Last year’s garden

Well, apparently I did not blog at all last year. I meant to. I really did. But I didn’t. Since I was so remiss, here are the highlights.

I started two types of cherry tomatoes from seed: sungolds (orange, hybrid) and coyotes (yellow, heirloom). They were delicious and the coyotes were ridiculously prolific. Unfortunately they are a bit too much for my small garden.

A plastic container half filled with yellow and red cherry tomatoes.

I divided a lot of perennials and all of the divisions I kept did quite well. It’s the first time I divided some of these plants, and I’m pleased with how they did. It turns out plants can take a lot.

We had a heat wave and drought and several of my plants (thyme, Agastache Morello, and a hot pink yarrow) did not survive that. They were all new, but I’d like to try again with them, since thyme is delicious and the yarrow and agastache were gorgeous.

Two plants in containers have bright pink flowers. The plant on the left has tube shapped flowers while the one on the right has umbel shaped flowers.

I got a clematis (The President) that just kept going, producing 3 rounds of flowering (of 1 or 2 flowers each, but it was the first year in my garden.

The bluestar I have (Amsonia Blue Ice) looked fantastic and is really filling out.

I grew borage for the first time, mostly for the bees. I… will not be doing that again.

My bee balm did really well.

Be balm flowers are soft pink and look like a muppet hairdo. In the right bottom corner is a bright pink echinacea flower with it's petals pointing downwards.

I’ve got some exciting plans for this year’s garden, and maybe I’ll even remember to post about them!

Adventures in Seed Starting

This year, I’ll be trying to grow 3 types of food plants I’ve never grown before: okra, peppers, and tomatoes. All 3 need to be started indoors to get a head start on the growing season, so you either have to start them from seed yourself or buy starts from a nursery. Being a glutton for punishment, I’ve decided to try starting them indoors from seeds.

In addition to the vegetables listed above, I’ve also decided to start some cosmos and some bee balm as well. I’ve never grown bee balm before, so this is another experiment for the year. As for the cosmos, in the past, I’ve just scattered the seeds directly onto the soil where I wanted them to grow. I haven’t had the best of luck with this method, though, so this year, I’m going to try to baby the along for a bit before planting them outside.

A brief note: I’ll be mentioning some specific products in this post, but it’s not a sponsored post and I purchased everything I’m posting about.

7 seed packets are arranged on a white table.
The seeds I’m starting indoors this year.

Most of the seeds I’m growing are heirlooms:

  • Evertender Okra, from Southern Exposure Seeds, originally from India
  • Buena mulata peppers, from Truelove Seeds, an African American heirloom
  • Petit marseillais peppers, from Truelove Seeds
  • Bee balm, from Truelove Seeds
  • Black cherry tomatoes, from Renee’s Garden

The Sungold cherry tomatoes are a hybrid, and the cosmos are open pollinated but not an heirloom. Both are from Renee’s Garden.

I ordered a seed starting kit, pictured above. The set up includes a tray and vented cover, a heating mat, LED lights, a metal contraption for hanging the lights, and 72 discs of compressed peat. I would have preferred to avoid using peat, but it came with the kit.

A plastic tray with a cover and lights hung above it. Several rehydrated discs of peat are sitting in the tray.
The seed starting kit.

I’m only using 24 of the discs. My garden just isn’t big enough to fit that many new plants. As it is, I’m theoretically starting more than I’ll need. I figure if I have too many, I can thin them out and give away some seedlings. And if I have too few of anything, I’ll have learned something and can use that space to grow something else.

I’ve arranged my seeds according to the diagram below. Each row is 4 cells/discs.

A hand-drawn 'map' of where the seeds are located.
My “map” of the seeds I’m starting.

Row 1: Evertender okra, 1 seed per cell
Row 2: Buena mulata peppers, 3 seeds per cell
Row 3: Petit marseillais peppers, 3 seeds per cell
Row 4: Cherry tomatoes, 2 cells sungold, 2 cells black cherry, ≥3 seeds per cell
Row 5: Cosmos, 2 seeds per cell
Row 6: Bee balm ≥3 seeds per cell

The tomato and bee balm seeds were tiny, so i probably got a lot of seeds in each cell. I’ll just thin the seedlings as needed.

And now, I water and wait. With luck, I’ll have about 2 dozen baby plants in a few weeks. I suspect that’s when the hard part will begin.