Help!

Okay, so here’s the thing: I need a good local nursery (Nashville, TN) or a great mail order one. Go!

My starts from Burpee are gorgeous, but customer service was so-so and they arrived a good two weeks later than I would have liked, despite asking nicely to have the shipment move up. And my lone Roma start from Territorial arrived more dead than alive.

Help a gardener out, friends.

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At Last!

At long last, the eagerly awaited shipment from Burpee has arrived. Although a couple of weeks later than this gardener would have like, the garden is planted.

File_000 (4)Well, with the exception of the basil. Here’s a pro-tip: never place your complex online plant order with a very, very demanding and garden-aware 5-year-old at your elbow. Surprising precisely no one, but disappointing plenty, I managed to order 4 lemongrass starts rather than the 1 lemongrass and three Italian basil plants I had intended.

Who the heck needs 4 lemongrass bushes? Evidently Plants on Deck.

Bed One:
3/5/16: leaf lettuce (seed)
4/3/16: romaine, Swiss chard (seed)
4/22/16: okra, beans, musk melon (seed)
4/27/16: Shooting Stars eggplant (starts)

Front of house:
Sweet peppers (California Wonder, Flavorburst Hubrid, Orange Sun)

Side of house:
Yellow Pear, Italian Ice Hybrid, and Chef’s Choice Orange hybrid tomaotes

Front slope and herb garden:
tarragon, lemongrass, mint, Persian basil, rosemary, and parsley

Bed Two!

IFile_000 (2)s it ever go time! Bed Two is planted. Not the best of pictures, but you get the idea.

2/20 leeks, spinach

3/5 lettuce, radishes

4/3 carrots, brussel sprouts

4/22 more lettuce, carrots

4/22 zucchini

And the April gardens, thus far (complete with garden cat):

File_000 (1)

 

Beans for My Baby

The Hurricane is not much of a baby anymore, having just forsaken “Frozen” for a reinvigorated allegiance to Hello Kitty and Rainbow Dash. (That I know a Pretty Pony name frightens me terribly.)

At any rate, this gorgeous Tennessee weekend was a busy one. False Indigo seeds imported from Michigan now bookend our gorgeous Autumn Sage, just upstage from our overwintered Blanket Flowers. Perfect timing, as our daffodils have gasped their last and the tulips are about to say goodnight for the season. Snap dragons augment the perennial pansies and self-starting borage, coreopsis, and zinnias have been transplanted from last year’s flower bed (eventually this year’s tomato patch, if Burpee ever gets around to sending us our starts) into the treacherous front hill. Calling all bees!

Lest you think this blog is about pretty things, let me tell you about our beans.

We love beans. And, legendarily, POD has had a rough go of growing this maFile_000 (4)gical fruit. Last year was okay, at best, if you count black-eyed peas as beans. Which I do. I really do. We managed a few great pesto/bean/pasta meals featuring the young pods and enjoyed a New Year’s Hoppin’ John feast from our quart of shelled dried peas, but our Royalty Purple suffered from storms and poor garden positioning and our Kentucky Wonders were not so wonderful.

So this year, because I had to spend money on at least one new gadget, we’re going to plant our pole beans around this shiny new leaning tower, a row of faithful cow peas (black-eyed peas) and lima beans already line the property line fence, and a strip of Scarlet Runner bean will, we hope, will multitask as beautiful and bountiful.

 

 

Berry Excited

I himg_2564ave a 5 year old. Forgive me. Berry-related puns are an occupational hazard.

At any rate, the Hurricane and the newest addition to our feline family, Miranda, were pretty delighted to see this little box waiting for them this afternoon.

Moments before the skies opened with a tremendous crack, we managed to plant 25 bare root Flavorfest strawberries. Selected for their promised disease resistance, vigor, yield and adaptability, these gems looked perfect for our newly excavated front hill.

Naturally, I neglected to notice they’re best suited for zones 4-6 — so we’ll see how they deal with a zone 7 Nashville summer. Why can’t things work? Why can’t I read?

 

Hello, World!

beanandpeabedPlants on Deck 2016 has arrived! Not that there’s a deck in sight, friends.

And that’s just fine.

Tennessee spring is gorgeous. After 20 years in Philly where the seasons went like this: Snowmageddon to blink-you-missed-it-spring to hotter than hell to freezing rain, I’m easy to please. This Zone 7, unlike our previous one, actually has seasons. And they’re all pretty spectacular.

The parsley and thyme are back in business, the tarragon is making a comeback and the oregano is spreading like kudzu.

Soil has been tilled and beds have started to sprout. Nearly 100 peas are popping along the north fence(planted mid-March), raspberry canes are standing tall, and the fence line is ready for cow peas. The north side of the house awaits the Hurricane’s tomato and cucumber selections (with an emergent seeding of collards to hold us over) while the east hill is naked in anticipation of its strawberries.

And the beds have not been forgotten, all of the following (with the exception of today’s additions) have sprouted.

Bed 1:
February 20, 2016: Swiss chard
March 5, 2016: Arugula, lettuce
April 3: chard and lettuce augmentation

Bed 2:
February 20: spinach
February 20: leeks
March 5: lettuce
March 5: watermelon radishes
April 4: brussel sprouts, carrots, and more lettuce

And here’s the best: our neighbor to the north, inspired by the Hurricane, has planted her first garden.

 

Late Bloomers

cauliflowerIt’s been a while. A good, long while.

Now that this gardener writes posts and website copy for a living, she’s much less inclined to write for POD. It’s kind of like the carpenter’s house that’s in a constant state of construction. There’s only so many nails you can hammer and there are only so  many words in a week.

Which is a shame, really, because now there’s no written record of my end-of-season success and failures. And unlike the Hurricane, my pre-occupied memory is a faulty beast.

At any rate, here are a couple of photos excavated from the over-stuffed memory of my phone. Bless technology and date-stamping.

cabbageandwild onionCauliflower: Ordered as starts from Burpee’s, these beauties were harvested in mid-December. Of the six, though, three fell victim to cabbage loopers and weird slimy heads, likely the work of some cold, wet weather and the aforesaid evil worms.

Cabbage: Also ordered as starts, these tiny potent heads were welcome additions to several burrito and gimbap nights. Harvested January 30, 2016.

Brussels: Like the cauliflower and File_000cabbage, these tiny brassicas began life at Burpee. Nothing says stay-in “date night” like martinis and brussel sprouts and bacon, baby.

Rutabagas: From seed. Yes, yes, yes.

Daikon radishes: Oh my, best things ever. Even if they’re bigger than my arm.

Carrots: These touchon carrots, plated rather late, provided an oh-so-welcome scavenger hunt for the Hurricane. Nothing says January 30 like a bowl full of sugar-sweet carrots. The Hurricane’s squeals of carrot digging delight? Priceless, as they say.

25189116549_f0052e070f_zWith any luck, these late bloomers will play a starring role this fall/winter. Next year, though, I’m hoping to have a little more time and patience for seeds. Organic cauliflower in December, pretty amazing. Cost-effective? Absolutely not.