Gardening 2009

Last spring/summer, we had just moved into our house and dove immediately into amateur newbie gardening. We planted a Sweet 100 cherry tomato plant (with great success and production) and a Better Bush tomato (not as successful – the tomatoes had rot or some other strange fungal thing going on). We tried a few rows of unproductive corn (later determining that we didn’t have enough space to do it “right”), had several basil plants (most of which shriveled up and died except for one productive plant), and one pathetic pumpkin seedling that never got more than five leaves. In short: We ate lots and lots of cherry tomatoes and harvested a few sprigs of basil.

This year, armed with not much more knowledge but lots of optimism and a few gardening books, we’re trying the learn-as-you-go approach

So far, I’ve added some herbs to our front yard planter box, so we now have rosemary (planted last year), sage, oregano, lavender (came with the house), and curry plant (which smells like curry but isn’t actually what is used in making curry powder). I just picked up a thyme seedling which will go there, too. And that’s probably all you’ll hear about the front yard planter box for this season.

  • Sage – 4 seedlings – $3.48
  • Oregano seedling – $3.49
  • Curry plant seedling – $3.4

Our back yard has two planter boxes – a triangular one which gets full sun except in the late afternoon, and a rectangular one which gets full sun except in the early morning. The triangular one is half-weeded, the rectangular one hasn’t been touched, as you can see.

I’m thinking this is a good spot for another Sweet 100 cherry tomato. Last year, we were unprepared for the immense dimensions of the plant, and it collapsed our 40″ wire cage. We ended up stringing it up to the fence and attempting to use various stakes to hold it up. There should be plenty of room for the tomato plant here (and we’ll probably buy a special extra-large tomato cage), and I’m thinking the basil plants can go in the front corners.

I haven’t really mapped out this one, yet. We’ll have one short row of bell peppers and one of jalapeno, if all of the seeds sprout, and a row of bunching onions – maybe two rows. I’d like a couple tomato plants (suggestions on good varieties for central California are welcome!). We’ll probably have room for two more rows of something else, but I’m not sure what, yet.

Expenditures for back yard garden

We have a few gardening tools from the previous owner of the house, but I went out and bought a hoe, too. I also purchased seed starter pellets and a few packets of seeds.

  • Hoe – $7.53
  • 25 pellets – $2.14
  • Basil (Genovese) – $2.27
  • Bell peppers (California Wonder) – $2.27
  • Jalapeno Early peppers – $2.29
  • White Lisbon Bunching Onion – $1.59

The onions will be directly sown, but I started the basil and peppers a week ago, and the basil is starting to sprout!

“Real” gardeners will laugh at the pitifully few seedlings I started — six basil, and three each of the peppers. I think most of our available space will go to tomatoes, and having never done peppers before, I wanted to just start with a few.

I made a mini-greenhouse using a “spring mix” salad container. Nothing like reusing before recycling! (The lid isn’t usually on so the plants get plenty of air.)

I think next year (or winter) I’ll venture into the realm of ordering from seed catalogs and use up the rest of my pellets; for now, I’m just excited that there are signs of life.

Updates will come.

7 thoughts on “Gardening 2009

  1. Good luck on your garden. That’s very much how mine got started. I still don’t know what I’m doing, but I sure am enthusiastic about it!

  2. PK – wow your balcony looks gorgeous with the handcrafted planters!

    Trailerparkqueen – Glad to know that optimism and enthusiasm are working for your garden, hope ours flourishes as well! 🙂

  3. Hi… best of luck with your garden. I am growing a lot more herbs this year, than in years past. But doing them in pots on my deck.

    FYI, The best way to support your tomato plants is with The Tomato Stake.
    Easier to use than metal tomato cages, stronger than bamboo and won’t rot or splinter like woo stakes.

  4. I love your idea with the mini-greenhouse!! I will have to copy that one. I always had problems with seedlings drying out too quickly. I was wondering if you added lots of compost to your garden. It makes a HUGE difference in how well your plants grow.

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