Tuesday, March 6, 2012


I am not the first person, in any way, shape, or form, to write about her kitchen garden. There are an infinity of garden-related blogs out there. What's so special about my garden experience that is worth sharing? Many gardeners grow vegetables from seed year in and out without any fanfare. People all over the world grow vegetables and fruits to feed their families, and some truly suffer if the squash crop fails or there is a drought/tornado/wet spring/insect infestation that year. I can go to the fancy family-run grocery in an affluent suburb 10 minutes away and get beautiful produce if my garden doesn't turn out okay. Then why do it? Why grow things and why write about it?

Well, for one thing, this blog is a selfish endeavor. I am recording my experiences for myself. Because this is something I love to do, and is occupying a good deal of my free time, I am sharing it with friends and family who might like to know what I am up to (and perhaps if they see that I am *fingers crossed* going to get some tasty edibles out of the endeavor, they might lend a hand and thus harvest and enjoy some of the fruits of labor as well). I also find this exercise worthwhile because... well, simply, plants are amazing. Every new leaf, every root hair that emerges from a lifeless looking tiny wisp of seed, fills me with wonder. It's almost spiritual, and it is certainly intensely geeky. Things like the genes responsible for certain characteristics of individual plants, the hormones that enable a plant to bend toward light, or the fact that different seeds require special conditions for germination, these are awesome facts and they are all part of the reason why I grow plants: to witness these small miracles.

Transplanting my small but rapidly growing plants to larger containers is one of those times when I can't help but feel admiration. It's a time for checking out their progress. All those lovely translucent white roots that emerge as I gently extract the plug recall the few weeks ago when that plant was a seed not much bigger than this letter a.

Now my lovely little lettuce and radicchio have more than two leaves, and have graduated to separate pots. I didn't have enough one-size-up peat pots, but fortunately I like yogurt and had not taken out last week's recycling. Next, they will go into still larger containers and move onto the sun porch, which will be an experiment: I'll have to monitor the temps out there so as not to lose plants. There is a lot of light from the two skylights and three walls of sliding doors, and it gets into the 70s in there on a sunny day, but then drops dramatically at night (I will have to take a photo of this room, but first need to make it ready for its closeup. Right now it still has debris from Christmas wrapping and craft projects lying around. Do not judge me). My "canary" is a little plastic pot of catnip, bought at the grocery store for Chizwick, which has been on the sun porch for the past, what, three weeks I think? It is doing quite well, even though we've had some nights in the 15-20 degree range (it was brought inside one time, when temps dipped into the low teens), so I think lettuce will like it too.
newly transplanted lettuces
Regina di Maggio
Passion Brune
parsley sprouts its first true leaves
basil 'Classico' cotyledons (seed leaves or embryo leaves)
beginning to wilt as their true leaves come on 
purple basil infant acrospire (a word I just learned which means "the first sprout")

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