How does your garden grow?

Here we go again. Since the end of February, we’ve been enjoying strangely-early, spring-like temperatures here in N.C. While I’m absolutely not complaining, that’s been a slap-in-the-face wake-up call that I need to get moving in my garden.

Last year was my first experiment with growing anything other than houseplants or herbs. I mean, I’ve killed bamboo. But somehow it was successful, and I enjoyed quite a bounty for my measly efforts. Along the way, I learned some lessons, so I had it together enough to start my seedlings early, the first week of February. Last fall, as our warm weather continued through November, I picked late tomatoes and saved their seeds by drying them on paper towels. When I was planting my other seeds this year, I just popped those off the paper towel, and they’re growing! Pretty neat.

I’m daringly ambitious again this year, with four (!) varieties of tomatoes, bell peppers, okra and new additions like sugar snap peas, arugula and pole beans. I’m saving some carrots and brussel sprouts for later in the summer. About two weeks after I planted seeds, they started to pop through and are on their way (I hope) to being strong, tall plants ready for the ground. [I’m also growing some seedlings for Dad, which I’m sure will touch off the Great Tomato Contest of 2011. I promise to behave better this time … even though I WILL take. him. down.]

My outdoor space isn’t in the best shape, so that’s the focus for the next few weeks. I’ve been reading about preparing a bed with wet newspaper, which sounds intriguing. Anybody ever done something like that?

I’m lucky enough to live in a place with good weather most of the year, and I’m increasingly militant about organic eating, so I find this gardening project to be a pretty worthwhile effort. It’s another miracle that you can drop a seed in dirt, water it and, boom, there’s a tomato. So here’s to reforming black thumbs, a happy growing season and good eats this summer!


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