Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Grow, grow, grow!

Yeay - the gardening season has finally arrived to my little corner of the world!
(insert me doing a crazy little dance here...lol)

This is our second year gardening here in the Carolinas, and as you may know from my previous post about gardening (read it here), we have decided to expand our existing vegetable garden, and also create a whole new section, aptly named the Lakeside Vegetable Garden.

So what's in the ground already?
Well, I planted peas a few weeks ago, and they are already peeking up quite well. I am considering doing another planting next to them, along the fence as well, since I luv peas. The idea is that they will use the chain-link fence to climb on and maybe even shade some of the lettuce that soon will be joining the fun. The peas are called "Tall Telephone" from Pinetree Gardens. Height can reach 6 ft, which is great since that's how tall the fence is! :-)


I've also planted spinach, Long-standing Bloomsdale variety, which is curly-leafed and developed to resist bolting and hot weather (which we will have soon enough). I'm hoping to harvest most of this before the real heat hits us.

Here is a picture from my onion patch that I planted in the fall of last year. There are four kinds of garlic and four kinds of shallots, red and yellow onions. I'm not quite sure if they are ready yet, the tops are only a little brown, so I figured I'd wait another week or so and see what happens.
They did not grow as large as I expected, so my harvest may not be that great. I've sprayed them once with fish emulsion/kelp and maybe should have done some more of that. Any suggestions?

I also have a small kitchen herb garden where my chamomille, sorrel, rosemary, oregano and chocolate mint (yum!) over-wintered. They have now been joined by a red sorrel (very pretty!) and a lively and bushy chervil plant. Both were gifts from my friends at Tega Hills Greenhouses - they grow lettuce hydroponically and also grow micro greens for restaurants in the area.

Inside, the seeds are sprouting.

I planted six kinds of lettuce (you'd think I love lettuce, which isn't entirely true. I like lettuce, but it's been a rocky kind of romance - too many bitter tasting store-bought (and non-organic!) varieties in my past. There is Slo-bolt loose leaf lettuce, Thai Oakleaf, 2 kinds of Bibb lettuce, and a romaine mix and a looseleaf mix. The lettuce came in quickly but then became really tall and spindly, which was because of a lack of light (Thanks wvfarmgirl!). My live-in handyman quickly pulled together a shelf and some fluorescent lights, including some handy wiring, and we now have our very own grow-lights. TADA! Exciting!

The newly planted seeds get to sit on top of the top shelf so that they get some bottom heat from the growlights. This has worked out very well for the tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, bok choi and chard that I planted next.
The lettuce was transplanted this past weekend, and should be ready to go out in the garden in another week or two.

The tomatoes and peppers are peeking up, except for some of the hot peppers, but I've had issues with them taking a while to germinate before as well. I'm keeping the faith. They will come in when they feel like it.

This year, more than ever, it feels important to me to grow and eat my own food. Maybe it's because of all the scary food recalls, the cost of food or just in general the economical downturn. Whatever it might be, I know it makes me feel so at peace - digging in my garden, planting seeds and making them grow.
Thanks to all my online friends in the blogger world for their tips and suggestions on what to grow and how to do it. You guys are the best!
I wish you a peaceful gardening season!


YD said...

This is so exciting! I envy you that you can start planting outside already.
I know hot peppers take a longer time to germinate. I have not really look into why but from past experience, they took more than a week, sometimes 2 weeks to germinate.
I may try to get a set of grow lights next year. The problem is I do not have room for it.
You are right, with all the food recall and e-coli scare we had in the pass, it's just better to grow and eat your own food.
Happy gardening. I'm blogging about seed-starting today, will probably post later.

Mrs. JP said...

WOW, you've got a great operation going there. This is our first garden so I've started late but at least we'll have taters, maters and corn + the herbs of course. But maybe next year I can do the early crop. When do you start planning all of this?

Lena said...

To Mrs JP: I start planning as soon as last year's garden is up! :-)
Last year (my first), we were late as well and with the summer heat we have, a lot of things didn't make it, especially cold-weather veggies and many of our seed-starting ventures, like the peppers. Adversity makes me even more determined, though....

To YD: My peppers are up! All of them! Yeay!