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Monday, April 03, 2006

Grand Funk Railroad

I've been in a rather long funk lately, not dissimilar to the funks you've probably seen all over the Blogosphere, and largely owing to the misery of an interminable winter. But now, it would seem that Spring has sprung, and so I must dust off my more cheerful self and force her to come out of hibernation. She's kicking and struggling all the way.

One way I've been trying to embrace the better weather is by gardening. At long last, we had decent enough weather for me to go out and dig in the dirt without 3 layers on. The orders I'd placed many months ago for bulbs and plants arrived within days of one another and forced me to deal with them. In the last week, I've planted muscari, "Black satin" viola and ranunculus (I've never been able to get them to grow, and I just found out you're supposed to soak the corms first, too late for this planting unless I dig 'em up), and held myself in check at Lowe's long enough to buy only a strawberry jar, 9 red leaf lettuce plants, 6 broccoli plants, and a "lemon boy" tomato plant. I know, buying the plants is cheating, but my seed starting has gotten off to a rocky beginning. I am having measured success with zucchini (damn, those things grow quickly!), cauliflower, cerinthe, and the Mr. Stripey, Brandywine, pink cherry, and regular cherry varieties of tomatoes (plus some roma tomato seedlings my cousin-in-law gifted me with). I failed miserably with pumpkin (absolutely ZERO seedlings! And the seeds are not old), radish (they grew faster than I could pot them up individually, also I am totally lazy), cucumber (only one sprouted, and I killed it with my love, evidently), and broccoli (hence the plants I bought). I'm still waiting on my seedlings from half a dozen of hot and sweet peppers (we are fans of hot food in this house, plus I want to try my hand at making hot pepper/fruit jelly this Fall). I also planted a mammoth (so-called, I reserve my assessment until I see the results) red raspberry, which I am hoping like hell the starlings don't get to. I've attempted these before and they've always been eaten by the birds - I guess this is the year I buy netting to keep them off.

I figure this is the best way to ensure a steady supply of organic produce for the season. The second-best way is a membership in the Red Earth Farm buying club. I've written about buying clubs before, and I have immensely enjoyed my participation in the Winter Harvest program I participated in this year (I'm now hooked on blue and brown eggs -- pretty! and Booby is addicted to apple snitz). My pal Tony has also written about getting a regular delivery of organic fresh produce, and he includes a link to Local Harvest, which will show you which farmers' markets, co-ops, and even online stores are available to you, nationwide. Score! I probably linked to this before, but what the hell, I think it's so cool.

11 Comments:

At 5:50 PM, Anonymous jess said...

Yes, I recently signed up for an organics produce delivery service and am excited because a) less time spent in the supermarket is always good, and b) the fewer chemicals that coat my food the better.

 
At 6:11 PM, Anonymous TB said...

It's awesome that you grow your own broccoli and organic produce. I can barely keep herbs alive, especially once they flower. I tried to grow tomatos in a pot once and the plant grew six feet tall, but no tomatos ever appeared. I'm jealous of your green thumb.

 
At 6:34 PM, Blogger Mrs. Harridan said...

I'm glad the whole organic thing is catching on. Maybe eventually they'll have this stuff at every supermarket (crosses fingers).

TB, I tried tomatoes in containers, too, and they produced perhaps one sickly fruit per plant. Getting them into the ground is the only way to go (for me, anyway). Lucky for me, as well, my husband is tomato-obsessed, so he is the one who takes care of them.

 
At 6:40 PM, Anonymous SlowGardener said...

Try planting more pumpkin and cuke seeds directly in the ground in mid-May. They need warm soil to germinate (and they don't transplant easily anyway), so I bet you'll get good results that way. All I've started from seed so far are tomatoes; I've never been able to pull off the early-season veggies like broccoli because I'm not that organized that early. I'm getting more into blueberries, raspberries and strawberries, and away from the salad type stuff, for some reason. it looks like all of my perennial herbs survived the winter, including my bay tree and rosemary, neither of which is normally hardy here. Keep us posted on your garden adventures!

 
At 6:49 PM, Blogger MrsFortune said...

I envy people who know about gardening! My family is full of black thumbs and I haven't had the patience to learn, at least thus far. I'll be looking forward to pictures ...

 
At 7:48 PM, Blogger IzzyMom said...

Good luck with your garden. That's really cool. We have an organic co-op here but they don't deliver. You have to go there and work which I wouldn't mind if I had the time. Maybe when the kid are older...

 
At 10:39 PM, Blogger Tits McGee said...

I heart hot pepper jelly.

And my birthday is in the fall.

Y'know, just saying.

 
At 10:56 PM, Blogger wordgirl said...

I waited until April to rake the leaf cover off of my herb garden. Last year I started in March and the next week it froze and snowed...killed my Carolina Jasmine and many of my other herbs. Boy was I pissed! I guess I need to hit the plant nursery soon.

 
At 10:54 AM, Blogger The Gradual Gardener said...

I am so anxious to get back to work...It's been a long winter, and I'm itching to get my fngernails dirty again!

 
At 11:00 AM, Blogger Elizabeth said...

Looking forward to reading about your garden! Sounds great.

I have a planting bed running the length of my house and no idea what to do with it. I was thinking flowers, but vegetables would be better. If only I didn't have the worst luck with growing plants ever.

 
At 12:01 PM, Blogger Mignon said...

I don't think it's cheating at all to buy tomato plants. They always do so much better than the transplanted seed starts.

Our pumpkin seed starts did really well last year - I think we're going to do like SG said and put them straight in the ground in May.

Good for you, coming out of the cave!

 

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