Sunday, March 15, 2009

Garden of Eatin'

Around this time every year, I start to sow the seeds of my summer garden. While it is probably cheaper to just buy the stuff I plant, I take a lot of joy and pride out of consuming something I grew, nurtured and fussed over. Plus, I know where it's been. Until recently, you really didn't know the source of the food you bought at the grocery store because there were no laws requiring labels of origin. The time that Bobzilla and I learned that some Chinese garlic and mushrooms are grown in "night soil" quickly shot up to one of the Top Ten Scariest Moments Ever.

Nope, to ensure (and encourage) healthy eatin', it's best to develop a relationship with the food you're going to eat.

Last Tuesday, I planned out this year's garden, purchased my supplies and seeds, and harvested seeds from the dried-out husks I saved from last year. I then planted the seeds in their starter trays and put them on a mini-greenhouse that I set up by installing a wire shelving unit over a radiator by a sunny window. Check it out:

I'm not averse to giving kudos to certain products if they work well. In this case, I am using the Jiffy brand of seed pellets and trays. The peat pellets are free-standing to promote water drainage. This set-up seems to be better than if they were stuffed into little pots or deep indentations. Last year, I didn't use Jiffy. The water in each dirt pocket had no where to drain and simply collected at the bottoms. As a result, the seedlings later became infected with a fungus and almost all of them died.

Here is a list of plants that I am starting for this year's garden:

1. Roma Tomatoes
2. Genovese Basil
3. Thai Basil. These aromatic, distinctive leaves are an absolute must for any kind of Thai stir fry or other rice/noodle dish. We went through forests of the stuff last year. Plus, the plant produces beautiful purple blooms that are also edible and delicious.
4. Cilantro
5. Flat Leaf Italian Parsley
6. Bell Peppers
7. Cayenne Peppers
8. Poblano Peppers
9. Habanero Peppers
10. Jalepeno Peppers
11. Cherry Peppers. These are neat little ornamental peppers that I snatched from my friend's garden and dried out for use this year. In the fall, the entire plant turns black while the fruit remains a vibrant red:

Adding to these seed babies are the garlic, chives, and strawberry plants that have been resting over the winter.

And already, the Genovese Basil and Thai Basil seed babies have started growing! I feel like a proud mama showing baby pictures:

(I'm less proud about those dirty windows. Time for some spring cleaning. Next week. Maybe.)


  1. How inspiring! I love the idea of growing your own herbs and veggies.

  2. That's really cool. My husband is the gardener in our family - I just give him a list of what I want him to grow and he grows it. Pretty simple on my part. He's been outside all day today toiling away. I've been napping. :)

  3. that is quite a work of art. My parents always had a large garden in our backyard when I was growing up. Now, we live in a townhome with a tiny backyard not to mention I am do not have the patience. But reading this post maybe I could start small. You buy the running shoes and I will plant those seeds.

  4. Spring is for enjoying the weather, not cleaning windows :)

    I'm impressed by your plants. All I can keep alive without major carnage by my cats (wow do I sound like a crazy woman or what) is some lucky bamboo, and my lone basil plant. The basil plant is like crack, I pick it up to snort it's leaves half of the times I walk into the kitchen.

  5. I am missing a few of these from my garden. So thanks to you I am adding them. I would like to share this with everyone.

    I don't have to eat less. I have lost 33 lbs in 9 weeks and my BMI has gone from 42.4 down to 38.7. I would like to share how I am doing it.

    or take a free look:

    Thank You,

    Jim Cobb
    Phone: 614-388-8779

  6. Miz JB--That's the kind of arrangement I could get used to!

    Kristi--I don't have a yard at all. I occupy the 4th floor of this building and use the south-facing balcony (it gets oodles of sunlight with no tree shade b/c it's very high) for the plants. Everything's in containers. Deal on the shoes/plant exchange! *handshake* Indeed, I hit the fitness trail at a local park today as a test run. Didn't get the shoes yet, but used my comfy hippy sandals and socks. The results were pathetic and hilarious!

    Dina--I have two very meddling cats. The shelf keeps them away. For now. I'm working on borrowed time.

    Jim--Wow. My first spam comment. I've finally made it in the blogosphere! So, I'm keeping it up for posterity.

  7. Wow, you're certainly industrious!

    I've been thinking about getting a couple of tomato plants this summer. I did it once before but the plants got those horn worms things on them, and I got grossed out. :)

  8. Wow! I am so impressed with your gardening skills. I wish I had the skills to start my seeds. I usually buy them from the local farmer. I am going to keep up with your progress.

  9. haha i love your title

    I cant keep a plant alive for the life of me

  10. That's lovely! I like that you collected your seeds from last year. I'm not up to that stage yet, but I love proudly announcing that what my guest are about to eat I grew in the garden.