Saturday, February 11, 2012

Kronos and My Spring Garden

I get great satisfaction from growing plants, whether ornamental flowers, vegetables or fruit.  The satisfaction is like that of a proud parent, bringing an infant into the world and nurturing it to fruition.  Then someone who loves them, devours them, Kronos-like.  I think of Kronos every time I hear someone say, "That baby is so cute, I could just eat it up."

I began planning my 2012 square foot garden the minute my Johnny's Select Seed catalog appeared in my mailbox.  To get the most out of a 4' x 4' garden plot, I planned three plantings for the year.  As the first planting is harvested, the second planting will go into the square in its place.  The same for the third planting.  The crops will be rotated reducing the possibility of passing along disease and viruses.  Additional soil amendments will be dug in with each new planting.

My first planting will look like the graphic below.
The rough schedule for planting is as follows:
• Late winter -  approximately 17 March, St. Patrick's Day
• Late spring - Mid May to Mid June, after the last frost
• Late Summer - Mid August to Early September, several months   
                           before the first hard frost

Brandywine Pink

Cherokee Purple

Sweet and Thai Basil in my garden 2011
Thai Pepper
Bitter Melon
Source:Bonnie Plants

Over the last few decades, if I wanted good tasting produce, I had to start my own seeds.  The plants I wanted were not offered in garden centers.  Garden centers offered the same plants the commercial growers planted.  I found places like Johnny's Select Seeds, Seeds of Change, Seed Savers Exchange, Totally Tomatoes where heirloom seeds could be purchased.  Heirloom tomatoes taste like the tomatoes I remember from my yout' ("Excuse me, did you say yout'?").  Starting seeds is a difficult chore and a big commitment but until recently it was the only way to get good tasting tomatoes.  

While shopping in Lowe's garden center over the last few years, I noticed they sold Bonnie Plants, individual plants in 3"- 4" peat pots.  Amongst the usual garden center plants, Bonnie offered some heirlooms and unusual plants like Brandywine Tomato, Cherokee Purple Tomato, Thai Peppers, Thai Basil, Stevia and Bitter Melon.  Curious to see if Bonnie would be adding new varieties to their line this year, I went to the Bonnie Plant website.  There I saw a few new plants that I am eager to purchase, such as Black Krim and Black Cherry tomatoes and Epazote.

Inside my local Lowe's, last week, was a display of Burpee seeds.  I think I picked up each and every packet of seeds on the display.  I read each label.  I read when to plant, the expected height and spread of the plant and the number of days to harvest.  I spent a long time reading packets.  Lowe's employees frequently asked if I needed any help.  I think they thought I couldn't get up or fell asleep, or worse.  Having finished a preliminary plan for the garden plot, I knew which seeds I needed.  I purchased over $15.00 of seeds packets including a packet of inoculant for the peas and beans.  Later, if I change my mind about the seeds I purchased, I can always return the seeds.  Something I don't think I can do if I purchase via a website.  Nonetheless, I will probably purchase some seeds on the web to fulfill my plan.  Even though the cost of shipping seems to be quite high for the weight being shipped.  But you know what Kronos always said, "You gotta do, what you gotta do to get a good tasting kid."

©Damyon T. Verbo - all rights reserved

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