Still Blooming

I recently published a post about some dahlia buds that had bloomed in mid October. Today I noticed that the flowers are becoming even more beautiful. Pretty amazing for November in Seattle.


Cee’s Flower of the Day Photography Challenge: October Flowers

In my front yard there is a dahlia plant that has gigantic blooms. In mid to late summer it looks like this:

When I came back from India this year (towards the end of September), the blooms were dead, or dying. A week or so later, I cut them off. There were still some tiny buds on the plant. I left them alone event though I thought it was too late in the season for them to bloom.

When I walked by the plant on October 16, I was startled by what I saw. The buds were opening!

The flowers didn’t have the brilliant color of the dahlia in the summer, but they were beautiful in their own way. And they certainly show traits of Mother Nature such as the will to live and the tendency to give and give and then give some more..


I’m Laughing at Myself


I recently finished reading Novella Carpenter’s book Farm City. Years ago, Novella turned an empty lot in Oakland into an urban farm. On it she had a big garden, as well as bees and animals. At one time or another, she raised chickens, ducks, turkeys, rabbits and pigs! I loved the book and felt sad when I reached the end. I related to many parts of it.

One part that I related to was Novella’s comment that when you have an urban farm, part of the farm ends up in the house. In her case, she had beekeeping and gardening equipment throughout the house. Even though my gardening attempts can not be considered farming, I do end up with so many outdoor items inside. This weekend when I looked around my house, I remembered her statement and laughed.

I don’t raise bees, but I have two worm bins; one inside and one outside. The indoor one stays in the kitchen. In addition to transforming food into vermi-compost, a high quality fertilizer, the worms produce a liquid that can be turned into “worm tea.” I’ve been diluting it and pouring it around plants, or just pouring it around the plants undiluted. Today I read some articles that have shown me that much more goes into making worm tea than draining the liquid from the worm bin, so I need to change that practice.

Anyway, back to the subject of how the outside world ends up inside my house. As I looked around my kitchen yesterday I saw:

My worm composting bin with a jar to collect the liquid they produce in addition to the castings.
My worm composting bin with a jar in front to collect the liquid they produce.

Inside the bin are my worm friends and all of their castings.


Novella went dumpster diving to feed her animals. I’ve never done that, but the worms now eat way more than I can give them from my food waste, so I beg grocery stores for some of their damaged or wilting produce. Therefore, I have bags of produce for the worms in my refrigerator. That is certainly not something that would be inside of a “normal” household!



As I continued to look around the kitchen I saw:


Egg shells that I will grind up to put in the worm bins
I recently separated the worms from the compost and took a big box of the compost to the outside shed. This container has some extra compost.
This is a jar of the liquid from the worms; there were four jars there a few days ago. Behind it is the food waste bin. Food I don’t use for the worms goes into the big yard and food waste bin that the city picks up and this container is for that. To the right of it is a jar with some vinegar in it that is used to trap fruit flies that may be in the food waste bin. I have no problem with fruit flies in any part of the vermi-composting processes.
I use a food processor to chop up the food that I put in the worm bins. That really increases the speed of vermi-compost production. Sometimes I also add coffee grounds that my friends give me. The worms really love that!

My outdoor clippers are also in the kitchen at the moment.


I have something new in my kitchen. It will be there until I figure out what to do with it.

Three years ago my dahlia plant was in the back yard. It would grow tall but it only produced one flower a year. That fall, I dug out the tubers and in the spring planted them in two parts of the front yard. What a difference that made! By summertime, the new plants were six feet tall and often had stalks that were more than an inch in diameter. They produced flowers until November, lots of them.

The dahlias have been taking up so much of my garden space, that I decided to dig the tubers out again and give most of them to the neighbors and friends who had asked for them.

So this past Friday my friend Rachael and I set out to accomplish that task. We were amazed at what we found.

Rachael saying “It’s SO big!”

My plan had been to separate the tubers and give them to people right away, but I couldn’t separate them without breaking them. Rachael looked on the internet and discovered they should be placed upside down for a few weeks so that any liquid could drain out and be then stored inside for the winter.

What would I do with them? I decided to put them upside down in a wheelbarrow at first and leave them outside. I put a tarp over them but that night we had a big windstorm and the tarp blew off. And rain was expected for the next day.

So, yes, for the moment the tubers from one of the plants resides in my kitchen. I need to figure out what to do with it.


In my hallway closet, I have two bottles of the diluted vermi-compost liquid. My friend Vince gave me some Coke bottles to put the liquid into. Eventually, this will make it to the outside shed. Next to the bottles are some egg shells that I need to grind up for the worms.


Inside my front door is the room I call the “entry way.” Garden tools often occupy part of that space.


At this point there is also box with a bit of vermi-compost there.


When I brought in the tuber ball from the second plant, it was so big and heavy that the best I could do was get it through the front door. So at this moment, that is where it is living.


I decided to weigh the bundle of tubers so I could share that information in this post. It is almost 30 pounds! In the process of weighing it, I created a mess.


I think I made my point. There is a whole lot of outside, inside my house. It is time for me to finish this post and go clean up the mess in my entry way!



Shared on Senior Salon

Weekly Photo Challenge: Cherry on Top

In the empty lot behind my house there is a four-foot-high mound of yard waste. When I walked down the hill into that lot yesterday, I discovered that mound, and most of the property, is now covered by morning glory vines. I was even more surprised to see two dahlia plants  coming out of the top of the mound!

Seeing the flowers reminded me of this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Cherry on Top. The directions: “This week, share a photo of a detail that makes a good thing even better.” The mound of yard waste is turning into compost, so that is a good thing. And seeing the dahlia plants growing from the top of the yard-waste was like seeing a cherry on top of an ice cream sundae!