Monday, March 29, 2010

Planting Season Begins

Last year was an interesting experiment. I placed starter plants and seeds in the ground in May and by the end of the summer had quite an overrun little deck. My cement garden worked well though I was really concerned that my plants wouldn't get enough sun. I arranged the plants by their need for sunlight and in the end the biggest issue was not having enough soil or big enough containers for the crops I tried planting.

I ambitiously attempted a couple of deep-root requirement plants like zucchini and cucumbers, as well as some serious sun-lovers like Brussels sprouts and peppers and I think I'll need to rethink those for this year. Of course, this year, instead of purchasing our produce weekly from our farmer's market, we will be driving out to our local family farm to pick up our bushel of fresh picked organic vegetables, herbs and flowers for our CSA portion. This alone will drastically reduce what I'll want to plant on my deck, since I know I'll be getting great quality deep-root vegetables, I can have fun planting I-can't-get-enough-of [fill in the blank].

I have so far been at a loss of where I was going to purchase seeds. I already know that I will be purchasing locally produced organic soil from New Earth Farms. In previous years, I purchased starter plants from local gardening shops (like McDonald's Garden Center) or family farms in the area (like Stoney's Produce - they sell really great "standard-items" but also fantastic varietals like lemon balm and eggplant. I love browsing around to get great ideas for the garden!). This year though, I'd love to use up all the unbleached egg cartons I've been saving up and teach Aoife about growing our own plants.

I bought some seeds last year from one of our farmer's markets but really wanted this year to use heirloom seeds only. Fortunately this morning while I was on Etsy, I found a great store that sells heirloom seeds - and I am so excited about it! I love Etsy - it's a great entrepreneurial start-up for home mamas and it's completely homemade, which means my items aren't made in a factory in China (which I love).

On my "for-sure" list to be planted this year are:
  • tomatoes: cherry or pear
  • summer herbs: basil, dill, Italian parsley, rosemary
  • greens: lettuce, Swiss chard, spinach
  • herbal flowers: chamomile, echinachea, and Virginia mountain mint

Just browsing around to find seeds makes me excited to get my hands in the dirt - it is always therapeutic! On a closing note, I found this super great remedy from an heirloom seed seller on Etsy, The Bear Foot Shaman:

"Recipe to alleviate almost anything that ails: First get some sunlight - and not behind sunglasses, next drink a big glass of water, and if you are all cooped up reading this, get out and get some fresh air, if when you do go outside the air is not fresh - find a way to get to some fresh air! Last, while you are out getting your fresh air, find a rock that likes you and carry it around for awhile."

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