I tried gardening once before – in the summer of 2008. Which also coincides with the summer Miss A was born. Which means that my poor plants ended up pretty much neglected, and for the most part died.
This year, I’m determined to make it work! We highly value fresh produce & organic eating (when we can) in this family, and growing our own vegetables seems like a great way to save some money, while knowing exactly what we are eating – plus it’s so satisfying, conveninent (once it’s grown and right in your backyard), eco-friendly, and a great value to pass on to our children.
So, I’ve been reading up on it, I planned a raised bed plot, I got some seeds. My original plan for our backyard was to have 2 raised beds: one rectangular where I would plant tomatoes + basil (I heard it was good for the tomatoes!), carrots (which are also apparently good to combine with tomatoes, even though you might get slightly smaller carrots), and romaine lettuce (an easy grow, plus the allure of fresh lettuce leaves all summer is tempting); and one circular where I planned to plant some rhubarb (a perennial plant that keeps growing with minimal care – perfect! And so YUM). I need to wait until the last frost date to plant most of my stuff, which is pretty much now, but I could have probably planted the rhubarb earlier, as it loves the spring cold for it’s roots… But I haven’t yet prepared the beds (I just have the bricks set but I still need to dig up the grass in the beds!), and I think my rhubarb bulbs died. 😦
Garden 1, Me 0.
My little raised beds, awaiting completion
We also went to a playdate on Earth Day (April 22nd) and did a seed planting craft (A loved filling the egg carton with dirt! I pretty much had to do the rest when the play kitchen got more interesting.) The seeds planted include a mix of snapdragons, some “ladybug” tomatoes (not quite sure what the ladybug part means, there’s a ladybug on the package my friend got! I guess they are seeds aimed at kids 🙂 ), and some pumpkin seeds. I’m definitely looking forward to some yummy pumpkin this fall!!
A is rocking the egg carton filling
And then, that same weekend (April 24th), a neighbourhood mom, who’s a gardener extraordinare, offered to host a little Q&A afternoon, and even hooked us up with some seed. She gave us some peat pellets to plant the seeds in (I’m only and always using those form now on – how convenient!), and had a host of seeds available. I chose to plant some Tiny Tim tomatoes (a cherry tomato type), asparagus (which will actually start producing edible veggies in 2-3 years, but then it’s a perennial!), peas, corn (!), sunflowers (my favourite flower ever) and Mesclum mix (more lettuce!). She gave us some good tips to get started, such as to cover the seeds with saran wrap for eat until they sprouted, how to spray water, and sent us on our way.
The gang on May 2nd
May 2nd - Tiny Snapdragon sprouts on the left!
And wow – the seeds are actually sprouting and GROWING! I must be doing SOMETHING right 🙂 All the seeds I planted in the peat pellets are doing a-awesome, and I have quite a few pumpkin seeds, Ladybug tomatoes, and snapdragons that sprouted as well. I got a bit of mold on my corn pellets, but my friend mentioned that I could gently scoop it out, let it dry, and re-water, and if it came back, to spray with very diluted dish soap and water and that should take care of it. And it did, for the most part. I had tiny bits again this morning but I scooped it out – and the seeds seem unaffected! I had a natural soap solution a neighbour gave me to try on hand – Pink Solution, apparently you can do anything and everything with it, and it’s all natural – so I used that to spray the mold.
May 6th - It's growing!
So this is where I’m at – incomplete raised bed awaiting carrots, basil and romaine lettuce planting, and a bunch of sprouts on my window silt. Not bad! I am planning on using the May long weekend to do some raised bed prep and perhaps planting, and will inquire as to the readiness of my sprouts for transplanting also. My friend mentioned they needed to be stronger, although they are getting quite tall! I think I will mostly do containers for those plants for now, until I figure a more permanent plot out. Plus, it will be handy to move them around if needed. Especially the huge corn plants… in our fairly tiny backyard… My neighbours (with also fairly tiny backyards) will love me 🙂 (or maybe they will – fresh corn anyone?)
May 11th - Corn & Peas on the right, Sunflowers & Mesclum on the left
May 11th - Tomatoes in the back, with tiny asparagus sprouts out front
May 11th - Pumpkin sprouts
Garden 1, Me 1 🙂