I love gardening. I love every step and stage of planning, planting, composting, mulching, tilling, harvesting, drying, and eating. Honestly, who isn’t instantly comforted by carefully tended rows of glowing produce with the gentle hum of bees and the occasional squawk of a free-ranging chicken? Forget the old adage of the doctor telling his/her patient to go home and get a dog — why not go home and plant a garden? This stuff is photosynthesized Prozac, I tell you.
I actually get quite a few emails and phone calls regarding gardening and while I am the first to admit that I am no master gardener — I’m happy to tell you what we have tried and the results of our labors. I’m also happy to throw some awesome books at you. I love books, too. Having gardened in several different climates, I’m starting to realize that my knowledge base on gardening had a super jumpstart. Go Army, eh?
In Georgia, February is the month to start the seed boxes. Peppers and eggplants are the first to be planted in my mini-greenhouses (which I reuse year after year) because they take eight weeks to grow from seed to transplant size. Two weeks after starting the peppers and eggplants, I plant the tomatoes (which take six weeks to grow to transplant size). When the seedlings form their third set of true leaves, I transplant them into individual containers where they can mature a bit more before planting them after all fear of frost has passed.
Toward the end of February, I plant a few seed boxes with herbs in a soiless mix. Generally, I plant the basics: mint, catnip, dill, oregano, cilantro, sage, thyme, and basil from seed. I’ve been known to purchase tarragon and rosemary from a greenhouse instead of starting them from seed.
At this point, I also plant my lettuce, radishes, English peas, and spinach. These are sown directly into the raised beds and then protected by blueberry netting which keeps the birds from laying on them and digging them up. In practically no time, they have sprouted and then I get to play Darwin and select which sprouts are fit to survive. That is one of my favorite parts of gardening. *evil cackles* Because I am a big ol’ softie, most of them are chosen and then we must find homes for them so they have adequate room for growing.
I’m also a big believer in planting containers and then breaking up the seedlings so they have more growing room upon transplanting. You’ve probably noticed the labeling. I’m a wee mite OCD about labeling the plants. When I have different varieties of the same plant (like basil), I usually label them with their recommended uses. But then I completely forget to transfer the label when I move the plants. We never claimed perfection.
But let’s be honest… who really cares about perfection when there are goofy chickens running around?
Tell me all about your garden plans!