I made a few more seed purchases from Baker Creek and Amazon! I can’t wait to get these started. Watercress, baby bok choy, Chinese broccoli are Asian greens that I’ve been wanting to try my hand at. Hopefully, these will do well in my stock tank garden.
On a separate note, I do need to replenish my supply of basil seeds, because it seems my current inventory isn’t passing the towel germination test. Alas, I already retried starting them in another batch of soil blocks but it looks like I’ve struck out.
Wishlist: Pesto Perpetuo and African blue basil, both of which are vegetatively propagated. Unfortunately, I had a Pesto Perpetuo that I acquired this year but neglected to take care of. I will have to wait again next year to get a new starter plant.
I was always an ornamental plant grower and landscaper for all the time I’ve tended gardens in Texas. Somehow I’ve always felt that growing vegetables in the harsh climate required too much effort and resources for a family of two trying to hold down full time jobs and paying the bills. Any vegetable that I’ve dropped into the ground usually involved some kind of plant that could endure the grueling Texas heat. This usually meant peppers of all varieties, a potato or two, and maybe something from the onion/garlic family. I know tomatoes are said to do well in our summers, but I don’t like eating tomatoes. Of course, when I can manage to irrigate them properly, I’m always growing herbs…I tend to have a lot of success growing warm season herbs such as rosemary, sage, oregano, thyme and basils.
With the state of the world in 2020, I’ve had the opportunity to work from home and sharpen my growing skills. I’m happy to report that mostly everything I’ve grown from seed this year has survived with the attention given them. I have lost very little in terms of new and existing outdoor/landscape plants as well.
With achievement under my belt, I’ve set out to grow some cole crops (vegetables I’ve always wanted to grow and eat) starting the fall/winter season. I anticipate starting in the cooler climate will guarantee me some vegetable harvests by next year, especially growing broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, and Asian cabbages.
I’ve done my research by this list of resources to help plan with vegetable growing in my zone for this season.
I recently learned of a work perk offered for free through my job. I recently signed up for online courses with Start Organic. I’ve been attending webinars hosted by the Start Organic team to learn about urban organic vegetable gardening. If your workplace/company offers this educational course to its employees, it’s well worth participating in if you’re interested in learning to start organic gardening.
I’m bound and determined to grow nasturtiums this year. I had some old packets of Alaska Variegated, but turns out they were too old to germinate. So I picked up several packets at Calloway’s and online from Amazon. While seed shopping I also picked up Spinach and Lettuce seeds, along with bunching onions, chives, marigolds and coneflower seeds. I’m also looking forward to my order from Baker Creek Heirloom seeds, consisting of baby bok and Chinese broccoli, coming soon!
As it turns out, my last seed starting venture left me with a lot of unsprouted soil blocks: arugula, spinach, bok choy, and various types of basil. Cleaning out the old seeds from my collection turned out to be a simple matter of dumping packets into wet paper towels and storing them in plastic zip lock bags.
No surprise here…well except for a single spinach seed that germinated. It just wasn’t worth the effort to keep it.
I also started another flat of soil blocks. The Parris Cos lettuce germinated within a few days. I’m hoping that the basils germinate. I also broke out the fenugreek seeds and sowed them in a pot. I purchased these seeds from Amazon pantry a few years ago, which sold them as spices. But whole fenugreek can also grown from these spice seeds. Even as sprouts, they are very fragrant.
If this batch of soil blocks fails to produce any basil, I may have to run them all through the paper towel method. I’m still hopeful I’ll get some to germinate. Stay tuned.
Hostas are the last major addition I’m looking forward to dropping in the shade bed. I chased down a Facebook group that lists a variety of hosta sources. Island Breeze, Hans and Dancing Darling are enroute to me, courtesy of Tims Hosta Farm.
My lemon balm seed starting efforts have been frustrating. It’s the only seed that haven’t germinated. Either this is harder than I thought or the lemon balm seed I have today are probably too old. So I found Hayefield’s shop on Etsy and purchased some All Gold lemon balm, along with Golden Jubilee Agastache and Variegated Prunella.
I am highly nervous that the pineapple sages that I planted in 2018 aren’t going to return, so I’m trying to source either plants or seed. Luckily one of my fave online plant catalogs, Colonial Creek Farm, has them sale. I picked up two Golden Delicious pineapple sages, along with white anouk lavender, curly mint and pineapple mint.
Last are the impulse buys from big box stores and the local Calloway’s: herbs, pepper plants and tomatoes.
It’s amazing what stay-in-place means for my gardening hobby. I actually get to garden!
Of course, strange days also brings strange weather. I can’t recall the last time I saw April temps dip down into the 30s, but here we are mid-April with overnight temps reminiscent of winter.
It’s a much welcome change from the 100 degree plus Aprils I’ve seen in years past.
But back to the topic of seedlings. I started some seed on 3/31 and here we are about 2 weeks later. Thanks to IG gardenspo, I had to have me some Fish Pepper seeds, which led me to Baker Creek Heirloom Seed, where I bought more than I planned. I never imagined myself growing tomatillos, but I read somewhere that it (along with radishes) would make great pest-attractors and ward pests from companion crops. So into the basket went Purple Tomatillos and Japanese Wasabi Radishes, along with Thai Long Green (Green Elephant Tusk) Eggplant, Jigsaw Pepper, Lemon Bee Balm, Korean Hyssop, and Sirius Blue Sage. Baker Creek also dropped a couple of free seed packets, which I’m still debating on planting.
I was also able to source Strawberry Fields gomphrena…which I’m happy to report, have germinated as well. In fact, all of the seed I sourced from Baker Creek have germinated successfully under grow lights, compared to some older seed that either struggled or haven’t come up at all. The radish germinated in as little as 3 days, which provided near-instant gratification.
I direct sowed the Baker Creek lemon bee balm into the garden bed, along with some Outside Pride Mexican Sunflower seeds (sourced from Amazon in 2017) earlier in the month. Nothing has come up as of yet, but I made sure to mark the spot with a pot of wild bee balm purchased from Painted Flower Farm on 4/7.
Anywho, with this cold snap, I’d better go water the plants! More field notes coming soon!