Monday, April 5, 2010

Farm and Garden

Reasons why I want to grow vegetables:
1. we have a huge back yard
2. produce apparently grows really well here year-round
3. I'm tired of paying like $9 for a head of lettuce

Luckily for us, the previous owners of our house built a fenced in area in the back yard for their dogs that will serve as the perfect enclosed garden to keep our dog out! The Portly Groundskeeper was nice enough to build me some raised planters for the garden area back in March, and I've finally started a few crops!

I have peas and onions in the big box, with room for tomatoes, cucumbers, and carrots now that the weather is warmer. Actually, we had about 8 days of Spring and now it's in the 80s and 90s, so I better plant the others soon!

In my herb garden I've got oregano (ore-gaah-no if you're British), parsley, and basil. They're all doing fairly well, but not growing as fast as I'd like, because I really want to be that person who cooks with home-grown herbs.

And lastly, I planted two blueberry bushes. The tags on the blueberry bushes say that it's best to plant two separate species next to each other to promote cross-pollination, and therefore a better crop. These aren't looking so healthy right now because our soil is so dense with clay that the roots may not be getting enough air and drainage. I should have requested a third raised bed before the builder's back went out making the other two!

I did try to plant some lettuce back in March. Because the weather wasn't quite warm enough then, I started them in a little starter-kit you can buy at the local garden store (Lowe's for me). The starter-kit has 50 little dehydrated pellets of pitch, each in its own little circle-compartment, on a single tray. You're supposed to water the pitch to make them grow an inch or two, then bury the seeds into the raised dirt. You keep the whole tray in indirect sunlight inside the house so it stays warm, and a few days later you've got sprouts! Once it's warm enough outside you can transplant the pellets and seeds to the ground. This is why you see little white baggy-looking things around the herb plants.

I followed these directions, but maybe I put too many seeds in each dirt pellet, or maybe the transfer was too traumatic. Whatever the case, only two lettuce sprouts survived the transfer into the ground, and it's doing alright so far. Next time I will be patient and plant seeds directly into the ground so as to avoid transfer trauma!

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