Saturday, April 2, 2011

New blooms, veggie garden progress, and mailorder source reviews

Bear with me... this three-section post may be a bit long, but hopefully it won't be boring!

I. Here are some new blooms for the season, in order of appearance: rose, sage, phlox, iris:

II. With only two weeks left at home with Clara, I'm getting a little frantic. I am going to miss her SO MUCH when I go back to work. With that in mind, I'm trying to get the garden in pretty good shape so that all I have to do is water and pick veggies most of the late spring/early summer - and I can spend most of my free time at home with the girl.

Because of my pregnancy and her birth, I didn't do much from seed this year - just lettuce, carrots, a few tomato plants, basil, squash (sort of...see below), and of course peas, beans and cucumbers (the easy stuff).

Growing in the garden now:

  • Lettuce, which has been producing for a month or so but will start to get bitter from the heat soon.

  • Carrots.....which are this big now.... they will also suffer from the heat soon, so we may just have lots of finger-sized carrots. Still, it's the most success I've ever had with carrots, so I'm not complaining.

  • Shallots....leftover from last year. They did so poorly and I thought I dug them all up, but apparently not. Will be interesting to see what's underground.

  • Sugar snap peas are about 6 inches tall. I may have planted them too late. We'll see.

  • Herbs - basil from seed, perennial oregano, new thyme and rosemary plants to replace dead ones.

  • Cucumber, green bean, and purple hull pea seeds have been planted but aren't up yet.

  • A variety of bell peppers and eggplants (all bought at lowe's) are in the ground.

  • Tomatoes - I have about 15 plants, a mix of heirlooms from the Tasteful Garden (see review below), a recent garden show, and volunteers. Some big and some little, some purple and some yellow/orange --- but no "red slicers" in sight!

  • Squash... y'all know my awful problems with borers made me swear off squash. Well, I'm trying one last time - growing these expensive zucchini seeds from Kitchen Garden Seeds that don't need a pollinator, under row covers. Is that a lot of trouble for such a humble veggie or what?! We'll see if it works. The variety is "Cavili" and I read about it in Organic Gardening magazine while in labor at the hospital! Slightly disturbingly, only one of the eight I planted has germinated yet...

III. I recently ordered plants from Tasteful Garden, High Country Gardens, and Bluestone Perennials. I wouldn't even want to judge them on how they turn out, because if it's bad, it's probably MY fault. So here's a summary of my experience ordering and receiving the plants:

Tasteful Garden - Lisa from Shower Fresh Garden turned me on to this place in Alabama. I like buying plants that weren't grown 1000 miles away. Pro's: huge selection of tomato (and other) plants; great, recyclable shipping materials; all plants were large and healthy. Con: expensive for tomato plants...but certainly worth it if I can keep from buying pounds of heirloom tomatoes every week at the farmer's market!

High Country Gardens - the ONLY source I could find for clematis scottii, which I needed for the family garden. Pro's: amazing catalog with some unusual plants, and a focus on plants that can handle heat and drought; plants arrived in great shape - moist and not smooshed. No con's!

Bluestone Perennials - one of very few sources I could find for clara curtis mums, another plant needed for the family garden. Pro's: they carry a huge variety of mostly perennials. Con's: this was the least impressive packaging job I've ever seen, and they use styrofoam peanuts. Come on now, if you think peanuts are necessary, use the compostable cornstarch peanuts! Also, these plants were smaller than I expected. I paid $12.95 (plus s/h) for 3 plants, knowing they would be in small containers. But the plants themselves were just tiny sprigs stuck in the tiny pots. Not impressive, though they did appear healthy.

[FYI - for anyone who is wondering, the third plant in the family garden is Hidden Ginger - but sweet Darla of More Family and Flowers gave me that!]


Hope y'all are all enjoying some warm weather and gardening this weekend! - Ginger

p.s. thank y'all for your advice on the wasp problem! I am going to make some of those coke bottle traps and will let you know if it helps.


Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

Love the family garden plant names! That might be fun to try here.
It's amazing how far ahead your garden is. Sugar snaps haven't even germinated here, haven't even put most vegetable plants outside yet.
I ordered some plants from Bluestone this year and they won't be here til April. I hope they aren't tiny sprigs because they weren't cheap.
I went back to work part time when my oldest was 4 months old and I remember how hard it was leaving her the first day. Once I got over it, it wasn't so bad, and she didn't mind at all. I'm sure it'll all work out fine and it's totally normal to feel that way.

Lisa Blair said...

Ginger, you have been busy, girl! My Tasteful Garden shipment is scheduled to come in in a couple weeks. I hope yours do well! It sounds like you are off to a great start.

Oh, I am so sad that your time off is coming to an end. Let me know if you need anything once you go back to work. I am happy to help in anyway I can.

Randy Emmitt said...


I can smell those beautiful rose! Your a little late on those peas, with the heat quickly approaching. Our peas are maybe 8 inches tall, poor for what we usually have by now.

Janet, The Queen of Seaford said...

Great to hear all that you are doing in your garden!! I don't remember how much (or little) I did when mine were babies. We were in TX then, long growing season.
So very glad to see your family garden taking shape!!! I ordered my Janet rose last night, have Rebecca Clematis on the deck just in from Klem's Song Sparrow, ordered Rachel Peony from Greer Gardens last week and having a devil of a time finding someone to ship in the spring for a Charlie's White peony. I will keep looking.

Joanne said...

Thanks so much for stopping by my blog! I'm so glad you liked the recipes! Seeing all of your flowers and produce pictures make me wish I had a garden! So pretty.

Jim Groble said...

Stop by my blog. You are the recipient of the “Stylish Bloggers Award”. This high honor comes with much responsibility and a nifty emblem. jim

The Sage Butterfly said...

Hello, I also have bought from Bluestone Perennials. So far, everything has come up. BTW-I would like to invite you to participate in my Earth Day Reading Project at The Sage Butterfly blog. I have linked to your blog as one of my picks. I hope you can participate, and I look forward to reading your post. Here’s the link to the project for more info:

Cat said...

Hi, I just came across your blog from The Sage Butterfly. The title of your blog caught my eye and made me laugh as my best friend is a lawyer who would rather be a photographer! And she is an amazing photographer ;)
I'm completely impressed and astounded by your accomplishments as a new mom! Amazing what you've done in the garden. Your Clara is precious. Look forward to visiting again.

Phillip said...

Thanks for the reviews, it is especially good to hear about a place to order tomato plants (and it is in Alabama!). Michael is wanting tomatoes that are not too sweet and more acid in taste. I'm guessing I should go the heirloom route? I no very little about tomatoes.