It's getting close to time to put all of my little sprouts outside. Our last frost date for my area is next week and it's currently 77 degrees. So I've been doing some doodling. AP and I have a running debate about whether or not raised beds are the way to go. I am in favor, but AP says that I should maybe just amend the soil and not go to all the extra work of building beds for this year. Either way, the time for a decision has arrived.

With everything else going on (Chicago, home studies, The Practice Run, Photo-Palooza...) I haven't even had time to start planning and working on a compost system. I have to try to remember this is a temporary location for us. I need to balance stewardship of time in learning what I can now, with not going overboard in my desire for achieving full complexity of systems. If I'm going to do something, I want to do it to the nth degree.

I did upgrade my indoor starting system. I disassembled a rack from The Old House and brought over the other grow light we had. Now I have a two tier system to accommodate our growing sizes (although we've also had some losses. The tomatoes and eggplant have all but given up the ghost. We might have three tomatoes remaining and maybe one eggplant. I'm not sure yet how I could have improved my efforts. I'll need to do some reading.

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Things are in full bloom everywhere, though. My mother-in-law brought over pansies for me a week ago, which I'm excited to put in the ground. I love their vivid, bright colors.

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I put about half of my ranunculus bulbs outside and right in the ground. They are very happy. I'll need to put the ones I'd kept potted indoors out as well. They're clearly not doing as well. I know they need more sun as they're substantially leggier.

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Our hostas are popping up, verdant and bold. Hostas just seem clean somehow.

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And my giant pot of peppermint which I overwintered is showing it's first tiny faces.

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The light has that periwinkle and gold quality that spring often has. I love the heavy grey/purple next to the beautiful vivid green.

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Peonies are coming up. I like peonies when they bloom, but then I find myself aggravated by them, because they're so messy looking. Not chic messy, just...messy. Plus, they attract ants so the flowers aren't great for bringing inside as cuttings. Maybe I need to rethink the context.

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My Sedum overwintered under a heavy bed of leaf mulch and has broken through quite exuberantly.

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And the Chocolate Chip Ajuga overwintered well, also. I think it's going to flower this year.

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We also have a few wild strawberries growing. I'm planning to add potted strawberries and blueberries in a few weeks to our little garden. We do tons of fruit in smoothies and I'd like to try my hand at some spreads and preserves, as well as for their general right-off-the-bush deliciousness in desserts and also in mouth. They'd be great on top of this new grain-free (and optionally vegan!) waffle recipe I've been making - the recipe for which I'll be posting soon!

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I was thinking about trying to learn to propogate forsythia this year from cuttings, but it's such a big, rambling plant and I have so much else for now, that I decided to wait for another year to really pursue it. But I did have some cuttings and they lasted for almost two weeks inside, in a little water. It was glorious

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I'm enjoying my little sprouts a tremendous amount although I confess to sometimes feeling overwhelmed at how much there is to learn. All the same, I am excited to make the effort.

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