01-27-2014

What a garden in January really looks like!

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I often have friends ask me to help them start a small backyard garden. Which excites me to no end, because I think everyone should be digging in their dirt more often. But sometimes I wonder…do people have the correct expectations of what a garden looks like in their yard. Sure, in mid summer that space is going to look gorgeous with vibrant green foliage, yellow blossoms of squash, and red tommytoes (there really are tiny tomatoes called this!) on the vine… all just ready to be picked.

But come January, that luscious garden is another story. There is a good chance (if you are anything like me) that back in September you left the garden to take care of itself. And it certainly has! The lettuce box is falling apart, showing signs that it really is on its last leg and will not produce any more bumper crops of greens.

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And there are the not so small amount of weeds that have overtaken one garden plot.

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So if you have your heart set on starting a garden this year….GO YOU!!!! Just be prepared that it does take work in the fall to avoid a garden that looks like mine currently does!

But despite the work required to maintain a garden, everyone should do it. Whether it’s growing herbs in containers to tackling an acre or more of just potatoes….you can do it! There are few things as rewarding as taking one tiny seed and turning that into the crop you feed your family.

And once you catch the gardening bug, no matter how bad your other garden plots look, you’ll probably keep adding more garden beds to grow even more tomatoes in! I am so excited we had room to add these two garden plots this year. And because we cut down a ton of trees they will receive great sunlight (hopefully, fingers crossed)!

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I hope your garden looks more beautiful than mine right now!

Jess

04-19-2012

Do you CSA?

Hello Father,

I have a confession. I love gardening, I love farmers, I love dirt. But I just can’t imagine joining a CSA. I want freedom of choice, to pick my veggies just the way I want, when I want. You see, God, signing up for a CSA requires commitment. And, I have come to realize that I don’t necessarily enjoy commitments. (I can’t even keep up with once a week pilates.) I do go to the Farmer’s Market faithfully and I shop at the local grocer each week. But I still feel unfaithful to the farmer by not participating in a CSA. Does my selfishness of wanting to choose my veggies each week mean I’m not really supporting the farmer? That rain or shine, drought or flood, he’ll have money to keep his farm afloat no matter how the produce turns out?

Help me out,

Jessica

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I really am serious. Even though I encourage all my friends to participate in one, I have a huge commitment issue with CSA’s (Community Supported Agriculture). And until this past Tuesday I kept telling myself that if there was a farm that had a pick-your-own veggie CSA that I would participate. But then you find that ‘answer’ and realize, you’re still hesitant.

You see, I love going to the different vendors at the market and choosing a tomato here, a carrot bunch there, and a pile of lettuce greens at the next one. And my worry is this, if I commit to spending my $20/week with only one vendor – will I regret it? I definitely won’t regret the quality – its the best there is, but will I regret not getting to spend my $ with lots of vendors in lieu of spending it with one?

What do you think? Do you like your CSA? Do you have one where you choose your veggies or do you get an exciting surprise bag each week? Should I just go for it and try it out? And if you are a farmer…I’d love to know your thoughts on CSA participants versus farmer’s market buyers? Do you get as much $ from going to the Farmer’s Market or would you rather have it all in CSA participants?

Thanks for helping me with my dilemma! Jessica

03-13-2012

Gardening Update

One of my greatest loves in life is planting seeds and watching them germinate. Wait, its not yours too? You don’t love the feel of dirt in your hands or feel immense awe at watching something sprout to life?┬áMy dream job would be to do this every day! I actually have grand plans to plant heirloom seeds for plant sales when I retire…but shhh, its my secret!

A few weeks ago we got our seeds in the mail and I cannot explain the joy, the elation, the pure delight in seeing them. I also get extremely excited when the seed catalogs appear. If you’ve never seen a seed catalog, you are missing out! The pictures are a delight, as are all the descriptions about each plant….the taste, the texture, the flavor….oh, and don’t forget all the great gardening advice they give out. As you can see, I could go on & on.

Many of our plants will be seeded directly into the garden but we start our cucumbers, tomatoes, and for the first time – some of our herbs indoors. This is the part I LOVE most. You get to plant the seeds in little containers and watch them come alive. And they start from nothing but this small seed. It blows my mind each and every year, each and every planting.

Then once they sprout, you have to thin some out. This part seriously makes me so sad and I can barely stand it. So I try to plant as few seeds as possible, praying for a good germination rate. (Germination rate is how many seeds actually sprout versus how many you planted…I just know you couldn’t make it through the day without this knowledge!)

So without further adieu, here is a photologue of how our seedlings are coming along!

Yes, I am aware we have a mold issue in some of the tomato plants…we’ll talk about that in a later post…for now, just focus on the joy of watching things grow!

So dirt beneath your nails really isn’t your thing? Turning your kitchen window into a mini greenhouse isn’t your idea of decor? Luckily for you, there are a few local options for buying plants already germinated and ready for the garden…

Adaptive Gardens of the Lowcountry…a really neat non-profit in McClellanville where you can get veggie plants in March and April.

Plantasia…a wonderful plant sale by Charleston Horticultural Society for those of you with a flower gardening thumb.

No room for a backyard garden? As long as you have a sunny window or porch stoop then you should give some herbs a try. Basil, thyme, rosemary…just a few plants that grow well in potted containers and will generously supply all your culinary spice needs.

Happy Gardening!

Jess