I’ve been down for the count these past few days with some sort of epic plague. My brain is slow and foggy so now is the perfect time to republish a few of my Globe and Mail Kitchen Gardening articles.
This one on good soil for your vegetable garden is the perfect companion to my recent HGTV article on reusing container soil. Speaking of… I have a new article up on HGTV that answers the ever popular question, “Are there any edibles that I can grow in the shade?”
Originally published in the Globe and Mail on May. 23, 2009.
The subject of garden soil is conversational codeine to most people. Yet refer to that brown stuff as “dirt” in the wrong company and be prepared to have some thrown in your face.
“It’s soil, you moron, not dirt!” an obviously superior gardener recently informed me. “Only idiots like you call it dirt.”
Imagine my surprise when I pulled back the row cover at the back of my garden and found this pot full of living ‘Four Seasons’ lettuce that I had planted last fall and forgot about. It survived the winter!
I love these little mistakes that result in new discoveries. Yes, our winter was much milder than usual, but in the years that I’ve been growing the ‘Four Seasons’ variety, I had not expected it to live up to its name in my climate.
The container (an old bread box I inherited from Davin’s grandmother, with holes punched into the bottom) was twice sown last fall due to a squirrel invasion that I did not protect against. I have since transplanted several of these seedlings into raised beds and pots around the garden.
With the garden soil now workable, and unseasonably warm, I have also direct sown several lettuce varieties and greens around the garden. This has me thinking about all of the future salads we will be enjoying soon, making me realize that it was high time to pull together some of the lettuce and greens articles I have written here over the years to get you started on growing your future salads, too.
P.S. This week’s article on HGTV is up. It’s about reusing potting soil. I often use my old potting soil to grow salad greens. However, I am careful to add more nitrogen back into the depleted mix as leafy veggies need nitrogen to thrive.
P.S.S. I have added more ‘Hahms Gelbe Topftomate’ seeds to etsy.
I purchased this particular large, green, plastic container used and for only one dollar at a plant sale in the spring of 2010. It’s not particularly beautiful, but isn’t offensive either — I recognized it right away as a good sized tub with an uncommon depth and girth that would make a happy home for several plants.
I originally used the pot for a mixed scented geranium (Pelargonium) planting that I had in mind at the time. If you’re curious, a photo of it appears on page 123 of my new book, “Easy Growing: Organic Herbs & Edible Flowers from Small Spaces“.
Close up on ‘Mint Mocha’ coleus.
With more space to grow in the ground last year, I allowed myself room to play with ornamentals and even gave up more coveted container space to them. This time around I wanted to plant something in the big green bin that would quickly hang over and hide it completely.
Yesterday I posted about the Cyclamen coum I was gifted by my friend Barry, and later that day I visited his cold greenhouse where his were in bloom along with many other botanical delights, including these Crocus biflorus ssp. isauricus ‘Spring Beauty’ (aka snow crocus) that he grew in a pot. The dark purple underside really makes them. I planted 20 in the ground last fall and can’t wait for my own to make an appearance.
Assorted and Sundry:
- Easy Growing is now available on the Kindle, Nook, and Kobo.
- Sometime this month, YouGrowGirl.com turned 12 years old. I wanted to say more about it but 12 is an awkward age and my interest in acknowledging it beyond a hasty mention has fallen away. About a month or so ago, I wrote a longwinded piece chronicling what my life was like when I started the site, but I can’t find it on my computer now and it’s just as well as it suffered from a touch of navel-gazing-itis. Speaking of which, just yesterday I discovered that someone has posted the documentary television show about me online. I find it intolerable to watch myself now and won’t offer a link. If you find it, please be kind… it was shot 4.5 years ago, practically a lifetime has passed since.
- E-Junkie: Top 11 Garden Blogs
- Book Page Review of Easy Growing
- For those in Toronto, I will be selling books at the Scadding Court Seedy Saturday this coming weekend (12-5) as well as the following weekend at the Brickworks Seedy Saturday event (11am-4pm).
The forecast is calling for the year’s first snowfall today followed by a wet and rainy weekend. In order to beat the weather I spent two hours before dark yesterday hustling to get the remaining bulbs and transplants into the ground.
Today the anticipation of spring flowers reminded me of the clusters of white rain lilies (Zephyranthes candida) that were in bloom back in September at the Atlanta Botanical Garden.