Friday, February 27, 2009


I just looked at my list of what I've started already and the things I want to start, and I think I should knock down the garage to make room. Eek! Going to work on some square foot gardening principles, companion planting, and succession planting to get it all in there!

Are any of you Chicago gardeners growing grapes? We'd like to give it a try, but space is at a premium and I'm wondering if it is feasible to train them on our back fence or if that is a poor idea?


Saturday, February 21, 2009

Jump starting the garden season (hopefully!!)

From one of the gardening blogs I follow (see sidebar), I linked through to a site about Winter Sowing seeds in plain plastic containers. Mr. BrownThumb also had a great post about starting plants from seed in 2 liter soda bottles. As one of my issues EVERY season is starting too late or letting seedlings dwindle away because I don't have things ready for transplanting, I thought maybe I'll give this a whirl. Plus I like to make my backyard and garden look as completely white trash as possible.

Mission accomplished.

For the record, I LOVE that Mr. BrownThumb calls these "ghetto greenhouses"

Anyway, it was simple as pie, and I'm hopeful for great results. My husband was, I think, a bit put out that I put a "2 liter bottles ONLY" rule into effect for soda consumption the past month or so, so tons of healthy transplants would be the only way to compensate for that.

Check out the links above for details on how to do this, but I had 14 bottles (2 liter soda bottles, translucent milk gallons, and juice bottles) to work with today, and had to fish around for seeds that I wanted to start. See, unprepared! Plus it was really odd to have my hands in soil since we just had about 3 inches of snow dropped on the Chicago metro area over the past day or so.

But I digress. Here are the seeds I went with for round one. I put them all out today, February 21st, and plan to do more once I get my orders in at the seed shops. I've got so many pages dog-eared in all the catalogs I have, it is ridiculous, and at this rate I will need to demolish the house to make room for more garden space!

Basil, Broccoli Raab, Lavender, Swiss Chard, Bush Bean, Broccoli, Leaf Lettuce (2 varieties), Spinach, Carrots, Garden Peas, Zinnias (I told you I had to scrape for seeds to fill up the bottles I had on hand), Sweet Pepper, and Cauliflower
ADDED 2/24: Chives and Onions

So hopefully that'll be a good jump start. I'm going to try to get the rest of my seed orders in tomorrow or Monday and maybe start some more seeds next week. My only real fear, is that the nemesis of my garden, the hound from hell, will leave my bottles of goodness alone! Because, you know, she looks a lot less evil than she is, and I just hope that she'll behave herself, resist the temptation, and not force me to pen her up outside so she can't get into it. If I sound bitter, it is because I busted her several times last year eating cucumbers from the vine, running around the yard with a raspberry cane in her mouth like a bone, and digging through more beds than I care to recall.

Fingers crossed!!!

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