Monday, February 9, 2009

A Letter to G R O W

Dear G R O W,

I've sorely neglected you the past several months. I have a good excuse, though, aside from the fact that it's winter and not much is growing - this past November my husband and I finally bought that house we've been scheming about over the past seven years. We left our little apartment in Oakley behind, and are now living in an actual house in Pleasant Ridge. And the best part...WE HAVE A YARD!

You know that there will always be a tender spot in my heart for our old balcony. It's been the only garden I've ever tended on my own, even if it was all metal and rust. This is the point where I talk about how glad I am to have brought you into the blogosphere over the past year so those memories will always be accessible.

However, I have to tell you that I am ecstatic to have a blank canvas to garden with. Our house is a 1935 brick two-story and is framed by several stately old, tall trees. The previous owners took very good care of it, but their landscaping left something to be desired - actually, there was no landscaping at all. All the better for me; I don't have to worry about tearing things out when it comes time for me to put my "stamp" on things.

We have sizable front and back yards, given that we're living in an old neighborhood of Cincinnati.



One of the prerequisites for our house was that it have a yard with garden potential. This house definitely has the space, but I have a few concerns:
  • First, those wise old trees that I mentioned earlier have some wise old roots that run throughout the backyard. I'm hoping that if they prevent me from tilling up the ground, maybe I can build some raised beds.
  • Second, those wise old trees also have long branches that may prevent a garden from getting enough sunlight. This concern is something I'm just going to have to monitor over the upcoming growing season.
Due to these concerns and the fact that we're still settling into the house, I've decided that I'm going to continue the container growing at least for another year. That will give me a chance to gauge the sunlight issue and get comfortable with the yard before I start making permanent changes. If I put the containers in an area that's too shady, they can easily be moved to a sunnier nook. For right now I'm planning on doing containers in the back yard, and reserving the two front beds for herbs and flowering plants.

Sadly enough I hadn't really given much thought to the garden up until this past weekend when it was 60 degrees and balmy outside. It may still be mid-February, but that doesn't mean I don't have a touch of spring fever already.

Therefore, you'll be excited to know that I made my spring seed purchase tonight from
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. I'm not holding myself to anything - just because I bought the seeds doesn't mean I have to grow them if the space isn't there. Last year's seed collection will be supplemented with the following newcomers:
  • Melon, Minnesota Midget
  • Carrot, Cosmic Purple
  • Eggplant, Ping Tung
  • Fish Pepper (hot)
  • Sweet Pepper, Red Marconi
  • Kohlrabi, Early Purple Vienna
  • Summer Squash, Early Golden Summer Crookneck
  • Zucchini, Black Beauty
  • Lettuce, Merveille des Quatre Saisons
  • Arugula
  • Basil
  • Lavender
  • Thyme
  • Dill
  • Catnip
  • Oregano
Some of these varieties may be long shots, but that's part of the fun, right? I'll also be buying live plants once the season hits - you know we cannot live without our summer tomatoes and I'm a little gun-shy of growing them from seed.

The previous owners were nice enough to leave behind a huge gnarly work bench in the garage, and I've adopted this behemoth as my gardening bench. Right now it's crowded, dirty, but oozing potential:

I cannot tell you how excited we are to have a home of our own. Hopefully this year will be as exciting and delicious as last year. At the very least, my garden knowledge will continue to expand through trial and error. Already I can read back over old posts and see what worked and what didn't.

Thank you, G R O W, for reminding me of how much I love the world of green.