Friday, April 13, 2012

The Garden Chronicles: In the beginning

Food from your own garden always tastes better than anything bought in the supermarket. Sometimes that’s because of growing a different varietal. Most times it is because food from your garden gets picked at the height of ripeness. Planning your garden should be done well ahead of the ideal time to plant.

In preparation for this year’s garden, we made lists of what plants we wanted to grow. Of those plants, we’ve decided which ones were going to grow from seed and which were going to transplant from nursery flats. Over the last month or so, different stores have been having sales on seed packets. Collecting seed packets are a fun first step to building this season’s garden.

Earlier this month, Home Depot had a buy one get one half off sale on herbs and veggies. Even though we cannot plant much yet, we also could not pass up a sale on our favorite garden plants. We bought 20 plants from our local Home Depot.

Those collection of plants include a variety of herbs, a few peppers, a cherry tomato, cabbages and brussel sprouts.

Usually when we bring plants home from the nurseries or the home improvement stores, we leave them on our sunny back stoop until we can get them into the ground, if we don’t plant them that day. This time of year, our sunny back stoop is much too cold for tender plants. Just the other night I watched buckets of snow drop from the sky in the soft yellow light of the street lamp. Later that day, tiny ice balls pelted the ground. We’ve had overnight freeze warnings.

Finding a sunny window inside the house was our only option if we want to keep our newly bought plants alive. With three very curious cats and two equally curious dogs, we also wanted the plants to stay intact and in no way munched.

I live in an old house with three floors. The stairs to the top floor are conveniently blocked by an old door with an old brass doorknob. Neither cats nor dogs venture up there. Two west facing, non-dormered windows fill the third floor with a healthy amount of afternoon sunlight.

All twenty plants were placed into a plastic box and set on some wood to bring them up to window level. Here, they are kept cool, but not cold. Every day they are turned to keep them from growing in one direction. They get watered as needed.

These initial plants are doing well. Once the local nurseries open, we will be adding flats of other plants to grow in our garden. Soon, our early bought herbs and veggies will be bursting from their little peat pots and ready to flourish.

To be continued...

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