Yesterday I raced home from work to get outside in the garden. I'm trying to incorporate some better gardening practices into my little space this year, so I started by working in some organic fertilizer. It looked like dirt and smelled like poop, so it certainly seemed organic.
Spreading fertilizer necessitated a call to Miracle Grow's toll-free number. No matter how many times I read the bag, the information I needed wasn't there. The bag said to use 1/3 c. for vegetable gardens. Nowhere did it say how many square feet that covered. Was it 1/3 c. for the whole bed? What if your bed was small and your neighbor's was big? Was it 1/3 c. per plant (which seemed crazy)? The nice Miracle Grow lady looked up my product and told me to put 2.25 T. per square foot for new vegetables and less for established gardens.
The soil looks great. The compost that we picked up from the city is so much better than the soil I have in my backyard, which is equal parts rocks, roots, and clay.
The seedlings did much better this year with the addition of a grow light. These Napa Grape tomato plants did especially well.
The tomatoes that are the smallest are the Brandy Boy, which are on the left side of the planter above. I'll need to keep an eye on them and perhaps replace them with plants from a nursery. I only had room to plant eight tomato plants, so I'm planning to give the rest to a friend at work.
A couple hours later, I was finished with the garden (at least until I buy a couple more plants), had planted the hellebore, sprinkled some sunflower seeds amidst a bunch of weeds and wished them the best, repotted the begonia, and watered everything. I was filthy and sweaty and happy.
The irony that the plant that looks the best in that picture is the oregano I purchased is not lost on me. I'm trying to focus on how much better my seedlings look this year compared to last year.
This square is mostly peppers with some garlic in the front corner and peas struggling in the back. I may have planted them too early this year, or it may just be that the seeds I used from last year weren't able to sprout this year.
I had a couple of mystery plants show up in the potting tray, so I stuck them in the ground and will see what happens. I accept that it is possible I just carefully transplanted weeds.
Before I went inside for the night, I sprayed the perimeter of the little garden with Liquid Fence, a horrible concoction of nastiness that is supposed to smell so badly to animals that they'll leave your plants alone. I know that I certainly didn't want to hang around the garden after I sprayed it, and they said that animals are sensitive to the smell long after it's faded enough to not bother humans. Here's hoping.
Every year I say I'm going to do things better outside, and this year is no exception. Here are my goals, some of which are met and some of which will take work throughout the summer:
- Use a grow light for the seedlings and transplant them to roomier digs when necessary. Check.
- Pick up more compost from the city and add it to the garden and front flower bed. Check.
- Water the hellebore more regularly so it doesn't meet the fate of my first one.
- Water the front flower beds even though it's a pain to get the hose there.
- Check the garden every day--just a little walk-by to see if any plants are having problems, need to be trained in a different direction, etc.
- Fertilize. Check for initial application. I need to check my notes from class to see when it needs to be done again.