Monday, March 06, 2006

Garden musings 1

When I started the blog, I posted regular garden updates. Somehow, all that fell by the wayside. Maybe I was too ambitious, trying too many different things in my first real year of gardening. I certainly didn't end up harvesting homegrown lettuce for salads every night, which was a disappointment. Now spring is looming, however, so that means I have to plan for this year's garden. Let's see what the verdict was on last year.

Asian greens - fodder for Cabbage White butterflies. This year I think I'll stick to buying them at the Asian supermarket.

Bergamot - did ok for a while, then was taken down by a whitefly infestation. I might try some of last year's seeds to see if any of them still have some punch.

Cilantro - did not want to play at all. This will be another supermarket item this year.

Hot peppers - another failure. (I sense a trend here)

Leaf celery - hey, it's still alive! Not only that, it's flourishing pretty well. I just need to use it more in cooking.

Lemon thyme - hit hard by the whiteflies, but I cut it back severely over the winter and it's now coming back, albeit somewhat hesitantly. I love the strong flavor of the tiny leaves, so if I can't keep this plant going, I'll probably pick up another one. I'd also like to try some other sorts of thyme, of which there are many.

Lettuce - my main lettuce pot was initially seeded too thickly and I didn't have the heart to thin the seedlings, so none of them did much. Once I planted seeds more sparsely in other pots, they grew bigger. Inconsistent watering led to sometimes bitter flavor. I'll try lettuce again this year, but I think I need to work harder to ensure its success.

Mitsuba - finally, an out-and-out success. The mitsuba has grown well and abundantly, and reseeded itself to boot. I was also able to save seeds from last year's seed heads. This year I'll test whether it really is hardy in Zone 6 by planting a pot to be left outside come the winter.

Orange mint - also badly hit by whiteflies, also severely cut back. Being a mint (unfazed by just about anything), it's recovering nicely, though I think it's just about outgrown its current pot. I also planted a runner in another pot which, after an iffy start, seems to be regrouping and thinking about world domination, as mints will do.

Peas - one wonderful sweet peapod and that was all she wrote. I want to try some more peas this season (which means I'd better hurry up and order them!).

Rosemary - a supermarket herb plant that has survived. It's hard to balance the extremes of too much and too little water, but it's started putting on new growth lately. Probably my most-used culinary herb, next to the spearmint.

Sage - hanging in there, which is more than I can say of the variegated sage (R.I.P.).

Scallions - the neighbor's cat has an unfortunate taste for scallions, so they're not going back out on the deck any time soon. Another lovely thought that will be a supermarket purchase this year. I still have scallions growing, but they're so tiny and threadlike after nearly a year, it seems rather pointless.

Spearmint - cut back, bouncing back happily, frequently used in tea. A success.

Spinach - another success. This did really well for me early last season. I want to plant even more of it this year.

Thai basil - did very well until those whiteflies showed up, and persisted pretty strongly afterward. I was able to save seeds from last year's crop, so I'll be planting it again this year. And lots of it.

Tomatoes - the plant that survived last winter gave me a few tomatoes but nothing much. I have seeds from it, but I probably should've planted them already. I'll probably just get a tomato plant at a garden center this year.

Tropical sage - I finally got around to planting some of this late last season. One tiny little seedling has poked up and not expired yet. If I'm lucky, it'll still be around in the fall, when western hummingbirds come to call in New Jersey.


Collin C. said...

Try some Arugala (if you like it). It is very easy to grow.

We have never been able to grow Cilantro successfully, so I am glad it is not us. :)

Winslow said...

Hi Collin,

Arugula is a good idea. I'd like to vary my greens a bit this year, and I was already toying with purslane, but arugula would work too (especially if it's easy to grow!).

I share your cilantro pain. It seemed so plausible when I read the gardening books, but it so did not want to grow for me. I had plants of other species that wouldn't thrive, or who did ok then keeled over. Cilantro didn't get that far; it seemed like it didn't even want to sprout for me.

Of course, now I have delusions of finding Vietnamese cilantro (aka rau rom) and trying that, in case it's more friendly. But first I have to find a plant at an Asian supermarket...

Thanks for stopping by!