

Directions:

  • Make sure your clay pot is dry and clean.
  • Paint the rim of the pot.
  • Let dry and wait for an hour.
  • Paint a second coat on the rim of the pot.
  • Let dry another hour.
  • Optional*–Rub the dry, painted area with steel wool.
  • Lightly “chalk” the entire painted area to prep it for chalking, and wipe it off with a dry towel.
  • Write messages! Be awesome!

Chalkboard Pots at ecospired.com

 

Chalkboard Pots at Ecospired.com

And…. drumroll…. my favorites!

To-may-to and to-mah-to

To-may-to and to-mah-to! 

 

Whaddya think? Leave me some comments, at the top left of the post!

-Daria

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: