New Season, New Plantings

Pomodori / TomatoesWell, it’s official: I’m a porch gardener.

That’s right, I got myself some containers and some vegetable plants, and started myself a little garden today. I know my mom will laugh at the idea, but there it is! 🙂

For containers, to supplement the few I already had, I chose milk crates, nice and square (to line up neatly on the porch), lined with trash bags. The crates have the added advantage of allowing water and air flow, simply by piercing holes in the bottom of the bags. It’s also a great way to recycle those plastic milk crates.

The crates were free: a lot of people (such as Cynthia, a nearby resident I found on Freecycle) have old crates laying around, often without even knowing how they came across them. I have a few lying around the house myself, recovered from the dumpster where people set them out when they move.

red and blue milk crates, maroon wallRight now, in my milk crates, I have several herbs: thyme, rosemary, tarragon, oregano. I also have chives and green onions, both of which we’ve been growing since last year, as well as cilantro and curley parsley. In addition, I got jalapeno peppers, red, green, and orange bell peppers, as well as a Roma tomato plant.

Finally, I got radish and tomatillo seeds, and we’re attempting mustard greens from the seeds we bought in the grocery store for cooking. They, obviously, are an experiment. We’ve attempted that before kind of thing before, with some success, so wish us luck!

I’m not quite done yet, I still need to get some lettuce and summer savory seeds, red onion and garlic sets (a set is a plant that’s already turned into a seedling), and I might just get some marigolds, too, just to prettify everything and serve as a bug repellent.

I’m excited! As soon as I can get a roll of film, I’ll take some pictures of our progress and share them with you.

Don’t know what a tomatillo is?  It’s that green thing in the picture here.  Related to tomatoes, they have a papery husk and are green on the inside.  They are most often used in Mexican dishes, such as salsa verde. Frankly, the tomatoes and tomatillos are the main inspiration for the garden in the first place: everything else is meant to go with either of them. Salsa verde and salsa rojo and good old tomato sauce.

Not to mention ketchup.

That’s a fun story, actually. Several weeks ago, while I was at work and hubby was left to make supper, he chose to make something fried which, as every child knows, requires ketchup. Unfortunately, we were “slap out”, to use an Americanism. So he and my daughter chose to make their own, using canned tomatoes as the base. That got me to thinking about canning and growing tomatoes, and I was launched.

In an effort to garden as cheaply as possible, I’ll be starting the tomatillo seeds in homemade starter pots made of newspaper. The pots will then be planted in my crate containers, where they will become compost in the dirt. I was planning on having the girls make them, but Rip and I have already made a few and we may not need any more. The mustard seeds are their project, though, and they’ve been tasked with watering the plants morning and evening. It’s been way too long since we’ve had a project that’s remotely educational around here.

Anyway, I’ll keep you updated.

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