Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Our Garden

Graham and I both love to garden and watch things grow, and we love having an activity that we can do together that's fun and productive. He's especially good with plants and he knows when to water and how. His green thumb gets greener all the time! Last year was our first attempt at container gardening and it wasn't a complete success but I was pretty impressed with what we accomplished. We grew tomatoes in large planters and I grew some herbs in small pots. My herbs did well, and we actually got some usable tomatoes! They were rather small, but hey, we didn't have to buy tomatoes all summer so it was a small victory.

This year we've "expanded our operation" as Hubby would say. We didn't stick with regular sized tomatoes this season; Graham found a type that supposedly thrives in smaller containers so we're giving those a shot this year. I have also planted a few more herbs and I've already got some Italian parsley, some marjoram, basil, a little thyme, chives, and some dill. Still waiting on the sage, though. It's exciting to wake up every morning and check on the progress our seeds and seedlings are making.

In addition to all the edibles, we've planted a number of flowers and I can't wait to see them bloom. This year we planted marigolds, nasturtium (supposedly edible but I prefer the flowers for viewing's sake alone), four o'clocks (very unedible as they're poisonious upon ingestion), snapdragons, zinnias, moss roses, and poppies. I can't wait to see them all in bloom!

We can't transplant the seedlings until after Mother's Day. Apparently in Illinois that's when the danger of a frost has passed, but I swear I remember a freak frost in late May when I was younger. Hopefully if that happens, we'll have enough warning and we'll be able to move everything indoors for a day or two.

Some photos of our fledgling garden:

Some four o'clocks. If you look closely you can see 4 seedlings. Four o'clocks are strange. The root breaks out of the seed casing first, and the plant grows upwards still wearing the casing. When the leaves grow large enough, they pop out of the seed casing. Right now 2 of our seedlings have sprung free, one is very close, and the other is getting there.

There's nasturtium in the foreground and our tall tall zinnias in the background. Zinnias are naturally tall so it should be fun watching them adapt to smaller containers. I hope we get some pretty blooms from them! This picture was taken on Sunday and overnight the nasturtium shot up and now they're taller than the zinnias. It's so cool to watch them grow. Last year we got some pretty yellow and peach colored blossoms from the nasturtium and we only had two seedlings take. This year we've got four, so I can't wait to see what they do. They're a little on the viney side.

Herbs! That's marjoram in the far left and center, and one of my dills on the right. The dill seedlings are growing nice and tall, and the marjoram is a little slow in getting there but I'm sure it will take. We planted these in biodegradable starter trays, so when we're ready to plant them we just have to break the trays apart and plant the tray, no popping and digging required!

That's enough for now. Hopefully sometime soon we'll be able to show off some growing plants and usable herbs.

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