I finally planted the rest of my vegetables today. Due to budgetary issues, the wife didn’t want me buying more seed starting gear…I had to make due with what I had. I had some extra starter discs, but I didn’t have a tray to put them in. So I improvised. I’m not using the lid on my big tray anymore, because the plants are too tall. So that top became the bottom for my other veggies.
My earlier veggies are growing like crazy. Some sprouted within a couple days of being planted. Others only just started sprouting, like the eggplants. The banana peppers have not yet sprouted. I don’t know if they will, but I’m not terribly concerned. I don’t use them much, so it won’t be a huge loss. The sunflowers, beans, cucumbers, and zucchini are huge. I actually think they’re a bit leggy. I’m not sure the lights I’m using are so great. I can’t put them really close to the plants due to the heat…but I just don’t think they’re good enough. I’ll make do for now, but I think next year I’ll be using fluorescent tube grow lights.
So, here’s the grand total of veggies I’m planting. I’m also attempting to grow lemons and avocados from fruits I bought from the grocery store. We’ll see how that goes.
And because I’m growing so much and couldn’t fit all the seed packets into one frame, here’s another of all the herbs I’m growing this year. Some have told me the stevia is hard to grow from seed…but mine are coming up great.
Yeah, yeah…I know that Ferry Morse seed you get from Lowes isn’t so hot. I bought all those seeds last year before I got sick (and knew any better). The stuff I got this year is the Baker Creek seed. Very happy with them, and the pink tomatoes were free, even. I had no idea to expect free seed.
I’ll be buried under tomatoes this year. Grape tomatoes, red tomatoes, green zebra tomatoes, and pink tomatoes. Oh well, it’ll at least be a colorful harvest.
The spinach and lettuce is an experiment. That stuff is considered cold-weather vegetables around here, and are typically grown in the fall season. I’m trying it now, and will see how long it goes until the heat kills it off. I’ll probably grow more for real in the fall.
I’m excited about a few things this year. For one, I’m growing enough to try my hand at making fresh red and green salsas…and quite a variety of them at that. I’m also excited about the white wonder watermelons. I’ve tried yellow watermelon, and it was tasty and a little different from the traditional red. The white could be cool. I’ve been told the green zebra tomatoes are excellent, too. Mmmm. The kiwano melon is a fun experiment. To see how it tastes and see if I can find anything to do with it (could it potentially be an ingredient in fruit salad?). The entire herb garden excites me. I got some fresh herb cuttings from the farmer’s market a year and a half ago and they were outstanding. WAY better than the “fresh” herbs you buy at the grocery store.
I also plan on buying some blackberries and raspberries once it’s time to plant in the spring.
I am just fed up with the terrible produce available from the grocery stores. Our farmer’s market here in Nacogdoches is an excellent resource, but there are relatively few vendors. I plan on continuing to go for things that I don’t grow myself…like fresh peaches. Fresh local peaches bring back memories of my great grandparents’ house in rural east Tennessee. They’ve been passed along for many years now, and I haven’t been able to get my fresh peach fix for over a decade until I moved here. Supermarket peaches are the absolute WORST of the grocery store produce. I can’t believe that some people think that peaches are SUPPOSED to be hard like tennis balls. That just insults my good sensibilities.
My cancer recovery is another incentive for me to get this garden going. I had plans to start it before I got leukemia. But now that I’ve been through all that, I absolutely want to get as much of my diet from my own garden. I REALLY want to keep it organic. I’ve been prepping the soil now for over a year. Last year I had a truckload of horse manure delivered. I mixed some into my garden last January, and let the rest sit until this year. I’ll be mixing the rest into the soil right before I plant. I have a brush pile going of stuff I’ve been clearing out of my backyard woods. Once I get that done, I will be mulching the pile, and I will probably wait until next winter to add it.
I also plan to start composting this year. I need to build myself some bins still so I can get it going. I just have too much going on to start that yet. I have to build the pergola over my back patio yet. And once I get that done, I need to work on an exclosure to keep my pets and the local wildlife out of my veggies.
The pergola will be the centerpiece of additional gardening efforts. The herb garden will be just outside the back door between the house and the pergola. The pergola itself will be a giant trellis for vining plants. Jasmine was recommended to me as one option. I like it, since the aromatic flowers will be outstanding and create a wonderful atmosphere. I think I might try passionflower, too, since the blooms are so ornate. I have considered attempting grapes, too, but we’ll see about that. I don’t know how many different species I can realistically support without making it look like a mess.
Eventually I’ll do up some plans in Google Sketch-up and post progress photos of everything. My wife did the front yard in 2009 with the help of her mother while they were taking care of me. 2010 will be the year of the backyard.