First Harvest

When it comes to gardening, one of my favourite pastimes is “grazing.” I’m working in the gardening, or enjoying some peace and quiet in the back yard, and I pick a few lettuce leaves, a bit of cilantro, or—my favourite—some cherry tomatoes, and pop them in my mouth and go back to what I was doing. Some of my lettuce, collards, and several of my onion greens have been/are ready for harvesting. Today, I enjoyed the first salad from my garden. Really, just a plate of butter crunch lettuce and some dressing, but to me, that’s perfect bliss.

Tomorrow, I plan on harvesting some onion greens and thyme for dinner. I’m not yet sure what I will turn it into, but I will write a post about it once I’ve decided.

Lately, I’ve got what I like to call “tomato fever.” Besides the two tomato plants I grew from seeds, I bought a tomato start for cherry tomatoes, and I’m thinking of getting a couple more. They will have to live in my room until Memorial Day, but I have this desire to grow tomatoes until they come out of my ears. Besides, I want to see how many things I can make with tomatoes. I guess we know what my favourite garden food is.

I bought a rosemary plant last week, deciding that I prefer to grow rosemary from a start, rather than from seeds. For now, it’s in a four-inch pot, but I think that’s all it will need until it gets bigger.

There isn’t any rain in the forecast until Saturday, and the temperature is supposed to get up into the 80s this week, so I will be visiting my plot every day to make sure that it has enough water.

Happy Birthday To Me!

My birthday came and went. I don’t really do huge parties anymore, preferring to just spend the time with a few friends. Sometimes, people give me cards, sometimes there’s somebody who’ll buy me a drink, but really, I don’t expect much more than some good conversation, sharing old memories, and making new ones. I certainly didn’t expect the awesome gifts I got from one of my college friends.

I’ve been talking about gardening plans on facebook for the past four months, taking pictures of my progress, and of course each entry I post here will be shared with my facebook friends. So, my friend got me a watering pale, a troul, and a bell pepper plant.

I was going to get my own troul at some point, because as much as I love digging with my hands, it can get pretty tedious when I’m trying to dig a deep enough hole, so I was thrilled to receive this. And, watering with a pale will not only save water, but I haven’t mastered the art of controling the water pressure at the garden, and one of my plants got knocked over the other day, so I need something to help me water more gently. I won’t be able to put out the pepper until mid-May when I put out the tomatoes, so I am keeping it on my bedroom window cill until then. Speaking of which, using the watering pale on my plants I have at my apartment is much nicer than using the spray bottle. I have to spray a hundred times to get enough water, and it was hurting my hand!

Today, after planting some starts that were ready to go–kale, cabbage, beets, and mustard greens–pulling some weeds, and watering my plot, I took a walk to the nursery and used my gift card to buy some celantro and thyme. Last time I grew celantro, I got quite a lot from just one plant, and I’ve just learned that corriander comes from the same plant. I considered getting a strawberry plant, but I think this year, I will settle for some berry-picking at Sauvie Island.

My onions seem to be sprouting up all over the place, so I imagine I will be using the sprouts pretty soon.

Welcome to Gardening Season!

Gardening season is under way, and I’m already learning what I’ll do differently next year, what works, and what doesn’t. I’ve made a lot of mental notes, so I decided to start this journal.

I’ve been familiar with growing food since I was eight years old–possibly longer, because we learned about that in preschool, and I even got to visit a farm when I was four. I’ve helped my dad with his garden, and grew some of my own things during my adult life. But while I was in school, and especially while I was studying abroad, I didn’t really have a lot of time to devote to gardening. But now that I’ve graduated, I can put more time into growing my own food.

For Christmas, my dad got me an indoor herb garden, and I think that might be what inspired me to start a garden. I spent the rest of the winter researching when to grow certain crops, attending free classes at the local nursery, and applying for a garden plot in a community garden. Currently, I am renting an apartment, and although I’ve had great success with growing tomatoes in a pot, I’d like to expand on that.

My indoor herb garden is doing well, and I’ve used some of the oregano already. Currently, I’ve also got some tomatoes started indoors, and they seem to be doing well. They won’t go outside for another month.

So far, I’ve learned that I’d prefer to grow things like lettuce, collards, and spinach from starts rather than from seeds. Maybe I’m impatient, or maybe seeds really are hard to grow. I think it might have a lot to do with instant gratification. My garden plot looks a lot nicer with heads of lettuce and collard plants in it.

Currently, I have lettuce, collards, onions, peas, and chives in my garden. I received some money for my birthday, so I am going to use that to buy myself a gift certificate to ensure that it goes toward my garden. I know that the person who sent me the money would want it that way. Anyway, I am considering squash. I love summer squash and acorn squash, but I won’t be planting any zucchini. I learned at an early age that if you plant too much zucchini, then the zucchini will turn into zucchinimen, break into your house, and blast your stereo.

Next month, along with putting out the tomato starts I already have, I want to get two more tomato plants–one with cherry tomatoes. There’s nothing like picking fresh tomatoes and popping them in your mouth. I have some beans, but I don’t remember if they get sown at the end of April or May. They may have to wait for a fall crop, because I only have a 100 square foot plot, and it might get full with what I’ve already got going so far.

It’s not supposed to rain for a few days, so I will have to visit my plot to make sure my crops have water. Saturday, I will be putting in some starts of kale, beets, cabbage, and mustard that I’ve been hardening off this week. They really want to be in the garden plot and out of their little containers. (The containers were cut and are currently held shut with rubber bands so that they can take root when I put them in my garden.) I will continue to write updates about my garden plot, the seeds I’m starting indoors, and once I start harvesting, details about meals, etc.

Stay tuned!

~The Garden Faerie

A journal of my gardening progress.

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