Monday, May 3, 2010

Secrets Of Gardening

I by no means have a green thumb. Since we moved up here from Phoenix, our garden has been a learning experience. The first year, we were so excited to get our first zucchini. We also got some pretty interesting carrots. Last year, was the year of the gourd. We learn something new every season. Eventually, we will start to figure it out. Until then, we will eat 100 loaves of zucchini bread every summer.

In our crazy climate, the green rule of thumb is to not plant your garden until Mother's Day. Before then, we could go from bathing suits to mittens in 24 hours. And this year has proven to be no exception.

My take on buying established plants is this:
Spending $3 on each plant is hard on the wallet. Especially if they die a few weeks later. And spending $3 on a jalapeno plant is just silly. A jalapeno usually cost less than 10 cents at the store. So, how many jalapeno's can you eat in one season? You have to get 30 or more off of one plant to justify the $3. We've decided that established plants are not for us. Unless it is something that will survive the winter like strawberry or rhubarb plants.

We did the seeds in the pods indoors again. They didn't do great because I keep the house at 66 and I think they needed more heat to sprout. But, it's been over a month and this is how our jalapeno seedlings are doing. At least something is growing, but I realize they could've done this outside on their own in a week.

This year, I decided to try something different and I think I might be on to something. When we put the seeds in the pods, I decided to try to grow some plants inside in bigger pots. These will stay indoor plants and I'll always have cilantro, basil, parsley and jalapenos whenever I need them. These were planted at the same time as the pods.



Now, these guys had the benefit of being in the windowsill, but still the difference in growth is astonishing. I think at the end of the season, I will buy 15 of these pots on clearance. Next year, I will line my windowsill with them and plant seeds. After Mother's Day, I will replant them in the garden.

I'll be getting an established plant at the seed price. Win. Win.

And if that doesn't work, we'll just open a farmer's market with only pumpkin and zucchini for sale.

1 comment:

Linda said...

Those look great!

I don't have ANY place indoors for plants and just ask Jim - I hate houseplants - so I do buy the established plants for tomatoes and peppers because they're really cheap here and I get A LOT of veggies off those couple of plants.

But when it comes to the other items - I plant from seed and yes all of my vegetables have already been planted and they're growing. I never, ever wait for Mother's Day - and have always had great luck in gardening, so I stick to that method. It really just depends on the weather - this year, here in Illinois we are WAY above normal. The farmers already have all of their corn planted and it's getting taller already. So, everything is about 1 1/2 months ahead of schedule at least.

Good luck with your garden this year. I don't grow many veggies, as I'm partial to the flowers instead. So, our garden is a mix of both. Gardening is fun :)