Monday, May 2, 2011

2nd Annual Container Garden

Last spring The Mr. decided to grow a few herbs and vegetables. He started from seeds, waited for them to sprout, and then planted the viable seedlings in containers. We kept the smaller pots in our little red Radio Flyer wagon so that we could roll them over to the hose easily for watering.

Here are our results from last year:

  • The cilantro was extremely successful and we enjoyed being able to walk outside and snip what we needed at any time.
  • The jalapeno plant gave us one lonely pepper. Not sure what went wrong there.
  • The zucchini plant bore several fruits. Some were normal to giganto, and others grew wide instead of long. (That's what she said. Ha!)
  • Several baby green peppers popped out but they didn't grow into anything edible.
  • The basil seeds never sprouted, so that was a total bust.

This year since I'm not working, I was unofficially put in charge of the garden. I purchased several seed packets and proceeded to look at them sitting on the counter for several weeks. I'm a procrastinator, you know, and I was not excited about doing the gardening, so I procrastinated. And secretly I hoped that The Mr. would take over the process since it was his baby last year ... but no dice.

One day during my procrastinating period, I happened along Martha Stewart on TV saying that she purchases small pots of veggies, fruits and herbs every year and plants them in her garden. I figured if Martha doesn't start from seeds, why should I?!


I didn't buy the same plants Martha did because those came special-order from a swanky nursery in New England. Instead, I purchased my plant starts at my local super-grocery's lawn center. Because I was already there buying groceries, ya know?

This year we're going to try:
  • Zucchini
  • Red peppers
  • Jalapenos
  • Cilantro
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes
  • Basil
Most of the plants I purchased from the garden center were in peat pots that are biodegradable. I was very excited to see those since I'm a wannabe tree-hugger.

The strawberry plant was already in a special strawberry pot. I have no experience growing strawberries, but I know I like to eat them! There are already a few baby strawberries growing on the plant, so I'm excited to see what becomes of them under my care.

I decided to try one plant from seeds, and that will be zucchini. I planted 32 seeds today, so hopefully a few will sprout.

Over the past couple years, we have been making more and meals that come from fresh ingredients, rather than canned or boxed. We look forward to making our homemade guacamole (best EH-VUH) with the jalapeno, tomato and cilantro. I can't wait to have my first zucchini pie of the season. (Yes, people, it's green. And it's freaking good. I first tried it when I was seven years old and I couldn't believe I liked it.) Maybe I'll even make my own strawberry preserves this year, using the same method my grandmother used to. Red pepper goes into our stir-fry. The basil will be tasty in the sauce of our homemade Chicago-style pizza. (Ohhhhh yeaaaaaahhhh.)

Jealous? You should be. We make some good stuff. My coworkers used to ooh and aah over my leftovers at lunch time.

Have you or do you grow your own culinary plants? Please share any tricks or tips you have, as we are most definitely novices around here. I'll be sure to share some pics once we get something harvested!


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