I have been running around all weekend like a chicken with its head cut off and still, here I am at ten on Sunday morning and I have to get to the grocery store and pick up some before company gets here. I haven’t swept in fourteen years, it looks like!
Okay, gardening. I haven’t yet transplanted my tomatoes, but they need it. I got NM’s tomatoes to sprout, which makes me feel like some kind of gardening god. And I need to remember to email Rachel and ask her if she’d like some tomato seedlings.
I started some herbs last weekend, too, and the seeds are so small that I’ve ended up with like a million sprouts all crammed together. I don’t know if I should thin them or if that’s what they’re supposed to do.
But, Earth, let’s talk flowers. I cannot wait for flowers. I can’t wait to watch fat bees in my yard. Hurray!
If I had to describe my flower garden tastes, I’d call it “Messy Cottage.” In the past, I’ve not been a huge fan of annuals. But I’m intrigued by this idea of annuals that reseed themselves and delighted to learn that alyssum is one of them. But mostly, my garden will be very heavy on marigolds in hopes that it will drive the moles away. We have marigold seeds out the butt. And our dear friend has sent us over a huge baggy full of marigold seeds. And they will be strewn everywhere, in hopes that they will make the grubs decide out yard tastes bad, which should encourage the moles to move elsewhere. Knock on wood.
I hope to have a lovely patch of coneflowers. I’ve got the e. tennesseensis in and a nice place for the mix I have coming, which is supposed to be six plants of six different colors and varieties. I even have a seed mix of echinacea, but considering all that, I’m kind of thinking that maybe I’ll give it to my poor flowerless neighbors, if they were serious about wanting some flower help.
I have two different kinds of rudbeckia, one that’s supposed to bloom the year it’s planted and one that’s not. I have a “daisy mix” though none of them are white, so I’m not sure what they are exactly. And I have morning glories to wrap around the bottle tree and snap dragons because I like them and hollyhocks and columbine and some stuff the Butcher picked up that is all spikey and colorful.
I’m also going to grow foxglove, though I am a little freaked out about it.
Here is my question for you. Should I put another layer of soil in the beds before I plant, do you think? Like I said yesterday, it’s only black an inch or two down. And I don’t have enough compost yet to amend the soil with it.
I’m a big believer in the more rich soil, the better.
Yep, I agree with Beth. Do whatever you can to enrich your soil before you plant.
As for the squirrely, crowded herb spouts – do thin them. They will be spindly and unhappy if you don’t.
I should be starting some seeds, myself. My, it’s so much easier to dish out advice than to actually get down to planting!
I want to grow foxglove, too, and I have some seeds, but I worry about the little neighbor girl who’s only three. Maybe I need to wait until no one nearby is liable to poison themselves.
If you don’t yet want to put another layer of soil in, when planting, just make sure you fill the holes around the new plants with richer, nice soil, rather than the brown mud.
OK, I don’t do annuals because I have no sun except on my veggies. But … while enriching the soil you have makes sense, does it really matter if you have more than a couple of inches of good, enriched soil for annuals? I didn’t think they put down all that much of a root system. So I’d say, if you’re pressed for time, energy, and compost, fix up the beds where the perennials will go and don’t worry much about the annuals.
Today I got the base of a new veggie bed leveled, right where the barbecue used to be. I’m going to make a raised bed there, and another in front of it, since while there is a lot of good-looking dirt there there’s so much gravel and glass mixed in with it that I just told myself the hell with it.
Oh, and Sungold, I see from your blog that you are my favorite little tomato. Do you grow them?
Question on the tomato seedlings – I just started mine today – how long til I see some activity above the soil? I’ve never started them from seed, so I thought I’d see what the timetable is.
I also started my basil. Yay!
I think I’m going to add a layer of dirt to everything and then hope that we get the composting going really well for next year so we can use that. But I do kind of feel like one more good layer of stuff would be good.
Beth, all of my tomatoes have sprouted after seven days. So, you should see something next weekend.
You’re kidding! That fast? Wow!
As for thinning out your herbs, I’ve never thinned anything out. You should be fine with them as they are. Also, I’ve found the more you have together in an area, the more aromatic. This is especially true with dill.
Yeah, I’m my *own* favorite little tomato, too. And yep, I grow them – along with lots of other varieties – always crowded too close together for optimal health, because I seem to have self-control issues when it comes to tomatoes.
I haven’t started my maters yet – but will in the next few days. I have a bit of a seed fetish. I’m always just amazed that they germinate.
Beth, the main advice I have is to get the best light you can. I’ve got a wire shelf unit from Lowe’s that’s rigged up with shoplights, and I use standard fluorescent bulbs – trying to keep them just a few inches above the seedlings. Window light usually is a bit weak, at least where I am (SE Ohio), and the seedlings will reach for the light and get tall and floppy. At least, that was my experience the first year I started tomatoes from seed.
Sungold – thanks! I use window light as here in TN some of my windows get blazing sun.
I also used those cardboard things from Trader Joe’s (the bell peppers and tomatoes are packaged in them) to grow my seedlings. They’re bio-degradable and compostable so I should be able to tear off the bottom and plant them directly into the ground.
If you’re giving away tomato seedlings I could use a couple. Probably a few weeks too early to transplant though. I was planning on buying some at the nursery because it’s impossible to grow any inside considering how my kiddos like to eat dirt and climb things.
W, I have the same drama with my cat ;-)
W, I think B means she needs to put seedlings out of the itty-bitty containers into larger ones. Around here, you shouldn’t put stuff like tomatoes and peppers out in the ground until after April 20 or so, unless you’ve got a cold frame or something.
And if you want to buy nursery transplants, let me once again recommend Marianna’s Heirloom Seeds out in Dickson. She has the bestest heirloom transplants for tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers, in addition to seeds.
There is a little paper daisy that is native to Australia called an Everlasting (Asteraceae Rodanthe, although there are many). It’s the cutest little thing, fits right in with a ‘Messy Cottage Garden’. In fact when I was younger my Mum planted her entire cottage garden out with them and nothing else. When they died off she replanted different things and the Everlastings came back in the gaps the next year and filled it out really well. So, obviously its an annual.
They are pretty slutty little things too but they are so sweet you can almost forgive them.
They grow the entire length of Western Australia from the deserts to the tropics to the coast, so they are pretty hardy. But I am from Perth so I know bugger all about your climate. I can guess, but my knowledge of REAL cold and frost and stuff only goes so far. And I don’t know how easily you could get your hands on them.
That is my thought for today.
Beth – Lucky you! I guess your strong sun is the compensation for summers that are hotter and more humid than ours in Ohio …
W. I think I’ll hae enough to get both you and Rachel hooked up. I just have to see if they survive being moved to bigger pots. And I guess I need to do that pretty dang soon.
Claireee, oh wow! That is a cute flower!
B, if the tiny containers you are using are plantable, you don’t have to remove the seedlings; just plant container and all in the bigger container.
Wow, replanting twice. It’s an alien concept to me. Lazyness is why I’m not much of a gardener.
Actually, it’s why I’m not much of a lot of things.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m as lazy as they come, but I may have started my tomatoes a little too early. When they said 6-8 weeks, it probably would have been better at 4. So the situation is somewhat desperate at this point.
Is the problem that they’re getting leggy but not getting any thicker in the stalk? If so, you may be able to deal with that by putting them outside in a very sunny spot completely sheltered from wind on warm days.