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Archive for the ‘An Edible Garden for All Seasons’ Category

I am in a bit of shock, although I’m not sure whether it is good shock or bad shock. On Sunday, while we were out, a hail storm hit. I spent the entire time worrying and praying, because I had left my seedlings outside, thinking that it was only going to be a steady rain (as reported by weather.com). Hubby and I were sitting in Barnes and Noble when the storm came rolling through, and he was kind enough to offer to drive back home in the midst of torrential down pours. As much as it pained me, I said no. The damage was probably already done. There was no reason to risk driving in such weather, when it would take 15 minutes to get home, and by that time the worst of the storm would have past.

Now, I’m not a mother but it felt like I was letting my poor little babies down; leaving them out there to suffer without my protection was hard. That some how they couldn’t survive without me.

Fortunately, the only thing that was damaged was some of the basil (of which I grew a ton extra), a couple tomato plants, and a few flowers. All’s well that ends well, as they say. But I’m still having a hard time grasping how so many little baby seedlings survived such a strong storm. I think that I have a tendency to forget how strong nature can be.

Drama, Drama, Drama:

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Today started off pretty boring, the weather was gloomy and I wasn’t sure what to do next. Then all of the sudden, out pops the sun. It is now about 70 degrees and blue skies, in other words, perfect gardening weather.

While surrounded by all this splendor, I planted my sweet peas, long beans (a wonderful Chinese vegetable), and regular string beans. Hopefully we won’t get too sick of all these beans, but peas are hubby’s favorite and green beans are mine. Days like today make me very anxious for the first harvest. I can’t wait to start eating fresh vegetables straight from the garden.

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For wonderful ways to eat the veggies you already have:

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I love when things all seem to work out for a reason.  A couple weeks ago, I left my seedlings outside to get some sun, and by the time I got back, the temperature had dropped significantly.  A few days later, I noticed that some of the leaves seemed to be damaged.

I did a bunch of research on what cold damaged tomato leaves would look like, and couldn’t find much specific to my situation; but in my research, I came across a photo of what happened to one of my tomato plants last year.  This was very good, because it turns out what I thought was aphid damage really was verticillium wilt which is a fungus that lives in the soil.  I discovered this in time to avoid planting in the affected containers, and now have to disinfect them and throw out the old soil before putting my new seedlings outside.  This is a major pain, because I am not sure how it got into my garden in the first place, so I am not sure how many of the pots need to be started over again.  That being said, I am glad to be doing this work now as opposed to later after all my tomatoes have died.

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This morning, I woke up and fixed myself a lovely breakfast. My chives and oregano are already growing like crazy, and I decided to cut a bit to put into some very exceptional scrambled eggs. I think that the plants that I love most in my edible garden are those that are the most self-sufficient. Last year, I planted rosemary, oregano, and chives, and like clockwork they started shooting up again a couple weeks ago when the weather started to turn.

I think that I might do some research into other edible perennials. It never really occurred to me exactly how wonderful it would be to have fresh food that involves minimal fuss and only a one-time investment. This is making me wish that I had the space for fruit trees and berry bushes.

If anyone knows of any other good edible perennials, I would greatly appreciate the advice.

For more on the joys of edible patio gardening:

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Today I woke up to a lovely surprise: almost all of my seedlings are up, with cute little leaves. I feel like a new mother counting all their fingers and toes. Darling little seedlings really do have that new-baby feel to them. They are small and cute and seem to struggle to get towards food (the sun). They look so fresh and sweet.

Here’s a picture, so that you too can enjoy that little-seedling feeling.

More Seedlings

For more on my babies:

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Every morning, the first thing that I do after stumbling out of bed is to check my seedlings. I love the anticipation of when the first seedling is going to sprout. Of course the seed packets tell us how many days to expect before germination, but I have a hard time believing them. What if I didn’t water enough, what if I watered too much? It’s been cloudy, what if they don’t have enough sun? Is my window too drafty?

Of course, life always seems to find a way, and eventually the seedlings do too. Today I woke up to the lovely sight of a couple seedlings struggling to peep out of the dirt.

First seedling of 2008

For more on the joys and tribulations of my garden:

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Today, I started my first batch of seedlings.  Ironic, as we had snow last night and are going to have another snow/ice storm tonight.  But there’s only 8 weeks left until the last expected frost date, and I can play it a bit risky since my garden is strictly in containers, so I can pull them inside if need be.

Today’s planting included:

  • “Sun Gold” Cherry Tomatoes – A hybrid, unfortunately, but from a reputable company called Botanical Interests.  According to them, this is one of their best selling tomato seeds.  I lucked out, it was in the 50 cent bin of last year’s seeds, but the package says 2008 (I didn’t notice until I brought them home).  These are usually pretty expensive, $3.00 for one packet, so hopefully they are as good as the advertising says they are.
  • Sweet Basil
  • “San Marzano” Pole Tomatoes – Not on sale, but I’m still excited!  These are going to hopefully make wonderful pasta sauces.  The company seems very reputable.  They advertise 100% organically grown, and 100% open-pollinated.  This means that if I really like them, then I can save the seeds myself for next year.
  • Broccoli
  • Savory – Also from Botanical Interests, but this variety is an heirloom seed, so I may try to save this one as well.  If you have never cooked with savory, you really should try it.  The name perfectly matches the taste, I especially like using it in potpies as it really helps to deepen the flavor of the cooking liquids.
  • Rosemary – Another heirloom seed by Botanical Interests.
  • Coreopsis – According to Botanical Interests, this easy to grow flower has continuous blooms throughout summer, strong stems for cut flowers, they attract butterflies, and the flowers are edible!  What’s not to like?  They recommend starting these directly outside, but since it says that they can also be started inside, I figure I’ll give a couple a try to get a head start.  I can’t wait for my colorful summer salads!

Seed Starting 2008

For more to get you into the gardening mood:

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