Growing Your Own

8 May

Maeve had been trying to start some seeds out in the raised vegetable beds we built (in the loosest sense of the word) a few weeks ago, but nothing seemed to be really taking.  In characteristic interest of efficiency (read: laziness), I decided to get some starts instead.  Brett was also convinced that the soil we had delivered wasn’t all that great and we needed some compost.

So Saturday morning I headed out to Home Depot and came home with four bags of compost and a variety of veggie starts.  After mixing in the compost (nothing like running your hands through old cow poop), I started planting.

Heavy on the tomatoes because I love them!  I planted four different kinds (Roma, Grape, Purple Cherokee and Black Zebra) in one box.  I also dedicated one box to herbs:  a few sweet basil plants, a few cilantro (which I find so hard to grow), flat leaf parsley, greek oregano and onion chives.  The third box was dedicated to spinach and loads of swiss chard, a favorite around here.  And the final box, lots and lots of broccoli, Japanese cucumbers, zucchini and green beans.

I really enjoyed doing it because I planted everything in these nice neat rows and I just like looking at them.  That was until I opened a post from the blog Matter Observed to see that I had pretty much done it wrong.   I should have mixed up the plants more, larger with smaller instead of planting by kind.  I think that I will go get some kale and carrot seeds since I forgot those favorites and plant them between the tomatoes and maybe the cukes and zucchini.  Who knows what will happen.  I’ll keep you posted on the great experiment.  In the meantime, check out the infographic from Matter Observed and get started the right way!


8 Responses to “Growing Your Own”

  1. HL May 18, 2012 at 9:21 pm #

    Dana’s advice is just right, and in addition to pinching back the cilantro, you should do the same with your basil. Unlike cilantro, basil does like heat and sun, and it does the best when you prune it pretty aggressively. The first year I grew it, I was gentle and tried only to take a few leaves here and there. The plants got tall and leggy and never had many leaves. Then I did some research and the next year, I started pinching them back early and often, and ended up with basil bushes, more than I could ever possibly use.

    As an aside, I just found your site because my husband and I are buying a MCM rambler in Seattle and I’m all excited about decorating it, so I was googling for MCM house blogs. So glad I did — I’m working my way back through all your posts and I love what you’ve done with your place!

    • Brandy May 21, 2012 at 1:17 pm #

      Hi Heather…
      Sorry for the delayted response! Thanks for the advice on the cilantro. Glad you are enjoying the blog. PLease keep us updateddon the progress with your home too!

  2. Ida May 8, 2012 at 9:42 am #

    Also, a little early for tomatoes to do well. They make a red plastic that you can put on the ground around them and red wraps that you stake around them to keep them warmer. Some think it works just as well to put black plastic around the ground. Main thing, our nights are still too cold for them to begin to thrive without some warmer clothes.

    • Brandy May 8, 2012 at 9:48 am #

      Good to know! I will do that!

  3. janisnicolay May 8, 2012 at 8:29 am #

    I’m happy to know I’m not the only one who finds cilantro difficult to grow! You’ve inspired me to get my vegetables planted soon! I may even try to build a raised bed. Hmmm.

    • Brandy May 8, 2012 at 9:45 am #

      Why is it so hard? Mine gets all leggy and thin. I want a big cilantro bush. I wonder how to make that happen. Good luck on the raised beds. It’s totally worth it!

      • Dana@Mid2Mod May 8, 2012 at 10:23 am #

        Plants that have a tendency to get leggy and thin have to be pinched back regularly to encourage them to fill out at the bottom. A general rule is to start pinching it back when it gets 5 or 6 nice branches at the bottom, so it will grow out rather than up. Legginess can also be a sign of too little sun. Cilantro doesn’t like hot sun either and will burn easily, so morning sun is probably best for it.

      • Brandy May 8, 2012 at 10:47 am #

        Also good to know! And in the NW, lack of sun can definitely be a factor! Will let you know how it goes.

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