2011 Gardening: Some Stall, Some Progress

Let’s go ahead and get the bad out of the way:

Stalls

I put several of the two-leaf seedlings outside for a day or two, thinking that sun is awesome. Tomatoes want “full sun”, right?

…Sun isn’t awesome.

Luckily, a couple days indoor and some water, and more of the seeds I’d already planted of the tomato, basil, and cilantro sprouted.

The cilantro, unfortunately, picked up a case of mildew-ish stuff that killed it and thoroughly grossed me out. Too much water, too poor drainage. It was creepy anyway, because the seed casings stayed stuck on the tips of the plants, making them look like droopy aliens.

Buh-bye, cilantro. I’ll try again soon. I really want some basil growing first, though.

I finally gave up hope on the peach pit I planted and dumped it outside. I figured if I saw some sort of sprout when I dumped it, that I’d replant that.

What I saw instead was a bit of a nightmare: I tossed the dirt from the pot, and flies/gnats went with the dirt! What?! Ew. That was in my house.

Also, no pit. Creepy.

So that’s done. I think that pot is substandard, too–ceramic, all painted. It doesn’t seem to drain well.

For the tomatoes and basil, I was back to a few small seedlings in a pot. They aren’t growing nearly as fast as the first set did, but we also haven’t been letting as much sunlight into the house as we were.

Success

The orange seeds sprouted! (Well, two of the three I planted.) I read a book a couple of weekends ago that talked about citrus trees and how they cross-breed very easily. Who knows what this seed will turn out to be? Greg confirms that the leaves are, in fact, characteristic orange tree leaves–round and waxy.

As long as it’s less gross than the cilantro, I’m cool. As it is, it’s cute and tiny.

They’re right next to each other, though. When do I separate them?

My garlic is on it! All three cloves sprouted and have grown. The lower leaves were looking wilty, so I harvested one. My first ever harvest!

…Unfortunately, it wasn’t a bulb yet. But it was an edible shoot!

We put it in pizza (the term is “garlic scallions”). So delish.

The garlic was outgrowing its cramped home (3 in one pot), so the two remaining have their own pots now.

The green onion got so tall that it fell over. I replanted it when it started looking wilty and stagnant into the substandard pot I mentioned above. I didn’t have the best success getting it out of its original tiny pot. The roots had wrapped themselves around the entirety of the dirt (all the roots were in a circle around the base of the onion–none in the middle), and the dirt was firmly ensconced in the pot. It took some tugging, but I got it out, sans all the dirt.

Oops.

It didn’t look like anything tore, but I quickly planted it in new, nicer soil, and although it’s still too heavy to hold itself up, it’s growing again. I gave it a stick to lean on. I’m honestly not sure what this thing is supposed to do, but the top tips (about 2 inches out of about a foot) stay browned/shriveled (even before I moved it), even when the bottoms look good. I was hoping for flowers. Should I eat it instead? Should I cut off the brown parts and let it grow more?

The garlic is also brown/yellow at the tips and bottom leaves. I’m very attached to this garlic, so Imma need it to use its words. Hopefully, this is normal. It’s only early summer here now.

I picked up a gardener’s reference from the library that I’m hoping will help me sleep better.

Recent Learnings

I’ve been reading a few gardening books over the last couple of weeks, so I’ve learned how to be even less sure of what I’m doing. Am I over-watering (the cilantro, yes, clearly)? Under-watering (hence the brown on the onion)? Lacking nutrients in my brand-new potting soil (unlikely)? There’s a lot to learn.

I’ve learned that I don’t really want to do tomatoes. Stakes/cages/log cabins/skyscrapers, all to support a vegetable that I don’t go crazy over? Meh.

I tossed the tomato sprouts and planted more basil. Instead of scattering seeds everywhere in the pot, I just put a few in the middle of the pot. That way I won’t have to risk all this shady transplanting and culling business. I also took the small pots that formerly held the cilantro (*shudder*) and green onion and put a few basil seeds in each. It may be another week before they sprout.

A trip two weekends ago included a visit to the Brookgreen Gardens. I now want an oak tree, please. Just a little one. In a pot when I get it, not from a seed.

Unfortunately, there’s a nursery just down the road from us. How dangerous is that? I’m supposed to be getting rid of Stuff, not collecting Life.

One of my recent reads featured a whole lot of flower/foliage gardens for “weekend gardening” (less time-intensive). Some of the varieties were actually very pretty. If I try out the square foot gardening idea after we move, I could go for a segment being flowers, especially lupines.

For now, more waiting and reading. I want garlic bulbs, damn it.

  • Jed

    It may be a bit late to try to separate the orange seedlings, depending on how close together they are. You want to do it as soon as possible, and be very careful not to break the roots. If they are too big/too close to separate your best alternative is to just break one off at the soil and let the other one grow.
    The garlic sounds fine. The lower leaves die off as it grows, just be careful if you decide to remove them to not damage the rest of the plant. Yellow or brown tips on the leaves are nothing big to worry about as long as it stays at the tips. When we grew garlic to sell the leaves were almost completely brown by the time we picked it. The plants look dead by the time you get a good garlic bulb.

    • Turns out there were actually 3 seedlings! Greg and I got them separated into three cans this afternoon. I think it went well, but the roots were really deep for such tiny things. They’re going to outgrow spinach and corn cans quickly. Luckily, I have a huge 16-quart pot that my big ol’ shrub used to be in.

      Trees!

      I’m also excited about the garlic. That’s, like, a 6x increase in garlickness if I actually get a bulb. ^_^