Thursday, January 15, 2009

Garden 2009: Starting out

We have officially started our garden for 2009. Exactly one week ago, Meredith and I hit the Home Depot to purchase seeds. Last year we got started late, so we bought bigger plants. This, obviously, is more expensive than buying seeds, and the plants need to go in the ground pretty quickly. This year, we decided to get started a lot earlier, and we decided to save money and start with seeds.

We perused the Burpee Gardens catalog with great interest, making a rather long list of items we wanted for the veggie and herb garden this year. We were thrilled to discover that Home Depot carries an excellent selection of Burpee seeds - even organic seeds - and everything you need to plant seeds!

For less than $60, Meredith and I came away with two big seed planting kits, two packs of biodegradable little pots, two bags of potting soil (we really didn't need that much, but we'll have it for later), and packet after packet of Burpee seeds.

It was rather warm here last Thursday, so Meredith and I deposited all of our new purchases on the back patio and started planting.

We bought two of these Burpee seed greenhouse kits.

They came with these spiffy little dehydrated "pellets" of soil and nutrients. This is planting at its easiest! You just add water, wait a few minutes, and the soil expands to fill the little containers, and then it's time to add the seeds.

Meredith was SO excited about helping Mommy plants seeds! I filled one of her buckets with water, used one of the plastic spoons from her toy kitchen set, and gave her the very important task of ladling water into each of the little containers. She took her job very seriously!

In the non-vegetable and herb category, we repotted a small hydrangea and planted watermelon coleus seeds in two pots.

We planted squash seeds in two pots, and planted mammoth sunflower seeds in another pot. If the sunflowers do well, they should be 6-12 feet - yes feet - tall! Obviously we'll have to eventually move them from the terracotta pot to the ground, but the weather is still too unpredictable to plant in the ground right now. We also planted some of the pumpkin seeds that we saved from our Halloween pumpkins. I seriously doubt that we have enough space to grow pumpkins, but what the heck. We'll give it a try and see what happens.

We used some of the biodegradable planters to plant lima beans. Meredith planted those almost completely on her own, and she was SO proud of herself! Lima bean seeds are big, so they're great for little helpers with little hands.

In the two Burpee seed greenhouse kits we planted:
  • oregano
  • basil
  • coriander
  • chives
  • lavender
  • two kinds of carrots
  • green onions
  • yellow onions
  • broccoli
  • green beans
  • suger snap peas
  • jalapenos
  • cherry tomatoes
We still have seeds left over from some of the seed packets we used, so we figured that if some of the seeds we planted didn't do so well, we could always try again later in the year. Once everything was planted and watered, Meredith and I moved it all inside so it would stay nice and warm. And it's a good thing we did - the temperature dropped the next day, and we're back to more typical January temps for central Texas.

After just one - yes ONE - week, our little lima beans are barely starting to sprout. The seeds we planted in the Burpee greenhouse kits are growing like crazy. We put them on the bar in the kitchen this morning so Meredith could check them out. Those freakishly tall plants? Yeah, those are the green beans we planted. Guess we know where the Jack and the Beanstalk fairy tale comes from! The only thing that hasn't fully breached the surface of the soil is the jalapeno, but when we gently brushed a little bit of the soil aside, we could clearly see that the seeds have sprouted and will be pushing up through the last little bit of soil very soon.

In the other kit, everything but the lavender has sprouted and is growing very quickly.

Meredith is SO excited about the little plants! She talked to them while she ate her breakfast and then exclaimed to us, "The plants LIKE me! They really, really like me!" She then patted them very gently and repeatedly hugged the plant container, telling the plants how much she loved them. Mike told her that she was a good farmer, just like her Pappaw Sonny (my grandfather). She thought that was just fabulous and said, "Yeah, I a good farmer! I grow little plants."

When we decided to expand the garden, we hoped it would be a good science lesson for Meredith, in addition to teaching her that it is possible to grow some of our own food. So far, we are not disappointed. She can't wait to help us replant all of our veggies and herbs in the backyard. We are all now eagerly counting down the weeks until the weather is warm enough for us to get these little - and not so little - plants in the ground!


GrannySmithGreen said...

Oh my! It's 19 degrees here today. I can't even think about gardening our going outside. I think I'll just sit here with my coffee and watch your herbs grow before my eyes! Best of luck with the garden. It's going to be great!

Anonymous said...

I can't beieve how quickly everything has come up! Pappaw Sonny will be so proud of her! What an awesome way to teach her so many science and math concepts and be green too! NeNe

Anonymous said...

I tried doing this and was having great success until the neighborhood raccoons made a meal of all my work. Ugh!!