Outside Snow, Inside Planting

Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Day before Waning Moon
Fourth Quarter Moon in Capricorn
Celtic Tree Month of Rowan

Laugh all you like, but two little mcintosh apple shoots, three little pear shoots, and two pepper plant shoots have come up!

Nothing from the garlic yet, and I also planted small carrots and radishes.

Radishes are supposed to be easy, but I am the only person on the planet who can’t successfully grow a radish. I’m determined to change that!

Snowing heavily today — I’ll be shoveling, and the local wildlife will shelter under the deck again, I’m sure.


First Shoots

Saturday, January 25, 2014
Third Quarter Waning Moon in Scorpio
Celtic Tree Month of Rowan
Cloudy and cold

The first little shoots have come up from the early-planted seeds! I already mentioned that a couple of the mcintosh apple seeds sprouted. So have three of the pear seeds.

I planted some garlic cloves, to see if anything would come up. It’s waning moon, a time to plant anything that does most of its production UNDER the surface.

In the Snowstorm. . .

. . . I’m dreaming of flowers.

Jan. 18, 2014: Apples and Lemons and Pears

Saturday, January 18, 2014
Third Quarter Moon in Leo
Jupiter Retrograde
Celtic Tree Month of Birch
Cloudy and cold

Three of the Macintosh apple seeds I planted a couple of weeks ago have sprouted. I’m pretty excited. What comes after that, who knows, but this part is fun.

Today, I planted some pear seeds (one of which started sprouting in water), the rest of the mac apple seeds, and the seeds from the peppers I grew last year. I SHOULD have planted them two days ago, on the full moon in Cancer and didn’t — hopefully planting them in Leo won’t be a problem.

I’m thinking about setting up a grow light and starting some other seeds early, too, especially greens, so I can keep planting every few weeks and have a lot of edible greens this year.

Every spring, usually around the equinox, I do a big cleaning/repotting thing — my many lemon plants definitely need repotting this year. All of those were grown from seeds from lemons I got at the store. Hopefully, they’ll grow up and have lemons of their own someday! The tangerine tree (which I started from seeds from store-bought tangerines about four years ago, when we first moved here or just before) is doing really well, and will also need replanting soon.

The bamboo I was gifted with while still working on MISS SAIGON (which closed in 2000) is still going strong. Other bamboo I’ve purchased since hasn’t survived, but I’d like to start or get another plant in time for Chinese New Year at the next new moon at the end of the month.

I’m still battling with the decisions of what it’s practical to plant this year and what I WANT to plant. I have to mix in some out-of-the-box stuff, or I’ll be disappointed. But, as far as edibles, it makes sense to plant what I actually like to eat, and what I use most in cooking. I definitely want to expand the medicinal herbs this year, but they seem to do better in pots.

The fantasy/design portion of winter is one of my favorite parts of gardening!

Do I Plant Something So I Can Write About It?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Second Quarter Moon in Cancer
Jupiter Retrograde
Celtic Tree Month of Birch
Sunny and pleasant

I didn’t post on Saturday. I didn’t have much to say. I nearly went ahead and planted something just to have something to write about.

In any case, the macintosh apple seeds are being gently tended; today I’ll plant some pear seeds from a gift of pears we had at the holidays. One of them is sprouting; we’ll see.

One of the interesting things is to see which of the foods we get from outside sources is fertile, and which is not. That’s part of the experiment.

I’m trying to figure out what to plant this year. What do I eat most? Tomatoes, eggplants, leeks, radishes, carrots are right up there. We had a great year for tomatoes last year — my only real limitation is space. It was a lousy year for eggplants and zucchini, a good year for peppers. For some reason, although radishes and carrots are supposedly easy to grow, I am the exception and can’t seem to grow decent ones of either.

That doesn’t mean I won’t try again!

I want to grow leeks this year. And more Asian vegetables, such as bok choy (which did pretty well) and lemongrass. I’d like to grow celery, and maybe garlic and onions.

I was light on the herbs last year — most of them did not grow well. I’m hoping for a better herb year this year.

I’m trying to decide what I’ll plant on Imbolc, the important celebration of “what stirs beneath” — it needs to be something important to me, but something likely to grow well!

Decisions, decisions . . .

Starting the Planting In Spite of the Weather

Wednesday, January 8, 2014
First Quarter Moon in Aries
Jupiter Retrograde
Celtic Tree Month of Birch
Sunny and cold

Yes, it is far too early to plant, and it is the moon sign of Aries, not necessarily the best planting sign. But I kept some seeds from Macintosh apples I bought at the store, and they sprouted in water, so I stuck them in little pots and we’ll see.

My many lemon plants and my lime and tangerine plants all came from seeds of the store-bought fruit. Why not give it a go?

Hopefully, something will come up!

Meanwhile, I’m trying to figure out the ratio between the plants I want for my perfect fantasy garden, the plants I need because I use them most, and what I can afford for spring!

Visions of Tomatoes Dancing in My Head

Saturday, January 4, 2014
First Quarter Waxing Moon in Aquarius
Jupiter Retrograde
Celtic Tree Month of Birch
Snowy and Cold

The seed catalogs are arriving daily, and I’m immersing myself in garden-planning porn.

Of course, I don’t plan my garden properly. I don’t sit there and figure out bed sizes and how much room I’m going to use for each plant and so on and so forth, the way I’m supposed to.

I fantasize about enough plants to fill the Botanical Garden and a good-sized farm site, then winnow it down to what I can afford, and then buy/start whatever I can and arrange it from there. I keep promising myself that when I own my own house and land, things will change, but I won’t know that until I get there.

2013 was a terrific year for tomatoes. I only grew two kinds and I only grew them in pots, but we got such a grand harvest it was December by the time we were finished. I didn’t grow enough to can or make sauce, but I grew enough to enjoy from mid-summer into December. Considering there were only Beefsteak and Roma, and five pots with three plants each in them, I think that’s pretty good.

I will definitely grow both of those kinds of tomatoes again this year. I did not get my hands on the seeds for the Principa Borghese tomatoes, which I loved the year before. I didn’t grow any Silvery Fir because, although the plants were gorgeous, I was disappointed in the taste of the actual tomatoes.

So what others should I try? Sun gold? Early girl? Every catalog has dozens of varieties, and they make my mouth water. I do want to stick to organic and/or heirloom varieties. I’m going to start the plants earlier and inside this year. I also have to make sure I don’t overdo it — I’m limited in the number of oversized, tomato-friendly pots I can have, and experience has taught me that the tomatoes much prefer residing on the covered deck than out in the vegetable bed or in pots near the terraced wall.

Hopefully, the basil will do better this year, and be happy with the tomatoes. I tried growing six different kinds of basil last year, some with tomatoes, some independently, and NONE of them came up. I was NOT a happy camper. The marigolds, however, went above and beyond to keep the tomatoes company.

Which variety of tomatoes are your favorites, and why?

New Year on a New Moon!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014
New Moon in Capricorn
Celtic Tree Month of Birch

Isn’t it cool that the new moon is on the first day of the year? Great time to recommit and start new projects, including the commitment to this blog.

Winter is a great time to dream of the next garden and plan it. The seed catalogs arrive every day. My fantasies will be limited by my budget, I’m afraid.

I also want to be somewhat practical — the plants I like and use the most should be the ones I focus on, and if there’s room and money for others, than I can expand.

My urn broke, out front — I’ll have to replace that, unfortunately. But, that’s the way it goes sometimes.

In the meantime,during dark and dreary days, I try let myself dream and design my fantasy gardens!

How do you plan your next garden?