Saturday, March 16, 2013

Gardening Update!

I've been meaning to write this post for a week but just haven't.  I don't even know why, but I'm glad I waited, because there's so much more to show you!

A couple weeks ago, I had a rough day.  I had an unpleasant run-in with another quilter and work was tedious.  I came home to find our beautiful greenhouse, which housed my baby seedlings (which weren't growing--so depressing), completely toppled over thanks to a wind advisory.  I took a deep breath, made Nick clean up the wreckage with me, and decided to have BBQ that night instead of whatever I'd originally planned.  It was a much-needed break, despite my rule to eat at home on the weekdays.  It was also a blessing: my seedlings weren't going to grow, as sad as that made me, because I'd overwatered them.  It was a chance to start over!

But I tend to be negative, so I wallowed for a few hours.  The next morning I shook it off, ordered some seedlings from Burpee to replace the ones I lost, and went on with my day.

Last weekend was the first really beautiful weekend since we've moved here.  Spring has sprung in the Queen City, despite a sometimes-chilly breeze, and Nick and I were set on working outside a little bit (thanks to the magic of Zyrtec and OTC decongestant).  I had lots of bulbs to plant and he was going to try his own hand at seedlings to make up for what I'd lost.

And oh!  What did we find?  Radishes!

This was the scene last week.  We planted the radishes and carrots in a pot together--we're using containers for everything due to our rental status--and peas and beets in two other pots.  There weren't any peas or beets yet, but that didn't stop me from practically peeing my pants with delight!

I've been checking in throughout the week, usually in the afternoon when we get home from work.  The radishes have gone from that tiny sprout above, to this... this!

I'm so proud!  I tell them everyday I love them and I'm so happy and my neighbors give me weird looks, I'm sure.  But I don't care!

These radishes couldn't be any cuter.
Radishes mature in under 35 days, and tomorrow will be day 21.  We're zeroing in on primetime, people!  Just as a note, I planted Easter Egg and French Breakfast radishes.  I also have some teeny tiny carrot sprouts, but they take closer to 55 days.  I planted Cosmic Purple and Parisian carrots.

Behold!  I have peas and beets sprouting too!


I planted Chioggia beets, which will have pink and white stripes on the inside, when cut.  I've actually never eaten a beet before, but my mom loves them and Kelby has recently tried them, so I'm excited to do the same!

My peas are Green Arrow heirlooms, which are normally small and don't typically need trellising for the vines.  I'm prepared to buy a trellis if it looks like they're going to grow larger, but for now I'm trusting in the description.

Tiny pea shoots!
You may be asking yourself, why are there bamboo skewers in Emily's pots?  That's a good question.  While we don't have squirrels, we have a fair amount of feral cats and one obnoxious chihuahua who like to enter our yard at-will.  In fact, the day Jesse and I planted the seeds you see above, the radishes and carrots were torn apart by one of the aforementioned assholes and I was afraid nothing would grow.  Well, obviously things are growing, but there's no rhyme or reason anymore.  So I came up with a pretty decent solution: I lay tomato cages over the entire pot, and the bamboo skewers keep them from rolling off!  I'm really cheap and already had the supplies, and so far, everything has been okay.

I did mention Nick is still using the greenhouse, mostly when we're at work and at night.  He planted catnip, basil, cilantro, and some peppers.  The kid has a green thumb: everything has tiny sprouts!  I'm so proud of him.  Nick was eating Lunchables daily when we met, so he's come a long way.

I promise there's a sprout in there somewhere.
I also mentioned we planted bulbs!  I bought ranunculus, anemones, begonias, Lily of the valley, tulips (well, my aunt bought me those) (thanks TT!), and peonies.  And away they went!  The two smallest pots on the end are for Jesse; I planted her a mix of tulips, ranunculus, and anemone.  Thanks to Pinterest I learned you can layer the bulbs, so hopefully that's true and none are suffocating in there.  I'm not as confident in the bulbs as I am in vegetables, mostly because they're making pretty little progress, but I can only do my best.  I'll also probably give them a few seasons, because I did a late planting and because I'll be sad if they don't bloom.

The tiny garden!
In April, it'll be time to plant cucumbers, tomatoes, watermelon, pumpkins, more flowers, and peppers.  I'll also plant herbs.  Like I said, everything will be in a container, so be prepared for some weirdness, neighbors.

The cats are loving the warm weather: we leave the windows open and they're more than happy to guard our plants!

I can't remember if I've noted this, but...

  • I've bought all my seeds from Urban Farmer, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, Baker Creek, and Burpee.  I also purchased my seedlings from Burpee.  Everything is organic and/or heirloom, and nothing is GMO. My bulbs came from Bulbs Direct, which was totally affordable, considering they were shipped from the Netherlands, or Home Depot.
  • I'm growing everything organically, from the potting soil to the fertilizer.  However, I've been using plastic pots, because my aunt pointed out they'll be a bitch to water in the summer in terra cotta, which is super porous.  I've been looking into Smart Pots for future use--any recommendations?
  • Two books that got me through this process: You Grow Girl by Gayla Trail (awesome blog, too) and Grow, Cook, Eat by Willi Galloway.  I can't recommend them enough.  I've been reading Heirloom Gardener magazine and Organic Gardening magazine, as well as Southern Living and Better Homes and Gardens.  All can be found at your local Barnes and Noble, which is where I found them!
  • My aunt, cousin, and mother have been tremendous helps--thanks to all of you!  I'll share my crops if you're lucky (and if I only have to drive 20 minutes, so it looks like Jesse will get the most benefits).
I'm not an expert but I'm having a lot of fun learning about gardening!  It's amazing how happy I am just from some seeds and dirt.  Leave me some gardening love!

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