Brown thumbs crossed

Posted May 25th, 2010

Brown thumbs crossed

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Who am I kidding? I am not a gardener, though I fancied myself one this weekend as I went about My Garden Take Two.

Last summer's rain and cool temperatures nipped this budding green thumb, well, in the bud. But this year, with preliminary forecasts promising warmth and dryness by comparison, I was eager to give it a go again. So I got planting this past weekend, much like everyone else with a patch of earth holding the promise of (plant) life. I have herbs galore: chamomile, cinnamon basil, Thai basil, lavender, catnip (I'm thinking there's some homemade tea in my future, provided my Triumvirate of kitties doesn't devour the catnip first).

For veggies, the leafy greens are well-represented with red kale I bought from Linda, dock, which, when eaten young, is like spinach, chard and broccoli greens. One of my chard plants that I kept indoors over winter is turning to seed, so I'm hopeful I'll have chard plants for years to come with the seed I will save. I love chard, not only for its taste but because even in horrid conditions, I can grow it.

Time For Grub Blogs - dock
My dock, which tastes as good as it looks and it's a perennial.

My peas seem to be doing well, though I could be deluding myself. I've heard some people talk of already having picked some peas from their garden. Mine appear a long way off from that prospect. Hey, I already have an excuse lined up if this garden turns out to be a bust: it's the big tree in my yard blocking out much needed sun. Yup, that's it. The tree. (This is why I've also planted much of my crop in pots, so I can move them to follow the rays, but shhh. Must blame the tree if all else fails).

Time For Grub Blogs - basil

Garlic, I've discovered, appears to be relatively idiot-proof because it seems to be growing well. Lucky me! So My Garden Take Three (next year's incarnation) could be garlic and chard only. I'll still be happy if that's the case, since I love both so much.

I have salad seeded in pots and cauliflower growing in pots, too. There's also my experimental carrot, still plugging along. I'm just waiting to see if I will get seed from it and what will happen when I plant those seeds. The carrot was in my fridge when it started going to seed, not long after bringing it home from the grocery store. Let's see if those Holland Marsh babies can take root here in Niagara.

I have a sad looking tomato plant that I was too embarrassed to photograph (not one of Linda's, though I scored many of her plants for my sister, who, boo to her, grows things with ease) and my tiny naga jalokia — the world's hottest pepper — which no garden is complete without.

No matter what, I doubt I'll ever really give up trying to garden. I love the dirt under my fingernails — a sign of productivity more than a reflection of my personal hygiene, and a signal of the connection I'm trying to forge with my food. I love the feeling of being outside, watching my garden grow, my cat, Otis, by my side or lounging on a stepping stone. I consider him my co-gardener because he spends as much time checking up on things in my tiny patch as I do.

Here's the rest of this year's gardening glory in pictures. I figure I might as well get in a few shots now, while everything is young and vibrant, before any chance of it dying on me. I'll keep you posted. Meanwhile, here's to the best growing season yet!

Time For Grub Blogs - basil
My cinnamon basil, which I'm curious to try in a dish soon. It's supposed to be good with fruit.

Time For Grub Blogs - leaf broccoli
The young, tender shoots of my leaf broccoli.

Time For Grub Blogs - young cauliflower
When this young shoot grows up, it should provide me with a head of cauliflower.

Time For Grub Blogs - chamomile
My chamomile — it smells lovely and soothing.

Time For Grub Blogs - chard
My trusty chard turning to seed, ensuring future generations of its leafy green glory.

Time For Grub Blogs - carrot
My experimental carrot. No garden is complete without one.

Time For Grub Blogs - garlic
My garlic. Grows so well, it makes me look like a gardening genius. Sort of.

Time For Grub Blogs - red kale
My red kale, so full of promise.

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