How Do I Choose?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Waxing Moon n Aries
Celtic Tree month of Birch
Snowy, slushy, and cold

The seed catalogues have arrived. For years, I ordered seed catalogues, fantasized mightily about a lovely garden “someday”, ordered a packet or two of seeds who’d sprout and fade.

This year, I’ve actually got a place to put seeds and containers and all that good stuff. I also have a budget.

I could blow my entire budget on seeds alone.

However, I’ve also got to think about patio furniture and garden statuary and hoses and other things that will keep the garden alive.

On the Holly Walk at Ashumet Sanctuary back in early December, the leader mentioned that things often transplant on the Cape better than growing from seed. Which, to me, means that I should purchase the common herbs as much as possible already in small little pots and just transplant them to my containers. The strawberry plants will come as plants, and I’ve got my eye on a sweet huckleberry bush that is suited for container growing.

So now, it comes to the rest of them. How do I choose?

First, I want to pick a handful of vegetables that aren’t too hard to grow and that I will eat: Two kinds of tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, peppers, and I’ve always wanted to grow my own pumpkins. I’d like to also grow some sort of cress and maybe a lettuce.

Herb-wise, I need to grow the herbs that I use, which may not be easy to find around here as plants. I’ll buy rosemary, sage, thyme, oregano, basils, the usual culinary herbs in pots and transplant them to containers. I want to try several types of lavenders, and I need bee balm, lemon balm, lemon verbena, a variety of mints, hyssop, and a host of other things. As I take herbal classes in and around the Cape, I’ll realize what I need more for my work. Also, some of the herbs have varied uses, some are kind of borderline and I have to check to find out which (if any) are illegal to grow in the state of MA. I stay away from most of the baneful herbs because there’s too much wildlife and too many domestic pets who might get out and eat something they shouldn’t — but there are a few that are extremely useful in a positive way but can be misused, and I just have to do some more research.

And then, flowers. I’m going to buy impatiens and petunias and the like as small plants, but there are a few I want to try from seed.

Correction: There are too many I want to try from seed.

I also want to have a container for a very specific purpose with specific shade plants in it, in whites, greens, and grays, in the one shady spot on the property. Most of those I won’t find from plants, and I’m having trouble finding some of the seeds.

So, I’m sitting here, making my lists, comparing catalogue to catalogue, making my “master list” and then winnowing things down.

Because Imbolc isn’t that far away, and the very first seeds have to planted in the ceremony.

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Wednesday, January 12, 2011 « Ink In My Coffee
  2. Diane
    Jan 12, 2011 @ 15:13:21

    I have a very small space for gardening, now, and, as you know there’s just the one of me. I’m also a total finick regarding veg, but I do like fruit. I’ve had a massive vegetable plot in the past, but I also had a husband at the time who would eat anything, so I grew a lot of vegetables and a wide range too.

    Now I have a very tight budget and I’m starting from scratch. From my parents for Christmas 2 years ago I bought 2 large containers and a minarette apple tree for each. Those need the compost changing now and a bit of nutrition injected into the soil.

    I try not to grow anything that I wouldn’t eat, which would defeat the object, but I also want to grow a few things that I’ve not tried before but that I think I will like.

    I’m waiting for an organic seed catalogue, but for this first year I think I’ve pretty much settled on what I can get for free or special offer, which at the moment includes another choice of potatoes for just p&p (but this one comes with fewer potatoes but a container to grow them in, and 10 packets of free seeds instead of the 5 packets that were coming with the other), 3 raspberry canes for P&P, and whatever free seeds come on the front of my Kitchen Garden magazine.

    I’ll be growing tomatoes, potatoes, raspberries, apples, and strawberries definitely, and I’ll also be companion-growing some traditional kitchen garden flowers such as sweet peas, nasturtiums, scented stock and marigolds, which all attract the right kind of insect as well as make excellent cut flowrs. I’ll only have a few herbs at first and I’m going to try some lettuces because theyr’e cut-and-come-again throughout the summer months.

    And that’s enough for me to be going on with. Any more and I’ll need to get a garden shed for storage and sowing/potting.

    It’s hard to choose but I work better starting small, seeing how I go, and then moving up.

    Good luck!

    Reply

  3. devonellington
    Jan 12, 2011 @ 16:16:16

    Yeah, I’m worried about starting too much and not being able to keep up. Also, since I don’t own the property, other than the vegetables, I can’t really plant bushes or trees in-ground — I have to do everything in containers.

    I agree- I don’t want to grow what I won’t eat.

    Reply

  4. Spinneret
    Jan 13, 2011 @ 00:17:23

    For the love of all that you hold dear – put. mints. in. containers! Lemon balm is a type of mint too. Square stems = mint.
    Cress – most types will want a spot with some reliable moisture. Not talking a bog for water cress, but somewhere you can water easily or is by it’s nature the last place in the yard to dry out.
    Hyssops are always lovely, will spread if allowed and birds love the seeds. Remember the ring of hyssop back by my raised beds?
    Cucumbers, 3 plants max. 5 plants is too many unless you really like pickles and making them. 21 quarts of cucumbers is feasible on a weekly basis from 5 plants. That’s a lot of cuke’s.
    I believe I may have just this week put the last of the tomatoes to rest. Heed my words.

    Reply

  5. devonellington
    Jan 15, 2011 @ 14:18:59

    Thank you so much. This is a big help. I didn’t realize that hyssops will spread, too. Good to know.

    And I didn’t realize how few cukes I need for a good harvest. I love cucumbers, hate pickles, so I will take that into consideration!

    Reply

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