June 14, 2013

Gardening 3.0

Strawberries in a hanging basket
Third time is a charm, hopefully!  For the past 3 years, I have attempted to- and blogged about- my gardening efforts.  The first summer, we were still down South and my husband had constructed beautiful cedar raised beds.  This post is one from that summer: Gardening 1.0 and there were a few others, including This One and That One.  Ultimately, the beds and plants were a roaring success until (I think) raccoons figured out how to cut the netting and they looted the joint.  Sigh.  But, we did get some lovely fava beans, peas, lemon cucumbers (a favorite of mine), a few beautiful, delicious tomatoes and some lovely fresh herbs.  The next summer, I don't know why I thought I could have a newborn and a garden- I put things on a screened in porch and they didn't get enough light and never really came along...  And truthfully I was much more focused on napping whenever I could, since baby #2 was a really, really bad sleeper!!!  Sigh.

This year's container gardening

Fast forward to this summer!  At about 10 1/2 months, baby girl started sleeping through the night.  I felt like a new woman!  All things suddenly seemed possible.  It is absolutely amazing how much sleep deprivation can affect you.  As I sometimes like to tell people, 'hey, it's a legitimate form of torture!'  Ah, but we do it for such sweet little babies.

Blooms on a red habanero pepper plant

Well- I am trying again- there's no stopping me, I tell you.  As I mentioned, we are renting our current house, and so I wanted to do everything in containers so we don't ruin any of the landscaping.  So, we have a little stone patio and I have put planters out there where they can get enough sun.  I tried to germinate seeds, and this was not as successful as it's been in the past- but I was using seeds from 2010 and 2011, so that could be a significant reason why.  Forgetting about them for longer than I should could also be relevant...  Anyway- what that means for this year is that I have primarily bought plants.

Blooms on a Cherokee purple tomato plant

This is a new step for me, because I really enjoyed growing my garden from seeds in 2011.  Primarily because that meant I could get exactly what I wanted- and that was very special and many heirloom varieties, from Botanical Interests.  The reason I like this company so much is that they seem to know what I want- varieties of tomatoes that are heirloom and authentic, and vegetable and fruit varieties that aren't widely available- as an example check out true cantaloupes.  But- as I perused the plants in the Whole Foods parking lot one day, I was delighted to discover that with a little digging around, I COULD actually find many of the plants (but not all) that I truly wanted!  Tomato varieties like Green Zebra, Cherokee Purple   and San Marzano.  In addition to these tomatoes, I bought golden bell pepper plants, red habanero plants, flat leaf parsley, chives, rosemary, mint and basil.  That should keep me from having to buy fresh herbs for a while, right?

Here's to hoping :)  Regardless of the gardening outcome- I will celebrate what victories I can- the basil and mint were used recently in this Tabbouleh recipe.  I should qualify something I said earlier- I am attempting to grow two things from seeds, and this is a new group for me, edible flowers.  I am growing Pansies and Nasturtiums.  However, I'm not really following the directions strictly, so who knows if they'll ever come up. If they don't, I'll just go buy more herbs.

Filling the containers with dirt, planting the plants, and watering them is something your kids can help with- and I think it's really positive for them to start to understand where their food comes from.  Although my son is a little picky in the eating department right now, he takes an interest in the plants and when I take off a mint leaf for him to smell, he willingly tastes it- which I don't think would happen if I tried to do that with store bought mint.  The baby and I eat the strawberries.  

Handsome mint plant

Happy gardening!

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