Thursday, July 02, 2009


I haven't talked much about my garden this year. Partly, the novelty has worn off. I mean, who can get as ecstatic about growing a squash when that same person can grow a PERSON? But partly, the garden has been really sucky and I get very angry about failures. Even miniature failures.

I tried to grow carrots again this year. Not even a germination. Tried green onions (or scallions, if you will). Also no germination. Same with the corn. I spent all this tedious time and effort starting tomatoes and peppers from seed inside this winter and had a little tray of cucumbers and zucchinis starting from seed inside as well. These all initially sprouted and grew to like 3 inches tall, but then died.

My peas, which were the light of my life last summer, climbing all the way up the trellis out front, are pretty pathetic this year. I generally get about 5 peas a week. This from at least 16 shoots (vines?) of peas!

So that's a lot of food failure.

Right now, I do have some successes. My herbs are doing well. I am not sure why, but my rosemary and thyme plants did not come back this year. I think perhaps because the winter was so harsh. But I bought some little seedlings of both and they are giving me some fragrant additions to dinner. The basil seeds I brought back from Italy have finally taken root and, supplemented with the basil plants I bought at the store, are giving me a lot of delicious, delicious basil (I also have the basil plant our neighbors left on our porch).

I gave up on the pepper seedlings and just bought some at the store, which I have growing in pots on the porch to great success. I also bought tomato seedlings and stuck those in the ground next to my garlic, which looks outstanding.

After several months of stubborn refusal, I finally got the vined plants to listen to me. I have one cucumber vine that's making little babies already and a second about to start. The zucchini bush is dreadfully behind schedule, but seems to be on overdrive catching up and taking over the world like it did last year.

So this has taught me a few lessons. I'm not going to start anything inside this year at all. What's the freaking point? I will only buy seeds for cucumbers, beans, and zucchinis, which I'll start outside along with garlic. Those are things I am good at growing and like to eat, so why tinker with perfection?

Otherwise, I'm buying everything at Brinckles nursery next year. Tomato seedlings. Pepper plants. Little basils and little mints and even little cilantros. Yes. Herbs are supposed to be easy and cheaper to start from seed. But that doesn't work for me and Brinckles just has such good stuff! As long as I get there in early May and get their stuff in the ground, maybe even in April, I have full confidence I'll still be eating from my back yard and with much less frustration.


Blondie said...

I am not sure how Pennsylvania's weather compares to Wisconsin, perhaps a bit milder, but rosemary won't survive the winter here. I keep mine in a pot, then bring it inside when it's cold.

My thyme did survive though, so it may just be that particular plant died. My two parsleys and a lemon thyme both died too, and typically my parsley always comes back each year. I have three kinds of mint and I have to give them regular haircuts b/c they never die. If I had a rugby team made of herbs, my flankers would be mint and lemon balm.

Anonymous said...

lurker here...but my dad grows his own fruit and produce every year. ( he lives about 20 minutes from the city) and he said that for some reason (although his corn is over knee high) the soil is very acidic and that the nitrogen was off this year. so, it might not be anything that you're doing, it might just be that good ole pittsburgh soil!

Katy said...

all very interesting points! i should totally grow parsley next year. i really might love it more than any herb except basil...but i don't think i'll do corn again regardless of soil. it just seems like so much work for only a few ears per stalk.

Blondie said...

Tim and I grew corn two summers ago in our first garden that we put in his backyard. It was all pretty and perfect, just about ripe, then it got destroyed by hungry raccoons. So sad. But someone else also informed me that sweet corn sucks up all the nutrients from where it is growing, making it stressful for other veggies. You have to move it around your garden and balance it with other plants the next year to refresh the soil. Just some info on sweet corn.

Parsley is easy to grow. I have both flatleaf italian and curly. You could likely just purchase a plant right now and still do well with it this summer - in case you're looking for something to do while waiting for baby love.

Snacky D said...

Where is this "Brinckles nursery"? I googled it and the top result was your blog post.

Katy said...

well, snacky, that's because I seem to have spelled it wrong. it's in fact Brenckle's Farm and Greenhouse: Sorry about that!