Monday, 2 April 2012

It's Springtime! For Hitler! In Germany!

I'm totally stoked for gardening this summer. Maybe that's partially because I got a job at a garden centre for the spring, or maybe it's because I've been wanting to have a proper above ground garden ever since I moved out of my parents house. Either way, I'm stoked and just started some seeds downstairs and I'm entirely pleased with myself about it.

I've always wanted to make an awesome patio style garden, in raised planters and various pots. I love the idea of potting instead of planting directly in the ground for a whole variety of reasons. I will list them!

1. If I pot, I can move the pots. Silly, I know, but I'm never entirely sure where is the best place to plant certain vegetables. Do they need more sun, or less? And exposure to wind is a huge factor where I live, with the winds usually reaching up to 25k on an average day by late afternoon. Being able to mobilize my plants will help me to control their exposure.

2. I hate pesticides, and using raised planters can help control bug problems. I like my veges to be pickable and eatable on the spot. When I was a kid I'd sit in the garden and just om-nom the peas and carrots without rinsing them at all. My mom doesn't use pesticides either. Her biggest pest control option is always marigolds surrounding her garden to keep pests out, and I plan to do the same. In pots.

3.  I find it much easier to control my soil quality in pots. Sure, drainage can be an issue with potted plants, but if you are smart about it you can control that fairly easily as well. I can pick out a decent soil, and add my own sands and ash etc. to make it perfect for whatever plant I'm putting in the pot.

4. It just looks damn pretty. Vegetables can be gorgeous plants, and as much as I love the look of an overgrown crazy vege patch, I love the look of a controlled vege patch even more. I've always enjoyed the look of square foot gardening - my grandmother has done it forever with a lot of success and style. But the look of raised planters gives you depth and height - I can raise up the shorter plants to reach the sunlight easier so they don't grow leggy, and I can keep the taller plants lower. Something about planter gardening just looks so neat!

5. Ease of harvest! I have bad knees, and sometimes if I bend over for long periods of time or kneel down I get really sore. I'm not an old lady, but some days I sure feel like one - especially when I've worked all day on my feet, or if the weather gets weird I get all sensitive. It's just easier to look after raised planters.

I've seen so many awesome examples of beautiful raised vegetable gardens and planter box gardens that I'm super excited to try it on my own! I've done a few things in pots before - like herbs, of course, and tomatoes. This year I've decided to try unique vegetables, and by unique I mean ones that I think are interesting and tasty or that I've never tried.

I've started today, I just finished planting my seeds in some seed trays and cells and if they all grow I could wind up with 48 Sweetie Cherry Tomato plants and I still have a ton of left over seeds, 48 Giant JalapeƱos and 20 of each of the rosemary, oregano and basil plants. I've never ever done jalapeƱos before, but I know a lot of people in my area have grown them with much success. Seeing as my back yard has northern exposure, they will probably live inside or even in the front garden with the flowers I intend to put out there in May.

I also purchased some Royal Burgundy bush beans, which I honestly only decided on for the colour. I hope they can grow well in the shadier back yard, because I don't want too much in the front. I also got Purple Haze Carrots - which I have never ever tried growing, let alone in a planter. But the internet tells me that carrots can be done in planters so we will see what happens! The other seeds I've purchased so far are Red Leaf Lettuce, Bunching Spinach, Dill and Chives. I'm seriously considering getting some Russian Blue seed potatoes and trying them out in one of those above ground spud planters again because their colour is wonderful.

I want to do more plants, but I'm worried about space. And I think I'm going to have a lot of plants with no space to put them in my yard. Unless I turn it into a vegetable jungle out there, and perhaps even in here. Which honestly, might just look amazing if I can afford all the pots I'm going to need. I've seen some pretty good ideas for recycling used containers as pots, as well as using old egg cartons for seeding, and those lettuce tetra packs as lettuce/spinach planters that I really like. Something about recycling the old junk just seems so much more urban, so much more my style.

I have this awesome idea for some hanging planters I'm going to make and put in my kitchen window, and I could easily put some in the north facing window in the living room as well if it works out. I might be able to grow some veges all year 'round if I do - like lettuce and spinach and herbs for sure. They are basically old planks with holes drilled in them, rope tied through the holes to hold the planks level and then some more rope tied to create a basket to hold up individual pots of herbs and veges. The plan is to put the herbs in the kitchen for ease of access while cooking on one or two of these hanging shelves directly in front of the window which also happens to be right over the sink.

Can you tell I'm super jazzed about all this gardening? I really am.

I'll keep you updated on the status of my seedlings, and if I wind up with a ton of extra plants I will probably be donating/selling them to friends and family who garden. Let me know if you want one of the plants or if you can think of other plants that I should try seeding this year, because this is too much fun and the more variety the better!