Friday, May 22, 2009
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Now It Feels Like Spring!
I actually have a plan for the food part of the garden. I had a bit of practice helping my neighbor, Deb, get a the flowers she bought into the ground. I counted 'em up when I was done, and I must've planted at least 55 plants myself, and all in about an hour. There's a shot below, all dumped in by me (oh, except the back row and the plants under the trellis).
My most exciting plants are the tomatoes, and there are many of them back there. I have some very young cherry tomatoes that I grew from seeds; they are supposed to grow in clusters, like grapes. (So why aren't they called grape tomatoes?) They are the tiniest and have to stay in the pot awhile longer before they can go in the dirt. They are in the smaller of the two terra cotta pots. Also, there are three plants that my friend, Joe, gave me, but I have no idea what kind of tomatoes they are. So they are dubbed The Surprise Tomatoes, which are in the larger terra cotta pot. The small green pot has only one grape tomato plant that I bought from the New Pioneer Co-Op, but it has gotten big very quickly. The gigantic pot holds Deb's t'maters which she bought as actual plants. This means that we should have a steady influx of tomatoes all summer if we play our cards right. They are going to live in the southern end of the garden, since that's where they'll get the most sun. I'd also like a roma plant, in case any one has any snippets they could send my way.......
I gave them the t'maters their first dose of plant food today. Being a novice I went to Ace Hardware and asked one of the ladies that worked there what food worked well with little fuss and they recommended Jobe's fertilizer spikes. You just shove these little suckers into the soil and water it, and !Viola! you have 8 weeks of munchies for the plants. Now that I have done that, I am wishing I had done a little research on what all is in this stuff, since I am shoving it into my food pots. I may have to do a whole post on how to grow a small-scale organic garden. I DO have an organic pesticide spray formula that is so easy I am skeptical to see it work.
Organic Pesticide Recipe.......way too easy......
In an empty spray bottle mix:
*2 cups water
*1 cup castille (veggie-based) soap, Like Dr. Bronner's Liquid Soap
* 3 peeled garlic cloves.
Let sit for a half-hour before using and shake it up a bit before each use. Don't get it on your hands or you'll smell like garlic all day. This will keep the bugs off but it won't harm your food (which you should be washing anyway - I use castille soap for that sometimes, too)
I read that lettuce does not root very deep, so it's ideal to grow in a container. My mother gave me some organic field green lettuce seeds and I tossed 'em into a pot that Deb loaned for the project. Behold! I have lettuce coming up. I originally had the box sitting up at the front of the house where there is no fence, and I sprayed it with the above mentioned bug spray and it seemed to keep the rabbits away as well. I didn't want to push my luck, though, so I put it back in the friendly confines of the chicken-wire fence.
There is also a giant pot of eggplant plants, and snap peas, which surprisingly, I don't have shots of right now. Deb has more mature plants growing, and mine are babies, from seeds. This is the second attempt at snap peas for me, but the sprouts are already looking better than the first attempt. Though they are smaller, they seem to have twice as many leaves as the indoor ones had at the beginning. This is proof that you can't duplicate the magic of real sunlight.
There is a strawberry plant hanging from the tree right now, but Deb and I agree, it will do better in the ground. I am already fantasizing about fat summer strawberries.
Let me not forget the lemon tree, which, yes, goes back inside for the Iowa winter. We already have lemons growing, for you skeptics out there.....
And, lastly, for now, the box o herbs! This is another joint effort between Deb & I consisting of dill, basil, cilantro, and, uh, I can't remember what else. You'll have to scrutinize the photo to figure it out.
When the sun started to set, and my back was aching a little, I cleaned up and started a fire in the ceramic pit behind the house. Chico and I sat out there for awhile taking in the sounds of frogs coming from the river
and, oh, the crickets are back and gaining their voices.
I look a little evil in this photo, and the fire isn't hurting that either. Alas, I am not the devil. Just a girl learning how to sustain herself.