Monday, May 14, 2012

green acres

i may have mentioned that i've started a garden this year.  we had a patch of azalea's out back, right up against the house that the boychik was kind enough to rip out for me earlier, and since then i've planted a variety of things.  here is what i've learned so far, in handy, dandy list form:
  1. some of what i thought i could grow, i couldn't.  for instance, i started some tiny thai eggplants because they were so cute and i love them in curry, but they didn't do well out back.  i think i started them too early and it's not hot enough here.  also, i bought these seeds for lovely, tiny melons and those also failed.  my chinese long beans were also a bust.  i didn't spend crazy amounts of money on the seeds, though, and i learned from it, so i feel okay about my failures so far.
  2. i can grow radishes.  seriously.  it's the one thing in the garden that so far i am totally kicking ass at.  these are some tiny french breakfast radishes, that i pulled up to make room for some of the bigger plants.  they are amazing.  it's a good thing i live in a house full of radish lovers, or else all these radishes would go to waste!
  3. carrots need to be seeded carefully because the seeds are *tiny.* so tiny! like the size of one of the periods in this post. after i planted the first batch, my husband gave me a good tip for next time.  of course, if he had given me the tip before i messed up the first planting i think we'd have more carrots going!
  4. our soil definitely needs work.  it's not awful, don't get me wrong, but it's still very loose and the best way to enrich it is by growing stuff in it, evidently.  
  5. buying starts instead of seeds isn't such a bad thing.  yes, i felt all hippie mama and earth-goddessy buying seeds and starting them indoors but it made D nuts to have plants and potting soil all over the kitchen, and i don't yet have a good idea about when things can handle being planted outside.  a start is already a sturdy little plant-to-be, and i can pretty much guarantee that whoever grew it knows more about plants than i do.  why not spend a bit more for that kind of knowledge?  
  6. the only way to learn how to be better gardener is to just do it.  just go ahead and give it a try, fail at stuff, and be excited when the peas pop up out of the ground like reverse hand grenades.  also, investing in a CSA for the summer is also a good idea. helping out an organic community garden while growing your own is like investing in a back-up plan. a delicious, delicious back-up plan.
i really liked this post thea did the other day, talking about her garden and what she has going on.  i agree that gardening (like knitting and yoga) is totally having a renaissance among 30-somethings, but i think for good reason.  most of us are trying to eat a bit healthier, now that we realize that cholesterol isn't just something our parents worried about, and gardening is good for your boday, as well as your wallet.  i think a lot of people my age are also avid DIY-ers, and growing your own food is about as do-it-yourself as you can get.  it's also just nice to be outside, tending to pretty green things that will end up being part of dinner. 


Joolie said...

Wow, those radishes! Sounds like you're doing it right--starting modestly but experimenting too. More garden posts as the summer wears on, ja?

Spacebeer said...

Now that we have a yard, I definitely want to try growing things, but I'm worried because I'm not generally good with houseplants, and outdoor plants seem even more complicated. Maybe I will just start with a pot with some basil in it or something and go from there. Oh, and what was the carrot seed tip?

amanda said...

definitely more posts! i'm really loving the garden. going out there, watering in the morning and afternoon on hot days, checking the progress, even weeding is fun.

and kristy, D's awesome trick was this; you take a piece of paper, fold it in half long-wise, and use that to gently shake the seeds into the row you've prepared. he showed me this thing you do where you very slightly tip the paper, using one hand to hold it at the top (the open part) and the other to gently urge the seeds down by rubbing the paper between your fingers. it's hard to explain, but even just using the longer piece of paper will slow the seeds down! when you sprinkle them from the pouch, they like to come out all at once, and then they are hard to separate out from the soil.

Spacebeer said...

That makes so much sense!