My Favorite (Gardening) Things

Green Elephants Garden Sculptures
image by via Flickr Creative Commons
It can be hard to find good veggie gardening resources, especially if you don't know very many people who have experience with growing vegetables. I thought I'd share with you my collection of favorite gardening things that has taken me three years to gather. Hopefully this list will save you some time and trouble!
    20070429 garden 04
    image by jspatchwork via Flickr Creative Commons
    Websites (local)
    Websites (non-local)
    Seed packs
    image by maureen lunn via Flickr Creative Commons
    Online seed stores
    Lactuca sativa
    image by Carl E Lewis via Flickr Creative Commons
    Local nurseries

    Peggy's gardening tools
    image by Abby Lanes via Flickr Creative Commons
    • Jiffy Self-Watering Greenhouse and Jiffy peat pellets - my favorite seed starting method. DO NOT buy these online; go to Walmart or Home Depot and get them for half the price.
    • Miracle-Gro Organic Potting Soil - Don't get me started on cheap potting soil! My old soil ended up not wetting. At. All. And nearly killing my tomato seedlings. This stuff is great and has been moist in an open bag on my patio for a month.
    • Mater Magic - great fertilizer for tomatoes and other veggies such as peppers.
    • Soaker hose of any kind with a faucet timer/programmer. Makes watering the garden effortless and consistent.
    Ways to share your garden
    • Flickr - picture sharing
    • Folia - log and track your garden, ask questions, and follow other gardeners (follow my garden here)
    And here is what is on my gardening wish list:
    What gardening favorites do you have?

    Final Report

    Garden Bed 2 

    Doesn't it look great? The second bed is planted as much as it can be at the moment. I have thirteen tomato plants and 5 bell pepper plants in it right now. I'm waiting for the squash, cucumbers, and pumpkins to get a little bigger before I bring them out. I also have three more tomato and three more bell pepper plants that need some more growing. Now we have to get some sort of support in there for everything, especially since I'm doing square foot gardening - everything has to grow up! I'm going to do this style of support for everything; I found some cheap wire fencing at Home Depot, so I just need to find some free bamboo.

    1. Black Krim Flower, 2. Squash & Cucumbers, 3. Jalapenos, 4. Boxwood Basil, 5. Tomatoes, 6. Potted Jalapenos 

    One of the tomato plants that I transplanted is already flowering. Woohoo! Grow little plants, grow!

    Books, books, books

    Borders Trip

    Hubby and I took a trip to our local Borders yesterday. Our store is closing and everything was at least 40% off. I'm so excited about what I found! I got the last one of each of these. (Can you tell I still have gardening on the brain?)

    Progress Report

    New Garden Bed

    So far, so good. The second garden bed is weeded and full of dirt. Next up is putting in the soaker hose, and then I'll get to start planting.

    Indoor Seeds

    This is what our seed station looks like right now. Lots and lots of plants growing (some are Sarah's). This is by far my most successful time seed starting ever, so I'm pretty excited.

    Indoor Seedlings
    1. General Lee Cucumber, 2. Purple Beauty Bell Pepper, 3. Cherokee Purple Tomato, 4. Canteloupe, 5. Emerald Giant Bell Pepper, 6. Pumpkin, 7. Ananas Noir Tomato, 8. Mexican Sour Gherkin Cucumber, 9. Red Bell Pepper, 10. Royal Chico Tomato, 11. Hazelfield Tomato, 12. Basil, 13. Green Grape Tomato, 14. Poona Kheera Cucumber, 15. Poona Kheera Cucumber
    Everything that sprouted has grown extremely well. I've definitely learned the hard way that a windowsill is not enough light. (Those grew too leggy and all died.) Shop lights do the trick!

    Spring Break

    Spring Seedlings
    1. Cilantro, 2. Carrots, 3. Peach Blossoms, 4. Pear Blossoms, 5. Pear Blossoms, 6. Lettuce, 7. Spinach, 8. Spinach, 9. Peas
    It's spring break! And that means it's time to start the spring garden. Woohoo! The seeds I planted back in mid-January are growing after the bit of snow we had in February. The peas are doing especially well. The peach and pear trees we planted last year are flowering as well. I'm not sure how many fruits I'll let them keep since they're so young and need to concentrate on growing the trees themselves, but I doubt I'll remove every single one. That would be no fun. :)

    It's going to be a busy week of gardening; I'll be back once everything is planted to show you how it looks!

    Red Potatoes

    Red Potatoes

    Some of my potato plants died, so I dug them up to see what was underneath. Don't these look delicious?

    Red Potatoes

    Too bad they are just a few bitefuls. :)

    Square Foot Gardening and a Potato Bag

    Can you believe January is almost over? Since I'm down in Texas, this means we've already begun...

    seed starting! Woohoo! Two friends and I started our seeds on January 15th, about 8 weeks before our final frost date. In our Jiffy seed starting greenhouses we have tomatoes, peppers, basil, and broccoli, most all of which we purchased from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. We prefer the Jiffy peat pots over other brands because of the netting they have over the dirt, making it much easier to move around the pots after they have expanded. (You'll want to buy these at Home Depot or Walmart, though, not online. Much cheaper.)

    Hubby and I set up the old garden bed for some square foot gardening using some nails and twine. I set aside every other aisle as a walkway since this one backs up to the fence, but there's still a TON of room for growing veggies. I planted some lettuce, spinach, carrots, peas, cilantro, dill, and chives (all from seed) last weekend. The weather's been beautiful recently, but this week it's going to drop into the 20s, so hopefully the seeds will still germinate.

    A few months ago I had a red potato that started sprouting and wrinkling in the pantry. I didn't want to throw it away, and I remembered reading about potato bags, so I thought I'd try it out. It's pretty easy - pour some dirt in a bag, cut up potato so each eye is on its own piece, stick it in. Done.

    Lo and behold, they started growing. This picture is two months old; the greens are huge now. Something keeps poking around in the bag (Chase, I'm talking to you!), so I keep re-burying the potatoes, but last time I found some tiny, round red potatoes. As in, potatoes are actually growing! Root vegetables can be hard because you can't see what is going on under the ground, so I'm very excited to know that there are tiny potatoes growing in my bag.

    What are you growing this year?

    Canning Party, Part Deux

    Canned Tomatoes

    Some friends and I had our second canning party this last Saturday. I canned a bunch of quartered tomatoes before everyone arrived,

    Canning Day

    and then we canned pickles, pickled okra, apple butter, and jalapeno-spiked cherry preserves. Yum. If only the pickles didn’t have to cure for 4 to 6 weeks!

    I also hosted book club this month and made these amazing stuffed mushrooms and this raspberry lemonade. Soooo good. And while I’m on the subject, these lettuce wraps are incredible as well. Mmmm, food.