About Me

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Montgomery, Alabama, United States
I'm a Zone 8. I'm doing a little gardening to satisfy a curiosity to see whether or not I can do it. People make it look so easy-- what's stopping me from making it work? Contrary to my name ("Hana" means flower in Japanese) I have a history of killing plants. Well, most of them. Let's see how this one goes!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

A real introduction

Since I'm not in school right now and I do a lot of sitting and waiting around, I figured that I could devise up a spontaneous plan to make a garden. I love fresh herbs and veggies (I mean, who doesn't?), I live in a house with a big, south/east facing yard, and I don't have to pay for water.

I'll note that I hate working outdoors. Anytime my parents would ask me to do, well, anything around the yard, I'd suddenly show more than healthy interest in doing my homework. I also have an uncanny talent for killing almost any plant put into my care. Seriously, I'm the least likely ever to be picked for a 4-H competition.

And here I am, scooping potting soil and compost into little cups and starting seeds. I've never started anything from seeds, except for accidental gardens grown in uncleaned hamster cages. It's been nearly two weeks since I started this project, so I'll get you, my captive audience, up to speed on my progress.

I began this a bit over my head. Since Walmart has ubercheap seeds from likely sketchy cultivars, I decided that since I had never grown anything before that it would be more financially prudent to spend 10-30 cents on each packet of seeds that will eventually die as opposed to spending $1-2 on them. Did I mention that I wasn't very optimistic about my success? Well, in my enthusiasm to ensure that something would grow, I picked out:
6 varieties of beans
5 varieties of radishes
4 varieties of basil
3 varieties of lettuce
2 varieties of chives, spinach, tomatoes, and snap peas
And 1 each of eggplant, bell pepper, cayenne, jalapeno, kohlrabi, Swiss chard, turnip, beet, mustard, oregano, parsley, cilantro, and lavender

I half-expected that my entire seedling population would fizzle out at the seed stage and that I could relax, take solace in the confirmation of my inability to grow anything, and then go on with my life. As little things started popping out of my cups, however, my life suddenly got more complicated. Orders of magnitude more complicated.

My original thought was that I could dig up the back yard and transplant stuff there. Then I realized that that takes actual work and real gardening tools (which I lack), so I thought that maybe a container garden would work better. Container gardening requires a lot of monitoring, watering, insurance of nutrient supply, and, of course, containers. That sounded kind of complex and maybe a bit overwhelming to contain the massive horde that had suddenly sprung up in my house. Then I found the term "lasagna garden" being thrown around gardening forums and websites. It seemed like the perfect solution to my problem! But we'll get to that later.

Back to the seedlings. I sowed sort of a lot of them. Like, a seemingly uncontrollable amount of them. I was afraid that one seed per pot might somehow ensure that I would grow nothing, so I tossed a couple seeds into each pot and let them do their thing. That was sort of a mistake because I ended up with pots like this:

Those are Gardener's Delight tomatoes, by the way.

And because I can't bring myself to cull the crop, I painstakingly separated and repotted every one. Every. One. Now I have 16 separate tomato plants from the original 3 cups.

And that's just from the first 3 cups. I have two more of Gardener's Delight and two of large red cherry or something that have yet to sprout. Oh yeah, and the take-out container full of the cherries. Sigh. I'm waiting either for some to die off or maybe I can suddenly make some friends who like tomato plants.

AND THEN there are the others. The many, many others.

So back to plans for their forever homes and lasagna gardening. According to a Google search on the subject, lasagna gardening is cheap, easy, and good for your plants. All it requires is yard space, newspaper and/or cardboard boxes to flatten the weeds, organic lawn litter, such as dead leaves and grass clippings, a moisture retainer like peat moss or coconut coir, and mulch. Layer it, slather it in seedlings, and you're done or something. I'm actually pretty excited about starting this because there is no need for wasteful tilling, back-breaking digging, or loads of top soil. Panaceas to life's multitude of problems make me happy.

This is the space I have to work with:

I also have some containers since I do want to have some porch ornaments.

I also read about companion plants, so as if I weren't in over my head already, I'm going to run out and get some flowers that apparently act as distractions from the veggie garden and attract predatory insects to eat the bad bugs. The prospect of not having too bad of aphid problems seems too good to be true.

Blogging makes me tired and I have a crapton of plants to water. So there it all is. I will probably start the actual bed making after this weekend since we will probably be going to San Antonio. I am seriously so excited that I cannot contain it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Pam/Digging says:

Hi, Hana. I just discovered your blog on Blotanical's Austin page. Welcome to the garden blogging community in Austin. It's a fun group!

It looks like you might be set with little pots for all your seedlings. But if you ever need any 4" nursery pots or bigger, please let me know. I have a ton and would love to see them get put to use.

Any chance you'll be joining us for the Garden Bloggers Spring Fling next Saturday? http://gardenbloggers.wordpress.com/

Also, if you'll enable Anonymous or Other comments in your comment settings, you'll make it easier (or possible) for non-Blogger folks like me to leave a comment. Cheers!