Tomato and Basil

My balcony is thriving! Well, almost thriving. I’ve got some dying succulents – they hate being indoors, they hate being outdoors – a Tigerella tomato plant that’s about to outgrow its terracotta planter, and newly planted Amethyst Improved basil.

My tomato plant was generously gifted by a coworker. After successfully growing Czech’s Plant tomatoes last year, I decided a bigger plant couldn’t be too different. To anyone hesitant to grow tomatoes – they are easier than you think.

Tigerella is also known as Mr. Stripey. How cute is that?

I never knew basil came in purple! It’s going to look beautiful on a plate of striped tomatoes and fresh mozzarella. Unfortunately, it turns brownish gray when cooked or processed, making sauces look unappetizing. I guess I’ll have to buy the green variety if I want fresh pesto.

Growing produce is fun and easy in small doses, but it definitely gives me a new appreciation for farmers. Hungry for more agricultural knowledge? The Real Dirt on Farmer John is an excellent documentary about the struggles that come with farming and why we should join a local CSA.


Coping with Carpet

There isn’t much I dislike about my apartment, but I loathe the carpeting. I hate vacuuming with our heavy old Dirt Devil, and I can think of a million things I’d rather buy than a fancy new Dyson. I hate that a small amount of mud can be ground into the floor so easily and be so difficult to scrub out. And call me a country bumpkin, but I hate the idea of asking people to take off their shoes when entering our home. Cramping our friends’ style just isn’t our style. If this apartment was instead our house, I would be saving up for hardwoods. But when replacing it isn’t an option, there are some ways to make up for boring beige carpet:

  • Dress up your windows! Putting in curtains is always a great idea, but especially when the floor is ho-hum. Curtains don’t have to be bright or patterned to draw attention and there are lots of affordable options.

  • Invest in quality furniture. Distraction is key. If your furniture looks nice, it doesn’t really matter what’s on the floor.
  • Hang pictures or removable wallpaper. I love the decals at Blik, and Sherwin Williams is a decent source for temporary wallpaper.

  • Don’t put a rug on it! Rugs draw attention to the floor and bunch up under furniture. Covering ugly carpet with a nice rug seems like the obvious choice, but you’re better off investing in wall decor.
  • Clean early and often. If the carpet isn’t new, make sure it has been professionally cleaned before you move in. Vacuuming regularly is a must. And talk to your landlord about how often they plan on having the carpet cleaned.

How do you deal with apartment carpet woes? Cover it, distract from it, or learn to love it?

(Images: Click linked photos for full image credits.)