Monday, August 13, 2012

Experiments in gardening

I've been bit by the gardening bug.

And it stings.

Okay, so it doesn't sting exactly, but every year when the weather turns warm, I get this urge to plant stuff and water things. A few years back I bought a book on Square Foot Gardening, skimmed it, and stuck it on a shelf.

For whatever reason, this summer I've decided to be a little more methodical. Before I go any further I should tell you I really don't know anything about gardening. I am totally faking any competency at growing stuff, but maybe my blunders will be of interest, so here we go.

First off, I haven't set up the square foot area yet, but I will. Instead, I put together some seed starts in pellets and was growing them on the kitchen counter until one of my cats ate half of the shoots one night. So that was disheartening, but I learned a valuable lesson: my cats are jerks.

Next I bought some discount plants at local grocery stores that were further along. I bought a basil plant from Trader Joes and made pesto from the leaves. I bought a Meyer Lemon Tree for half off at Lowe's. I also picked up some cheap jalapeno, blueberry, cucumber, oregano, dill, and thyme plants. They were all so inexpensive I won't be terribly broken up if they die.

Zucchini (growing from a seed I planted last week)

I just love looking at this little plant. It's amazing how fast it grows.

Meyer Lemon Tree (plant + pot + stand + mulch = about $15)

Lowe's had the tree on sale. The pot was 60% off at Ace Hardware and the stand was a deal at Grocery Story Outlet. I am planning to bring the container inside when the weather turns cold.

Blueberry Plant (Patriot)

End of last week I planted two blueberry plants along the back fence, mixed the soil with peat moss, and spread bark mulch around the base of each plant. I actually picked up both plants at Grocery Store Outlet in Lake City. I bought a Patriot and a Hardyblue, and now with all this hot weather the trick is keeping the soil moist.

Unknown tree, planted

Yesterday Jer and I planted this tree in the ground. I have no idea what kind it is. When we bought our house the previous owner offered to leave us a bunch of plants in pots and we accepted. This tree has been in a large pot on the deck since we moved in three years ago and it seems to be doing well. At the base is a solar light we're experimenting with and behind the tree are some river rocks we're thinking of spreading all along the fence.

The fence on the right, by the way, is the one my dad and Jer put in a few weeks ago. Jer and I put a clear coat on it last weekend to protect it from the elements.

Over the weekend we made our first trip to Sky Nursery, which is a wonderful place and I bought the ingredients for the Mel's Mix square foot gardening stuff, so I'll be combining vermiculite, several kinds of compost, and peat moss in a large container soon. And then hopefully moving some of my seed starts over.

I have a lot to learn, but I think this is a good start.

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