Thursday, April 25, 2013

My Adventures in Gardening

So, I've been playing in the dirt. I, like many people out there, like the idea of growing my own food. I have learned that, while it sounds easy and looks easy, it's actually not! It's a complicated jumbled mess of information that consumes and overwhelms you! That is pretty much how I feel about this topic. I am approaching this topic one day at a time and hopefully over many years and seasons I will be a seasoned gardener! Wish me luck because my mom said I've inherited her black thumb of death! She's just exaggerating! I remember growing up, playing outside and my mom planting mums and irises and other things. So she's not being 100% honest with herself. That and I also remember my grandmother, my mom's mom, was a gardening fiend! I remember huge plump okra growing outside in the front yard along side the fence next to the driveway and I can recall a huge garden in her second back yard (she had two back yards) with rows upon rows of veggies. Ahhh, memory lane!

So anyways! Back to reality! I'm planting a garden! Hooray! I am super excited about it and I am going to keep on the bright side. So when I fail, I will cry and be sad but I will remember that this is a learning experience and no one starts out knowing absolutely nothing and magically turns into a master over night! One step at a time for this mom!

So last summer (late summer) I started growing herbs in a kit I bought at Walmart. I can safely tell you two things: 1) don't start growing things so late in the summer from seed, and 2) don't buy an herb seed kit from Walmart, don't buy one at all! Mixing seeds for different herbs is bad news! Some seeds need more water than others, some need less! And on top of that some herbs grow like weeds and will take over the whole small container they give you! Stick with one type of herb at a time. That way you will be able to tell which sprout is which! So I did successfully grow basil but nothing else out of the 6 different seeds in the kit. But about half way through winter they died! And I didn't even really get to harvest! Bummer!

This kind of made me sad but it grew my knowledge of how plants grow! We bought some books on gardening and they have helped but the most important way to learn, at least for me, is to do! So this spring, after lots of reading and simi/planning, I bought some seeds. I have a ton of basil seeds that I saved from a harvest of one of my husbands coworkers gave us. I started those seeds in paper towel rolls. (More about that later.) The seeds I bought were for tomatoes! I used some heirloom tomatoes seeds that were saved and given to us but after two weeks of nothing growing I added seeds from a Burpee package. They sprouted in about 7 days! I only used half of the packet. It's now been a month and I have already transplanted 6 sprouts that have grown their true leaves! My basil doesn't like that its only 60-65 degrees in my kitchen so they aren't growing as fast as the tomatoes. :( learning process!

Today I bought a grow light and installed it on the bottom shelf of my husband's book shelf. I don't think he will mind! ;) it's a small price to pay for a head start on the growing season! I bought the utilitech T8 fluorescent plant grow light at Lowe's for $14.98 and timer for $5.67. So for about $20 I can get a head start on the growing season in my basement! I got it all set up in less than 15 min! Now I just need to figure out how to keep the temperature 75 degrees down there! I'll let you know! But for now enjoy these pictures of my seedlings!

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