Monthly Archives: January 2014

Leave a Mark: Creative Ideas for Garden Plant Markers

I’ve reached that critical point: I need to start marking my plants while I still remember what’s what.

I could just label Popsicle sticks, but what fun would that be? Of course, there are plenty of cute products on Etsy, but I don’t want to have to re-order every time I decide to grow something new.

This calls for Pinterest!

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Seeds of Change: Dollar Tree Sells Seed Packs for 25 Cents

At Dollar Tree, it's all about the Washingtons. Credit Dalia Colón.

At Dollar Tree, it’s all about the Washingtons.
Credit Dalia Colón.

There’s a Dollar Tree in the same plaza as my gym. After a sweat session, I can never resist browsing the aisles. (It’s better than treating myself to a giant muffin, am I right?)

Today’s finds: (1) Valentine socks for my daughter and (2) seed packets! Four for $1.

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Queasy Like Sunday Morning: In Need of a Stomach-Soothing Herb

My absolute last resort. Credit pepto-bismol.com.

My absolute last resort. Credit pepto-bismol.com.

Peeps, this may be TMI, but all day I’ve had a rumbly in my tumbly.

You know what I mean. It’s that I-might-throw-up-but-I-really-really-hope-I-don’t feeling. I’ve had it all day, and now that it’s nearly bedtime, I’m so nauseated that I’m afraid to move my head.

And no, I’m not pregnant.

Yes, I’m sure.

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Garden & Gun, Here I Come

Delta had me under the gun, so I ordered this magazine. Credit Amazon.

Delta had me under the gun, so I ordered this magazine. Credit Amazon.

I recently got the following letter from Delta Airlines: Dalia, don’t let your 4,043 miles remain unused.

Mags for Miles. Here we go again.

As a professional travel writer, I realize what a rip-off this is. But as a time-starved mom, I’m tempted to go for the low-hanging fruit. That’s how I wound up subscribing to Essence (even though I can read it at the hairdresser’s), People en Español… and now, Garden & Gun.

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pH Tests Are pHascinating

If only I'd listened more to Mr. Mesh during 11th grade chemistry. Credit wiki.chemprime.chemeddl.org.

If only I’d listened more to Mr. Mesh during 11th grade chemistry. Credit wiki.chemprime.chemeddl.org.

A few years ago, I had to leave work for an emergency eye doctor’s appointment.

My eyes were swollen and red. I could hardly see to drive myself to the doctor’s office. (Oh, the irony…) When I got there, the doctor told me I was allergic to a protein in my contact solution.

I’ll never forget my boss’s response when I relayed this information later that day: “Nothing like putting the allergen directly into your eye!”

In a sense, this is what I’ve been doing to my plants.

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At the End of the Rainbow, There’s a Pot of Chard

This is what I'm supposed to get. Credit reneesgarden.com.

This is what I’m supposed to get. Credit reneesgarden.com.

Whatever the new year’s resolution, “experts” say it’s important to see results early on. That’s what keeps us motivated.

It’s why financial phenom Dave Ramsey advises, “You should pay off the smallest debt first to create the greatest momentum in your debt snowball.” It’s why pop-doc Ian Smith wrote a book about how to drop two sizes in six weeks.

And it’s why I’m planting chard.

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Better Ingredients, Better Plants

I'd better not find any actual frogs in this bag. Credit Dalia Colón.

I’d better not find any actual frogs
in this bag. Credit Dalia Colón.

Chefs are always preaching about quality ingredients.

Use the best olive oil you can afford. Don’t cook with wine you wouldn’t drink. Yadda, yadda, yadda.

So when my co-worker/gardening guru Bryan told me I wasn’t doing my plants any favors by using Miracle-Gro soil, I knew he had a point.

Nothing against Miracle-Gro, but it’s sort of the cooking wine of the plant world. It’s just… aight.

A plant is like a dish with only a few ingredients — soil, water, nutrients, sunlight — so every ingredient has to bring its A-game.

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Strawberry Fields Forever… or It Would’ve Been, if Not for the Kind Stranger with the Tow Truck

Immediately after I snapped this photo, drama ensued. Dalia Colón.

Immediately after I snapped this photo,
drama ensued. Dalia Colón.

This was supposed to be a sweet little story about a Sunday drive with my daughter.

But you know what they say about best-laid plans.

After church today, Norah refused to go down for her nap. So I figured, It’s a gorgeous day. Let’s get out of the house.

Norah likes is obsessed with strawberries, and so I decided to check out Parksdale Market. It’s a popular farmer’s market in the strawberry mecca of Plant City, Florida. Hubby stayed back to watch football and fold laundry.

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Creature Discomforts: What’s the Strangest Critter You’ve Encountered in Your Garden?

Okay, so the lizard wasn't exactly Godzilla. Credit forbes.com.

Okay, so the lizard wasn’t exactly Godzilla. Credit forbes.com.

Thank God this polar vortex business is over.

A few days ago, it was warm enough for me to remove our potted plants from the living room and return them to the outdoors.

As I reached for the first bougainvillea, I noticed a slender brown lizard clinging to the plant, giving me the side eye.

Now, living in Florida, I know a thing or two about coexisting with the animal kingdom.

But still. I’m not a big fan of creatures in my house.

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No Kidding: Keeping Children Occupied Is Key for Gardening Parents

Chalk it up to childhood. Credit Dalia Colón.

Chalk it up to childhood. Credit Dalia Colón.

Yesterday after work, I decided to practice my new pruning skills.

To keep Norah occupied, I brought out some sidewalk chalk (shout-out to Dollar Tree), a banana, random party beads, her sippy cup full of water and the holy grail of toddler occupiers — my iPhone.

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