As an effort to save money on fresh vegetables, I am attempting to grow my own veg from home. Together, with my little ones, I have seeded tomatoes, basil, and carrots. While we also seeded sunflower seeds and corn, that job was really left up to my kids. Which means that somewhere in the middle of my lawn, a tiny little sunflower plant is preparing itself for the world above, unaware of the impending lawnmower blade. Alas, what can I do?
I still need to
have my husband till that little semi circle in the foreground of the picture above-I may seed more carrots or possibly even watermelon in that spot (if it isn’t too late for watermelon).
Here is my current progress-like anyone new to gardening, I am anxious to document what each new sproutling looks like when it first emerges. I don’t want to make the mistake of pulling a vegetable and keeping a weed
like the ragweed I mistanly identified as an herb, and pampered to life in spite of my growing allergies. Hubby got a kick outta that one.
Here are my baby basil! The Basil clump to the left features what I like to call “kissy-lip leaves” (the initial leaves that first emerge). In the upper right hand corner, you will see a single basil plant with its first set of
adorably tiny basil leaves. I’m going to have to thin these out pretty soon.
None of my carrot seeds have emerged yet, but I planted them about 9 days ago the day after planting my Arbor Day trees. Mr Cat is in the half circle where my new carrot patch will be (previously they had been planted in the long strip to the left of the patio). He’s quite fond of that half-circle.
I didn’t even know these purple flower topped fellows were chives until an internet search this year. I found them growing wild in the grass last year, and they never flowered. This year I am inspired to plant them in with my flower garden-I had no idea they were so lovely!
Speaking of lettuce, here are my little ones! The boys planted these . . . I want to say three weeks ago? I can’t remember when I need to reseed, but those are totally going into the flower garden-mainly because I no longer have room in the patio containers.
My baby tomatoes initially had only the longer leaves you see there on the sides. Again, I am new to this gardening experience, but I did remember this from last year, and the secondary leaves confirmed that this is, indeed, tomato. That, and apparently most vegetable plans have tiny hairs on the stem (which these have). Last year I bought two tomato plants, and seeded two tomato plants. This year I am trying them all by seed-not only is it cheaper, but I won’t have to deal with a plant that is stressed out (it was pretty warm this time last year, and my nursery plants all experienced stress).
The peppers are harder to identify. I placed three Cayenne in a pot, and I think that’s what these are? Does anyone know? I don’t want to get halfway through the summer only to find out I have been watering a maple tree (sadly, it wouldn’t be the first time).
Take that back-maple trees are pretty obvious (I should know that by now)! But you
hopefully know what I mean.
Last year I was able to seed some thai peppers from a stock of thai peppers my husband bought from the Asian store. They had been in the freezer for three years, and the seeds were (remarkably), still good! I tried this year, and something is coming up . . . well, two somethings. I’m not sure which is the thai pepper (I suspect the darker, pointy leaved specimen).
Since we didn’t have enough cilantro last year, I decided to plant more. My carrot crop was sufficient for our needs (we still have plenty of freezer stock), so I have planted the cilantro where the carrots were last year. When cilantro first comes up, it looks like voluntary grass sprouts, but wait a week or so and you will see the immature cilantro leaves emerge as the second set of leaves (or the first set of true leaves).
Last year’s garden was a semi-success. Nothing really matured well, and I have spent the winter investigating my potential failures. I think I have it down to two things:
First, I never fertilized anything, so my plants were starving for nutrients. I didn’t know at the time that container plants suffered from lack of nutrition.
Second, my containers had 2-3 different kinds of plants in them, packed very tightly with other, larger plants. My tomatoes were neighbors with four onions and four cilantro. In a small 2’x 2′ container. With no extra nutrition. And those cilantro got tall. And very spindly.
I also had onions in with everything else. They gave me a lot of sparse leafy growth, and were great as a substitute for chives. But my onions never “grew up”. Since they wintered well in the ground, I left them there and just rearranged them this year.
To make up for my mistakes, I am only plant one of each kind of plant in the large round and square pots, keeping the onion plants out of the pots altogether. They don’t need to be there.
I also placed fertilizer spikes in everything-the pots and the ground. Next year I won’t be pregnant, so I look forward to tilling in some peat moss, vermiculite, and cow manure to loosen up the clay soil. But for now? This is the best I can do.
Another gifted plant is this Egyptian Walking Onion. I had to look up his name because the previous owner didn’t know it, but it wasn’t hard to do-this unique plant grows another set of onions on its head. The weight eventually pulls the seed pod down, and it drops into the ground, “walking” its way into a slow spread throughout the growing area. Pretty neat, huh?
Also, I don’t think these guys are in any way genetically modified.
How is your garden doing? Do you have any tips you’d like to share with me? Trade gardening secrets you’d be willing to pass on? I would love to hear from you!