Saturday, April 12, 2014

Garden time

It's time to start the garden!

Sunflowers sprouting
This year we started  some herbs and flowers inside. We, that is to say the Child and I, have planed lots of sunflowers. Round two is peaking up here in the kitchen. Round one has already gone outside to the big patch of contaminated dirt that formerly had a willow tree. The tree came down twice in two separate storms so we though it best to chop it up rather tan wait for it to get really big and come down on top of the shed.  We would really like to plan something nice like a blueberry bush there but after having the soil tested, we know we can't grow any food there until the soil has been  cleaned. Enter the sunflowers.

She's two, it's time to put her to work
Apparently, sunflowers are very good at removing containments from the soil.And as long as you don't then eat the seeds or put the plants into your compost, they are an effective and quite cheap way of cleaning up decades of crap that has built up in nearly every yard in the city.
Clean, you bastards!

Now, of course, sometimes you want to grow things you can eat too, and we're preparing for that. On the sill we've started some herb, some successful, some not. We tried two types of basil, but only one has sprouted. The poor tarragon has failed again this year too, and I think I'm going to have to scout garden centers from some already started plants of I'm ever going to get that in the perennial herb garden in the front. The dill, however, is growing nicely! Once I'm more confident about the weather, I think that one will be ready to go outside.

Three types of tomatoes
Unfortunately, we've run out of window sill space that gets good light and is not right where cat or child will knock everything down. The solution we came upon was to try putting covered seed starters in the basement and replacing the flickering fluorescent with a grow light. Unfortunately, I bought the wrong sized light, but that shouldn't matter for the first couple of days. By Monday I should have the proper light and our little underground greenhouse will be up and running.

Meanwhile, I did already start planting. We're trying tomatoes from seed this year. Paul Robeson, Amish Paste and Bonny Best were the varieties. I ordered them from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds and they came with a gift of flower seeds as well!

Two containers, 6 pots of 6 plants each
The rest of the seeds are left over from last year. I picked up these 36 pot planters and put six of each plant in. So far I have two bush beans, navy beans, two types of cucumber, radish, carrot, spinach, broccoli raab, celery, cauliflower and cabbage. If I can get half of each of these, I'll be happy.

I think I planted this
Things are starting outside too! Just before spring, I planted the peas. There are three varieties, each in its own row, all roped ff in the large raised bed. So far the only thing that's doing really well in there is some kid of onion that I didn't plant. I also put in lettuce, but I have a sneaking suspicion that all became bird seed. Another good reason for starting things inside.

We decided to try potatoes again this year. I liked using the grow bag last year so got some colourful new ones for this year's try. We got seed potatoes from Potato Garden. This year we're trying Marris Piper aging (blue bag), King Edward (purple bag) and Yellow Finn (poppy bag). With luck we should have this whole potato growing thing down by the time the child is in high school.