Posted by: Erin | July 13, 2008

Garden Update #3

Well, unfortunately, my garden is not flourishing quite as well as I’d hoped this year. The zinnias, in particular, are doing surprisingly poorly. Normally, all I have to do is plant the seeds, water them a bit, and wait, and they sprout, and grow like crazy quite happily. This year, not so much – I’ve got three or four sprouts out of the whole packet. The summerlong basil, on the other hand, seems to finally be making some progress. The seeds sprouted, and then looked like they thought they’d done their job by breaking through the surface. But upon closer inspection today, they seem to be getting a second set of leaves, which is a good sign. Maybe the summerlong grows very profusely, but is slow getting started.

The other plants aren’t too happy. I think the day lily is done. I bought it on a whim, and probably should have known better – the day lilies I bought from Burpee last year (or was it the year before) as plants died pretty quickly, too. The one I bought this year, though, is very similar to the ones I see all over the place here, particularly in the parks, so I thought it would be okay. The Persian Shield seems to be doing okay, and about half of the marigolds are still alive. The rosemary is still very happy, and the peppermint is as well, so it’s not a total loss this year, but definitely not one of my better gardens.

I re-potted the mint today (finally) in some organic potting soil – hopefully it’ll be a little happier in that. I meant to re-pot the nonstop begonia, but didn’t get to it. I did manage to plant some of the seed bookmarks I’ve had for a bit – two sage and a basil – in some of the smaller terra cotta pots. They’re living in the kitchen now as an experiment to see how they do. I’ve never cooked with sage, but if these seeds grow, I’ll have to find some recipes for them. I mean, if I have it fresh in the kitchen, might as well use it, right?

I wanted to plant the other remaining seeds (moonflower, portulaca, lavender, Pacific Beauty Mix calendula) today, but I ran into two problems: not enough potting soil, and no terra cotta pots at the grocery store. (I’ve been planting the herbs in terra cotta so I can bring them inside in the fall, if they’re still alive, and not have ugly plastic planters littering my home.) Think I’ll do what I can tomorrow, and then do the rest next weekend after I’ve had a chance to get some more soil at Target.

Amusing find of the weekend: I was looking through a box for my gardening gloves (hate getting dirt under my fingernails), and not only did I find my spade and my squishy kneepad thing, but I found a bunch of seed packets from last year that I never planted. (It was cold and rainy here for a long time, I was in my last semester of grad school, then I was in Seattle, and then it was incredibly hot, so I just never got around to it, I guess.) There was another packet of Summerlong Basil, as well as moonflower and Big Tetra Mix Zinnias. There’s also Purple Ruffles Basil, cilantro/coriander, and Flora Norton Sweet Peas (a pretty lavender-colored flower). This is pretty exciting, since just yesterday, I was lamenting how the zinnias were failing, and I bought some seeds at the hardware store, because they’re the only place that seems to still be selling seeds. (I also bought a packet of dahlia seeds as well. I thought they grew from bulbs, from something I’d read, but I guess not. They’re also perennials, so I’m going to have to see if I can keep them alive til next year, if they sprout.) So now I’ve got a plethora of zinnia seeds. Hooray!

I think there will be another trip to the nursery next weekend. I want some happier-looking marigolds, and if I’m lucky, they’ll still have some petunias. I’ve seen some beautiful fluttery white ones in my neighborhood lately, and I’ve been having plant-envy.

To bed now, but more food-related posts soon (garlic fries and chocolate-covered fruit)!

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