Saturday, April 12, 2008

Time to Sow

Actually, it's a little past the time.

I am new to gardening you see. Sort of. I grew up having a big, big garden in our back yard. We even had a greenhouse and fruit trees/ vines/ bushes. But mostly, as a kid and then a teenager, my main job was to weed. And I hated that job. So now that I want to grow some food here at our house, I am a little lost. It helped that the previous owners of our house had built a tiny raised bed. It had all sorts of things growing in it when we moved in. Maybe we can grow some things in it again.

According to a few different authorities, it is time to start your seeds in the garden. . Or maybe just past the time, but I think it is not too late. I am using the book Month by Month Gardening in Pennsylvania by Liz Ball. Her Pennsylvania Gardener's Guide was also recommended to me. Some seeds you can plant directly into the soil are: lettuce, spinach, peas, potatoes (not exactly seeds), onions (more like bulbs), radishes, parsnips, kohlrabi, endive, escarole, cauliflower, swiss chard, carrots, cabbage (not chinese), brussel sprouts, broccoli, beets, and just about all the herbs (except basil and marjoram). Corn can be planted soon. Of course lots of seeds can be started indoors (or should have been, but that kind of preparation is beyond me at this point). Many of these things can be grown in containers, also, including potatoes in five gallon buckets. I've got lettuce and spinach growing in containers right now. The lettuce has already yielded a delicious salad. These came from Goose Creek Gardens ( ) at the Farm to Table meeting. They have a CSA and sell at Farmers@Firehouse. Some seeds sources recommended from the Yahoo group are Johnny's, High Mowing, Seeds of Change, Territorial Seeds, and the local Heiloom Seeds I bought some seeds at the East End Co-op and inherited an onion set from a generous friend. I'm trying lettuce and onions right now and hope to add herbs (particularly cilantro), spinach and broccoli soon.

Those seeds that need to be started inside? Well, I usually buy those from other people. Everyone is talking about Garden Dreams in Wilkinsburg for all that good stuff. One reason is 95 tomato varieties. Plants are $2.75 each. You must order soon to pick up May 2nd through May 10th. There also will be a plant sale at Garden Dreams on Saturday May 24 and Sunday May 25. They also sell gardening supplies, compost and mulches, as well as seedlings. Many products are organic and the nursery is Certified Naturally Grown. Another option if you are a gardener, is to attend the Pittsburgh Garden Swap at Frick Park. You can bring your ten best seedlings to swap with others.

If you want to try growing fruit, group members recommend Miller's Nursery,, particularly for their customer service. I'm trying raspberries from a friend's raspberry canes that she thinned out. I hope also to put in some strawberries if it's not too late.

I'm sure there are lots of other great places around to buy plants, seedlings, seeds and garden products. If you know of any to recommend, please post a comment.

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