Thursday, April 8, 2010

Sprouts that Shout!

A few entries back, I asked all my readers to help me identify some plants. The answers ran the gamut, and although many of them look interesting, some got the boot, especially the ones around the Brussels Sprouts tag.

I had particular veggies I was interested in trying to grow. Veggies that I eat a lot of, Matt eats a lot of....

Let's be honest here. He eats a lot of everything.

Aaaaand carrots. Many, many carrots. I could save a bundle if I grew my own! Not that we eat a ton of them, but the horses are rather fond of carrots.

I have no idea how successful I'm going to be in terms of gardening, but I did have success, one year, of growing a very happy tomato plant on my 14th Street fire escape in NYC. I'm pretty sure it grew on bus fumes as the M14 roared past, but either way, friends would look agog as I said, "How about some fresh picked tomatoes for our salad?" I'd stick my arm out the window, and voila! Beautiful, red tomatoes! I was, indeed, the garden version Mary Poppins in the East Village that year.

I've never grown anything from a seed, I've always had little plants to start with - basically, someone else did the hard work for me. This year, I was inspired by my great friend Lizzie to try growing some veggies from seeds.

Off we went to Home Depot for all things garden. I got some terra cotta pots, and also some Jiffy Pots, which are these cool peat pots that when the sprouts are ready, you just plunk the entire thing in the ground - pot and all. The peat disintegrates into the ground, essentially making transplanting foolproof.

We shall see about that.
Here we are at roughly 2 weeks ago, when they were just....pots. And dirt. Aren't you just blown away by how interesting the photography is?

Since I'm such a plant novice, I thought it would be a good idea to label the pots with a Sharpie marker, so I'd know what was growing. Otherwise, I'd have no idea. Here we have two sunflowers on the left, on a double date with a pair of carrots.

And then I waited. And waited some more. And stared at the dirt. And loved them to death with water.

Lo and behold, look what happened this weekend!

Oh, happy day!

In fact, a whole bunch of them!
Look at that happy little sunflower. I've never grown a sunflower. They're all cropping up!
And tiny, little tomato plants. Such cute little babies. From a seed!

The only veggie that happens to be quite shy and not ready to come out yet are...
The peppers. They are just not very happy, for whatever reason. Maybe they're just late bloomers.

Stay tuned to see how well everything else is growing! Can you believe it? I may just have a green thumb after all!

This week, anyway.


Catherine said...

Nice looking seedlings. I had a little garden when I lived in Alaska and the easiest and most productive bit of produce was carrots! I have a good feeling about your crop :-) And kudos on the city tomatoes, by the way. I've never had luck with much so that I'm tempted to buy that weird upside down tomato plant on those funky infomercials.

Cynthia D said...

KC, your little pots are so cute! What a great idea about the carrots. I planted some herbs yesterday, and yes, I cheated with plants already formed. And today, I think I shall cheat yet again, with some carrot plants.

As for your green thumb...HOW will look lovely with the purple side of your body!! Thank you Mr. Zeus!

Suz said...

Peppers are late bloomers! Don't worry about them yet :) The last time I planted them from seed I think they took them three-ish weeks to arrive.

Don't forget to THIN your plants, you must be ruthless for one good one to survive, haha! Good luck! I grow a pretty hefty garden, I'm always around for questions, should you have any :)

KC said...

Suz - PLEASE BE MY PLANT GURU. I really have no idea what I'm doing and would welcome any and all advice! Perhaps you should take over the blog one day or write a piece about thinning plants - how to choose which ones to thin, too much thinning vs. not enough, etc etc. Seriously. I would love nothing more than to not have to buy veggies this summer!

Cat - Carrots? In Alaska? My mom got that upside down tomato thing this year...people swear by them.

Cyn - very funny! You can bring your herbs over, I'll have two thousand carrots, and we'll make carrot salad.

Catherine said...

KC you should see the size of veggies in Alaska during the summers of constant daylight. At the county fair in August you'll see gigantic stuff (squash, cabbage, etc.)

So your mom got that upside down tomato thingie? That settles it, I'm getting one this weekend!

Suz said...

Kace I'm really not very good with the growing seedlings part, haha! My mom grew them for me last year like a champ though. Peppers and tomatoes are really the only thing I buy/get already started.

When you transplant those suckers in to your garden, prune off the lower leaves and bury them deep, it helps make strong stems. When you plant your peat pots there, get them good and soggy first, then break off the bottoms. They'll just crumble away with a firm squeeze. When the plants have the break through that peat pot they get a bit stunted until they push through.

No need for a fancy upside-down tomato thingie either...just use a bucket! Same thing! Haha We drilled some holes in some galvanized buckets we had lying around. I guess the one we put the plant in was about dime size, then a few more smaller holes for drainage. A mulch on top, like grass clippings, holds the moisture in nicely otherwise they got pretty dry. And every other month or so, we'd put one of those tomato spikes in for fertilizing. Perfecto!

Everything else I just plant in the ground from seed. I've found that sqaush and melon plants always catch up to their pre-started friends anyhow. When thinning, pinch off plants you don't want, don't pull! You'll take the neighbor's root system with you. That's all I've got for now, but I'm sure it's plenty, hahah.