I like working in the garden. I like thinking about working in the garden. And it may come as no surprise that I even like grading my gardening efforts. I analyze both the triumphs and the opportunities for improvement.
As the spring transitions into summer, here are a few of my gardening yeas and nays.
Sowing some seeds directly into the raised beds.
Seeds are cheap. And when we go to our local nonprofit, Gateway Greening, we can pick a packet up for a quarter. Of course, that means I end up buying a lot.
In late March, we planted cool weather crop seeds directly into the soil. To help guide us, we followed Gateway Greening’s exceptional planting calendar.
It wasn’t long before peas, radishes, broccoli, mustard, swiss chard, cabbage, lettuce, carrots, and parsley appeared.
Harvesting seeds from last year’s crop to start new this year.
I’m particularly proud of this achievement. I grew a cucumber seedling out of seeds that were harvested from last year’s bumper crop.
Pictured above is the new crop of arugula, also known as rocket, culled from seeds that I saved and dried. I’m hoping to repeat the process this year.
Starting tomatoes early under grow lights in the basement
We sowed the seeds of four different types of tomatoes in pots in the basement under our grow lights. They sprouted quickly, and the pots got crowded. I divided the tomatoes into new pots. By the time the threat of frost had passed, I had sizeable plants for our garden.
Bringing houseplants, a hibiscus and a Mandevilla inside for the winter
Last fall, I brought my geraniums inside. I placed six pots in three sunny windows. They loved the space. Five made it back out this spring. One went with my daughter back to her college room.
My Mandevilla spent the winter in the basement. The hibiscus tree limped through the winter.
Planting flower seeds directly into the ground.
My neighbor let me take a few zinnia heads last year to dry and extract the seeds. Inspired by my raised bed success, I sowed the flower seeds directly into the ground.
I didn’t mulch the area because I didn’t want to stop the seeds from sprouting. Now, I have no idea if the plants I’m seeing are flowers or weeds. Next time, I’ll start them in the basement along with the tomatoes.
Ignoring the happy geraniums wintering inside, then stressing them once outside.
I should have kept the geraniums trimmed. Instead, I just watered them once a week and happily watched them bloom. But they also grew and grew and grew. Now they’re difficult to manage outside. Instead of a bush, they’re vinelike.
And many are stressed, judging from the reddish rings on their green leaves. (Some would say I just have that effect on plants and people.) The pots may be holding too much water. Maybe they didn’t like the transition. I tried to expose them for longer periods each day before finally leaving them outside.
We shall see.
What did I miss? If you have any advice, please don’t hesitate to share your wisdom. What challenges and successes are you facing this year?
In other news, the audiobook of Erasing the Past is almost ready. Stay tuned for more details.
If you’ve already read the book, please let me know what you think.