Gardening: Trial and Error

People buy one houseplant, let it die, and swear never to try out their green thumb ever again.  It seems as if they just wanted something pretty in their vision, but failed to recognize their plant as a living, breathing thing which, believe it or not, has preferences! I’ve killed plants too. However, I always try to find out the root of it (har har). Was it the pH level of the soil that didn’t fit the plants needs? Did I water the plant too much or too little (in most cases, it seems as if people are watering their houseplants entirely too much).  The reason gardening is so much fun is because you can try experiments. Most people don’t think about growing plants in the wintertime, however, if you ever wanted a time to try things out, this season is ironically the time to do so.  You could set up something simple indoors, like planters on a shelf in your kitchen or perhaps a small heat lamp in a vacant spot. There are several plants that you can try out indoors in the wintertime---lemon balm, parsley, potatoes…etc. You can plant rosemary and other herbs and enjoy it fresh rather than dried. If you manage to care for your plants all winter (if they die, replant), you can even transplant them outside in the spring to enjoy indefinitely (or perhaps until the winter frost). If you are in the Philadelphia area, I would encourage and help anyone get started in gardening.

There has been lots of trial and error going on over here. For one, we sowed the first batch of our winter garden seeds under the grow light. The sprouts look great (see above). Valeriana (corn salad) has been the least successful thus far, with only two seeds germinating, which are in the same one out of five cups. Tatsoi, mustard, miner’s lettuce, and wild arugula are a handful of our seedlings, and we have plans for even more. A winter garden, like most gardening activities that people are intimidated by, is very simple and easy.

You do not need electricity, nor do you need any high technology. A winter garden is as simple as this: creating an environment, preferably in the south side of your yard where it will get the warmest, most giving winter sun, and a lid for raised bed composed of wood that has a window for light. That’s it. A big thanks to my friend, Shane, who helped (essentially built the entire thing with my measly help here and there) Matt and I build our first winter cold frame in his impressive woodworking workshop. I am still working on transplanting it from Langhorne, PA to home though….transplant to transplant!

Matt ordered some amazing “breeds” of garlic from Seed Savers Exchange. We planted them all around the garden for spring, as well as cooked a delicious dinner. I never knew garlic could had a spicier side, and I can’t wait to have some of this pop up in the spring, after a long winter.

I’ve been drawing lots of plants, but haven’t felt like scanning anything. Perhaps tomorrow!

Flowered Broccoli

-Melissa