Both shipments of seeds have finally arrived! Today I am setting out to plant them into the starter pots and mini greenhouse. I cannot wait to see these things take off! Every winter, around this time, my Dad starts his garden in the basement. He gets out his mini greenhouses and sets up the lighting rig. Timers are set, and seeds are sewn to get ready for the vegetables that will go into the ground in spring when the frosts pass and the weather turns to warmer times. Here in California, I wanted to stick to the same kind of schedule even though I do not have to worry about frosts. I do have to worry about sun on the balcony! I am hoping that starting the seeds this soon will be an advantage over last year's very late start but also not too soon so that they dwarf due to not enough light yet. Here is to hoping.
I am starting blue lake pole beans this year. I bought beans last year, but they were bush and mislabeled as pole beans. They went nowhere and fast! I am hoping that this year yields better results with actual pole climbers. I am adding peas this year as well to the trellis system. I picked out the Lincoln variety for their short height and and hopefully large yields. For tomatoes this year, I am going to try out Romas. I really wanted to try one of the cold weather varieties, but they seem to not do as well as promised by the seed companies. Most people out here choose Early Girl, but I wanted to give these a shot and see how they do. I am thinking about planing two plants since last year resulted in a low turn out. I just do not think that it gets warm enough overnight for tomatoes here, but I wanted to give it another shot. I also purchased Bell Boy green peppers. I learned from my parents that you really need to plant those in pairs for the best results, so I am going to get another pot and plant two of them this year and place them close together.
A new addition to the garden is going to be beets. I bought Perfected Detroit beets. I am going to get a round container and plant a few at a time. We are not extreme beet fans, but like to have them on occasion. I figure as soon as they are ready, I will pull them and then start some new seeds. By the time those are then fully grown, we will be ready for more.
As a new choice this year, I picked Spacemiser zucchini. They are supposed to have a short vine and be good climbers. I am going to make another trellis this year for them and the cucumbers to climb up in their own pot. For cucumbers, I picked Fanfare. These are also supposed to work well in containers, so I am hoping to get some good yields out of these two choices. I hope, however, that I will not get so many that I am bringing them where ever I go trying to give them away to whomever will take them.
While I am doing the herbs indoors in the Aerogarden, I wanted to try to do another herb garden outside with some of the plants that I love to use that are not included in the Aerogarden kit. I need to get myself a new sage plant, as the old one has just run its course. I also bought new oregano and marjoram to plant with it as well. I am thinking of doing a Mediterranean themed planter with all the plants that like slightly dry and sandy soils. I am also going to plant a small pot of cilantro. Now that I know that you have to resow it every now and then, I think that I can get a good, consistent crop out on the balcony. I also have decided against planting any basil out on the balcony. I think it is the main attractor of the white flies that eat up everything, so I thought I would just spare myself the agony and grow it in the Aerogarden only. Speaking of which, things have really progressed on that front:
At this point, the dill has really taken off, and the mint is full of new growth. The thyme has sprouted and will most likely be ready to be uncovered soon. The parsley also is starting to grow at a rather slow rate. The only thing that has not gone anywhere is the chives. I still have some good ones growing out on the balcony that may get their own small pot. I love fresh chives on many things, so maintaining a supply is a must. Ok, I cannot wait any longer, I am off to plant some new vegetables!