Monday, March 19, 2012

I guess we all knew it would come to this.

I've been gardening for a while, friends.

Which you know.

I've been vegetable gardening and testing out methods for better vegetable gardening and testing the soil for better vegetable gardening and stacking up tires inside which to grow vegetables and building contraptions for better vegetable gardening for a while, too.

Which you also know.

What I have not been doing all of this time - even though it's something that LOTS of vegetable gardeners do - is growing my own transplants.

And not like the hair ones.

Because my thought has always been, with our climate as mild as it is, that direct sowing was the way to go. Push the seeds through the pre-amended and bear-hugged soil when it warms up and let the rest happen naturally. Also, just go get tomato seedlings from the nursery or Master Gardener's freakshow sale because starting tomatoes indoors is a bit much.

Until now.

Who's to say what's *too* much.
No, now I'm irretrievably obsessed with growing transplants - particularly tomatoes.

All thanks to the one class I took at Love Apple Farms wherein Cynthia bestowed upon me the great wisdom of properly using grow lights, a fan and the outdoors, I'm growing everything under the damned sun from seed into transplants that will eventually go into the garden.

But, yes, I only have room for 2 cucumber plants, 3 pepper plants, 4 tomato plants and...that there is a LOT more than 9 plants.

It's closer to 200.

Some still need to be potted up into individual pots, so those little packs are 3 to a cell. Yikes.

Because, as it turns out, I tend to get *into* new gardening methods and then run fucking rampant with them without any regard for the final outcome.

Thankfully - as I started to border on frantic while imagining that some of my plants might have to *GASP* go into the composter - I devised a few plans.

Plans like giving them away to friends via a handy sign up form (Love you, Google Docs.) in exchange for donations to Bubba's AIDS LifeCycle event, selling them during our spring neighborhood garage sale and using them in trade for eggs and lemons from our neighbors and beekeeping EMERGENCY assistance

As it turns out, vegetable seedlings are a valuable trade commodity.


That is rude, people. I thought we were friends.

Anyway, I have a lot of tomato (and pepper, cucumber and basil) seedlings now, including some grown from the seeds I saved last year (Score one for the Finny the Full Circle Gardener) from the Pink Brandywine tomatoes and tomatillos, so I'm looking forward to a big bustling planting session in a few weeks.

Once I manage to tame and turn under the massively, oppressively, frighteningly enormous fava beans.

Yeah. I'm tempted to leave the fava beans in just to see how big they'll get, but they're starting to form pods (meaning their starting to transport the valuable nitrogen from their roots back into the plant to make beans) and I need all that nitrogen fixed in the soil, so I'll probably take them down this weekend and let them rest on/in the soil until I'm ready to test.

And I know you all are going to test your soil before planting this year, too, right?

Don't make me fucking flog you people because I will totally do it.

Or, I'll just adequately prepare you to test your soil by saying that what you need to do this is the following:
  • Get a soil test kit from either the internets or your local hardware store. OSH carries them, if you're close to an OSH. 
  • Get a big old clear jar that will hold  6+ cups of water and dirt
  • Gather up your trowel, a notebook, a pencil (like in the olden days!), maybe a calculator and some patience
And, for extra credit bonus butt punches (This is a form of reward in our house. I'll just explain that another time.):
I don't know for sure that you'll need all of these amendments, but I always do and it makes me SUPER PISSED if I need something for the garden and don't have it on hand when I'm already out there and sweaty from the sun and mad from doing math and then have to go to the effing hardware store or whatever to get it.

So just do it, peckerhead.

And then I'll send out the garden bat signal in a few weeks (it'll look shockingly like a blog post) that it's time to test and amend so that we can all get ready to rumble, gardening wise anyway.

Sound good? Thought so.


  1. My my, does this sound familiar for some reason? Except all my valuable trade commodities (i.e., excessive tomato seedlings) went right to the FFA kids in exchange for all the other seedlings I needed last year. Too bad that will not be happening this year. But then, I don't need as many of the other seedlings, either, so it's just as well.

    1. Yeah, totally thought of you when I had the "WHAT THE HELL HAVE I DONE?" crisis.

      If only you lived closer, I could send a few your way ;)

      How you feeling at this point?

  2. Do you eat any of the fava leaves? I use them as cooked greens in frittatas and "healthy" pizza (ie when we put cooked greens on the pizza with the sausage and cheese so we feel like responsible adults). Mind you, I don't have a yard, so no garden, but I get them at the farmer's market because they are sometimes the cheapest of all the greens.

    1. You know, we have, but the thing is that we usually have so many greens with the farm share coming in that I don't really *need* more greens. Though, with our month hiatus from the farm share, we may have to take down a plant or two ;)

  3. I know you may tell me to shut up but, I can grow tomatoes especially cherry ones like crazy. And I have never ever tested to soil. However that's all I can grow as they seem to take all the food away from the rest of whatever I have. Lol

    1. Well, it's not the *testing* that makes the soil good, it's what you add to it. So, if you're adding amendments (or fertilizers, organic compost, rotted manure, etc), then you probably have viable soil.

      The benefit of testing the soil is just to know how much of what nutrients need to be added back in to feed the plants that will grow. But you know this :)

  4. Oh man you and Dave could start one mean greenhouse/farm business..... Andy and I can uhmmm, provide low-cost labor?

    Miss you two ski-bunnies quite a lot.


    1. Yeah - we should talk about that...I have...plans...

      And we miss you guys quite a bit, too.

      I'll email you right now.



[2013 update: You can't comment as an anonymous person anymore. Too many douchebags were leaving bullshit SPAM comments and my inbox was getting flooded, but if you're here to comment in a real way like a real person, go to it.]

Look at you commenting, that's fun.

So, here's the thing with commenting, unless you have an email address associated with your own profile, your comment will still post, but I won't have an email address with which to reply to you personally.

Sucks, right?

Anyway, to remedy this, I usually come back to my posts and post replies in the comment field with you.

But, if you ever want to email me directly to talk about pumpkins or shoes or what it's like to spend a good part of your day Swiffering - shoot me an email to finnyknitsATgmailDOTcom.