Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Growing Challenge: Stuff to Grow and April Snow


Here in the Puget Sound Region, we don't generally get snow in April....heck...we generally don't get snow at all! The last two days, however, have been incredibly frustrating to nursery owners and gardeners alike. I took a jaunt over to the local nursery who was having a 20% off everything sale early yesterday morning. The snow was coming down, and much of the pretty pansies, veggie starts, and other spring flowering plants at the nursery were being crushed under the weight of the fallen snow. It was a pretty sad sight. I am thankful at the fact I have not yet attempted to plant anything outside yet, and with El Nino predicted to last through July, I am wondering if cool weather crops might be the rage this year.

Indoors, where it is nice and warm, I have started my first pickling cucumber seeds ever, purchased from http://www.seedsaverexchange.com. Grown in expanding jiffy pots on a kitchen table, they are just starting to peek out of the soil.

As part of The Growing Challenge, I am attempting to grow some new edible things this year not previously grown in the past. Last year, I tried my hand at some container gardening, and successfully grew 4 large and loaded healthy tomato plants, a bunch of lettuce, green beans, peas, strawberries, chives, basil and a pepper plant.

This year, I would like to try my hand at squarefoot or biointensive gardening, and have purchased my seeds this year from seedsaverexchange and www.parkseeds.com

Here is a list of what I will attempt to grow this year:

I purchased from Seed Saver Exchange the following:

German Butterball Potato
Red Gold Potato
Borettana Yellow Onion
Ireland Creek Annie’s Bean (Eating/Soup Bean)
Calypso Bean (Eating/Soup Bean)
Waltham Butternut Squash
Black Beauty Zucchini Squash
Empress Bean (Green Bean)
Autumn Beauty Sunflower

From Park Seed I purchased the following:

Lettuce Little Gem (to go with my miniature garden and the tom thumb peas I saved from last year)

Swiss Chard Bright Lights

Corn Early Sunglow Hybrid (for fast, early germination in cold weather)

Cucumber Bush Pickle Hybrid

Cucumber Eureka Hybrid

Lettuce Buttercrunch

Lettuce Red Sails

Pea Green Arrow (powdery mildew resistant! Last year’s seed saver variety failed because of powdery mildew)

Carrot Scarlet Nantes (problems last year with seed savers)

Arugula

Dill

Kale Winter Hybrid

Then, I plan on planting 4 tomatoes again this year from my local nursery, and getting some peppers, basil, oregano, chives, and nasturtiums

Continuing from last year are all my strawberries.

Most of what I am doing is growing in containers, and I just found out a way to grow corn in containers…will attempt it this year! Still debating on ripping up part of the lawn for raised beds. We are determining whether or not to move. If we move, my garden will temporarily move to my grandma’s home where she has a large amount of garden property. I just can’t stand not having a garden!

Doing research into soil improvement, and high yield biointensive gardening.