29 April 2009

neighborhood plant exchange

the much anticipated neighborhood plant exchange happened over the weekend. it is one of the many things i love about living here. neighbors bring extra plants and seeds to one location (ria's place, across from bryan park), and if you see something you want, take it. if you have nothing to bring, that's fine too. let your neighbors help you get your garden started. anne and alan helped me transport my offerings, on their bike basket and trailer.

alan, toting my seedlings on his hand crafted bike trailer.

cake, happy-as-a-clam-at-high-tide

last year, i received a beautiful heirloom lettuce, which i call "red sails," but i am not really sure that's correct. i saved seeds from it, planted some this year, and they're doing great. i also received a brandywine tomato plant, which produced delicious fruit. i carefully saved those seeds, and started some indoors this year. it was wonderful to bring my extra brandywine seedlings to the plant exchange this year! i also saved poppy seeds from one beautiful plant from ria, last year, and have numerous starts from those. i have been planting them in my garden, and passing them out to friends and neighbors. ria was excited to see those, since hers did not self-seed this year. full circle!

ria describes a plant

this year i took home a few herb seedlings, some flowers, and best of all borage! "borage for courage!" ...as the saying goes.

neighbors ann, matt and sydney, browse and visit.

tomorrow i hope to put my tomatoes in the ground. we've had consistently warm temperatures, and some lovely spring showers. everything is lush and electric green. the high temps are supposed to remain for a while. i think it's safe...? maybe some of them will get hydro-vests.

23 April 2009

potatoes for earth day

yesterday i spent many glorious hours in the garden. can't think of a better way to celebrate earth day. legend has it, potatoes are to be planted during the waning of the moon. i consulted the farmer's almanac, and noted that yesterday was a good day for planting root crops. it happened to be sunny and fairly warm, so, it all worked out.

i dug three large holes for them, in two different beds. mixed in a little compost at the bottom of the hole, then set in the seed potatoes, cut side down. cosmo helped. we covered them with about 4 inches of soil, and when they sprout, we'll keep mounding soil up around their stems, since the potatoes apparently form in that space between the seed potato, and the top of the soil. this is all new to me. i thought you just plopped a potato in the ground, and it made a bunch of little potatoes. had no idea it was so involved. but, i like involved. that is why i am trying leeks this year too.

i may not have mentioned that i started 3 new beds along the property line. since we are renting, i wasn't sure how much lawn i could really get away with digging up. so, our neighbor jack (and his son, the farmer, shawn) who own the place next door, offered a strip between our houses for me to garden. it gets lots of sun, and the soil seems nice. i've got potatoes there, and plan to also have tomatoes, green beans and edamame.

yesterday i fashioned a bean arbor out of bamboo. ideally, the beans will climb the poles and string at the ends of two separate beds, and then climb across to form a lovely green arbor overt the path between beds. i may have made it too tall though, and i may need to go fix that.

this weekend is the annual neighborhood plant exchange. i can't wait. i also plan to do a lot of sowing and transplanting. better consult the farmer's almanac. i am convinced that they list some days as infertile, or bad for planting, just to give farmers a rest in the spring...

02 April 2009

all is well

all the seedlings survived the frost. in fact, i could detect no damage, to any plant, anywhere. so, there ya have it. all that worrying for naught.

i want to recommend this article by michael pollan. it is the perfect read for a cynic and a gardener, like me. when it comes to global warming, and saving the planet, i fall in the camp of people who say, "it's too late for that. way, way, way too late." which does not mean that i don't do what i can to reduce my carbon footprint, just in case. plus, i find that walking and bike riding and gardening improve my quality of life. pollan's article addresses all of this. read it. seriously. you'll be glad you did.

spring is really coming on in full force. i find myself wanting to get into everybody's backyard in my neighborhood, so i can just snoop around and see what's growing, what they've planted, and what they're planning. one of the things i love most about gardening around here, is the connections i've built with neighbors. i learn so much from them, and we share tips and ideas, and FOOD, once the produce starts coming in.

my indoor seedlings are taking over the office! plus, they just look starved for light (even though i now have THREE lights on them). so, i transplanted a good number of them into individual (larger) containers, and put them in the cold frame, which i am now referring to as the greenhouse. so far, they do not seem to be suffering from any kind of transplant shock, and look really happy in there. i kept the rest inside, as a back up. whatever excess i have, i'll just give away at our neighborhood plant exchange, on april 26.

i've also been thinning lettuce and spinach, and last weekend, we had guests over, and served micro greens (thinnings from the salad box) with our falafel and homemade pita. arugula may be the most delicious plant i've ever tasted. yum.