Spring, Green and Tiny Things

May 20, 2010 at 11:05 pm | Posted in dirt, gardening | 1 Comment
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It’s the time of the season
When the love runs high
In this time give it to me easy
And let me try with pleasured hands
To take you in the sun to promised lands
To show you everyone
It’s the time of the season for loving…
~Zombies, “Time of the Season”

I think I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again…I love dirt. Instead of moving the 12×4 foot raised garden bed that is kind of totally under a humongous ash tree (yes, last year I built the bed under a shady tree and didn’t realize that the canopy would have a negative effect on growing things!!!), I’m going to plant right in the ground in the sunniest part of the yard. I dug about two feet down and removed tons of debris from the dirt—bricks, pieces of cement, rocks, quartz and filled it with organic dirt that I had delivered from a nearby farm. Within the next two weeks I will plant a variety of heirloom tomato plants and a couple of pepper plants that I’ve had growing since March. I also plan to include a bunch of beets and carrots because I believe they grow well with tomatoes (they’re friends).

As far as what is going in the raised bed under the ash tree—I researched edible plants that do not need direct sunlight and found that most herbs will thrive happily. What music to my ears; I have been planning a medicinal herb garden for some time. In the bed, I planted cilantro and sage (above) and beets and chamomile (below). I also planted basil, parsley, dill, echinacea, onions, leeks, rainbow swiss chard and green beans. I guess you could call that area a medicinal herb garden with a vegetable twist!

Get a load of the lettuce and spinach: Above, before I picked it and below before I devoured it! I heard lettuce and spinach are difficult to grow in the DC climate because our springs are typically brief and the leafy greens prefer a slow, cool and wet spring. Since we’ve had a bit of that mixed with a smattering of heat the greens turned out fabulous, healthy and bountiful. Next year I will plant the entire raised bed with spinach and lettuce to have a whole season of greens.

I am perhaps the most excited about the pea pods that have sprouted. I planted the pea seeds on St. Patrick’s Day, and here we are nearly 60 days on the nose with tons of pods ready to be picked. The plants couldn’t have been easier to grow. They loved the cool weather but also soldiered on during the humid days to produce magnificent pods. Hurray for a great start to a hopefully healthy and abundant season of edibles.

Garden 2010: The garden starts here

March 18, 2010 at 11:03 pm | Posted in gardening | 1 Comment
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In springtime, the only pretty ring time
Birds sing, hey ding
A-ding, a-ding
Sweet lovers love the spring

Well hello there! This year, I’m stepping up my game and planting only non-GMO, open pollinated seeds. I did a little research and found a few seed-Co.’s that meet the criteria: Seed Savers, Victory Seeds and Tomato Fest. I wound up ordering 25 varieties of vegetable and herb seeds from Victory Seeds. Well, as you can see, the seeds arrived and last weekend the planting began!

To get a jump-start on an edible garden, I’m a big fan of starting seeds indoors by using seed starter kits. The kits are very inexpensive, and clean and tidy, plus you can re-use the containers from year-to-year needing only to buy the refills. The kits come with a clear plastic lid that helps keep moisture and heat in, encouraging the seeds to sprout while the days are still chilly. You can pick up the kits at Home Depot or your local gardening store. I have both the Burpee Greenhouse and the Jiffy Greenhouse. I’m happy with both; although maybe the Burpee version a little more because it has more banks for seeds and you don’t necessarily need to buy the refills since you could just use soil (although the refills make it much cleaner).

Once you have all the soil refills in place, you just add (warm) water and watch as they magically puff up. Then add 1-2 seeds per soil space, place the lid on top, and move to a sunny location. Check on the seeds every couple of days to make sure they stay damp.

All three of those containers hold 80 spots for seeds! I planted: black krim, golden striped, and brandywine tomatoes; golden and red peppers; three kinds of beets; swiss chard; echinacea; lavender; chamomile; basil; rosemary; catnip; sage; parsley; and creeping thyme. In two weeks, I will plant three more varieties of tomatoes, more peppers, swiss chard and beets to have a constant flow of veggies all summer. I’m so excited!


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