Friday, February 24

A Few Thoughts on Gardening

This will begin another subject here on TSJ. As you may have guessed from my regular diatribes against the evil rats-with-bushy-tails (see here and here), I putter around my garden during the warmer months.

I have little experience in this endeavor, and thus far, very little actual edible foodstuffs have been produced by my little patch of tilled earth in the backyard. Of course, most of the fault behind that lack of production can be sourced to my friends Chip and Dale.

However, this post is not about that subject. I would like to discuss a mistake I made; namely planting too early. Hopefully it will serve as a cautionary tale for any other budding urban gardeners reading these words.

This year, I thought I would get a jump on the season and start my vegetables from seeds, grown in little plastic tubs in the windowsill, covered with saran-wrap to make little greenhouses. I bought the little cardboard pots, and planted the seeds about two weeks ago.

Unfortunately, the radishes are already about 8 inches tall. You can practically watch them grow they move so fast. The Swiss Chard is about the same. Even most of the tomatoes are at least 1-2 inches tall.

It is only February. I started way too early. Next year, I am not going to start the seeds until March.

To keep the plants from dying, I am going to start transplanting them into larger plastic pots which I will put in the windowsill. With enough TLC, hopefully I can keep them going indoors until Memorial Day, when I plan to stick them in the terra firma.

Anyway, the planned crop this year consists of carrots, celery, swiss chard, radishes, pumpkins and (of course) lots of different varieties of tomatoes. In separate pots, I will also grow the various herbs I use to putter around the kitchen. This year, those pots will contain cilantro, flat-leaf and Italian parsley, a couple different varieties of basil, dill, oregano and mint.


a-fire-fly said...

My mom has a tomato plant that she has been harvesting fresh tomaotes off of all winter. She has it on her windowsill, in a big pot.
You should be able to keep most of them going till time to plant outside. (But ya know if you look on the packages most radishes only take about 30 day till harvest!)
I have a HUGE mint patch in my flower bed-I transplanted it with due consideration for mortaliy and had none! I don't have room for a real garden, so I just plant stuff in my flowerbeds.

Justin said...

Be careful with the dill and cilantro, if they go to seed they'll take over your whole yard. I've tried all sorts of garden ideas, the best suggestion I can offer is to keep it simple. These days I usually plant a couple things that pretty much grow by themselves, carrots, radishes, ect. Along with a big patch of corn, I really like corn, and as long as you water it plenty and can keep the darn earwigs out of it it's pretty self sufficient. I've got a big patch of winter onions in my backyard as well, I pick a bunch but always leave some to go to seed so they'll come back on their own the next year, zero maintenance except for picking a few weeds out of their way. I like tomatoes too but I've never been able to get the darn things to grow for me. We're planning on a big garden this year, two or three of them actually so we'll see what happens. Good luck with the agriculture Aaron. For me there's few things as satisfying as eating food that I produced myself, whether it be from gardening or hunting or fishing or scrounging for wild berries or asparagus. I haven't got the guts to try looking for my own mushrooms yet, with my luck I'd find the ones that make you see pink elephants, or worse. ;)

Treasure State Jew said...

Thanks! I keep the herbs in a separate pot, on the back deck, except for the mint. For the mint, I sunk a terra-cotta pot in the garden and planted the mint in that pot. Gotta have the big, bushy mint for the juleps, of course.

For the garden, I took about an 15 foot square area of backyard, leveled it off and brought in some good dirt and manure. I also installed a small drip irrigation system. Really, pretty easy to do. I can post specs if anyone is interested.

Last year, I planted lots of tomatoes, some kohlrabi, some pumpkin and some squash. Largely because of the drip system, everything did very well. As it turned out, however, all I really planted was squirrel food.

We will see if we get more luck this year.

Justin said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Justin said...

Hey Aaron, I just remembered something that might help with your squirrel problem! Go to a beauty shop and ask them if they have any bags of hair clippings that you can have, usually they've got big Hefty bags full of the stuff. Take the hair and scatter it all around the outside of your garden, and put down fresh stuff every week or two. I don't know for sure if it works for squirrels, but I've used it for deer and rabbits before and it worked pretty good. Now that I don't have a dog anymore I'd do well to remember all of these little tricks, I'm probably going to need them without him to keep the critters run out of the yard.