Broomstick's Garden Year Three

It’s time for gardening talk again!

This is 3rd or 4th in a series - the prior threads are:

Gardening Questions or Broomstick’s Garden Year One
Broomstick’s Garden Year Two
Broomstick’s Winter Garden

A kind friend who works at a gardening store used her employee discount to buy me a gift of seed starting pots, trays, potting soil, and seeds. Today I started the following seeds indoors:


Bok Choy


Lettuce - 6 varieties, Tango, Royal Oak Lef, Red Salad Bowl, Black-Seeded Simpson, Grand Rapids “TBR”, and Red Sails. These are leftover from last year, but have already passed a germination test (they were also planted in the winter garden about 3 months ago).

Chard - white stem Swiss and Bright Lights multi-colored

Kale - Ragged Jack and Italian

Radish - Easter Egg Blend (started inside despite “not recommended”) and White Icicle. (Found my misplaced Scarlet Globe after I planted the others - I’ll use them next time)

Beets - Bulls Blood, Chioggia, and Golden. (Found my Detroit Red after I planted these - yep, another “next time”)

That’s 50 plants altogether, which should be plenty to start. In addition, I think I can try transplanting the parsley and basil from the winter garden (the green leafies I might just make into dinner - it wasn’t a terribly successful experiment). I’m debating on whether to do another seed tray when I put the first plants outside, or just sow seeds alongside the started plants for round two of all of the above. Feel free to state your opinion on that. I don’t think I’d put any seed in the ground before the end of April/beginning of May.

The landlord will bring the rototiller sometime in the next couple weeks. I’ve got one compost heap ready for spreading, the other is filling up with the spring lawn stuff and kitchen leavings. Meanwhile, the daffodils are up, the rose bushes are starting to leaf, and I’ve cleaned out the flower bed on the side of the building.

The next batch of seeds - the stuff that’s cold intolerant - will be started inside in about a month. They are:

Beans - Yellow, Wax, and Burgundy. Oddly enough, I don’t seem to have any green beans. I think I used them all last year, so I’ll get more seeds

Malabar spinach - not successful last year, so I’ll try again

Okra - it came up last year, then disappeared mid-summer. Another “try again”.


Carrots - Chantenay Red Cored and Purple Dragon. The trick with these is convincing my spouse to eat them, as he is long conditioned to uniformly orange roots from the local grocery store

Peas - strictly for the spouse as I am allergic to them.

Sunflower - Mammoth Grey Stripe and Claret Hybrid (Mostly for our pet birds, but the spouse snacks on them, too)

Corn - Strawberry Popcorn and multi-colored Indian Corn (More bird food)

Parsley - Italian Flat Leaf and Moss Curled


Lavender - Lady and Purple Ribbon (To look pretty and smell nice)

Marigolds - I always have marigolds. Actually, I’m assuming they self-seeded again so I’ll only be planting them from saved seed if they fail to come up.

I still need to get some onion sets and seed potatoes, but that shouldn’t be a problem. I’ve got all the above already and haven’t touched my usual $20 garden allowance yet (I also got a new pair of gardening gloves with everything else). So… onion sets, potatoes, green been seeds, and maybe some more starter pots if that seems a good idea.

I’m thinking of breaking some more sod this year. I think the sunflowers and malabar spinach should go along the chain link fence between me and the bar next door. (The beans and cucumbers already have some fence reserved for them). The lavender should probably go in the flower bed on the south side of the building with the marigolds and roses.

Oh - and I have a supply of rose branches to discourage critter digging stacked in back. Also, my friend gave me a jar of coyote urine - we’re hoping it will discourage various forms of wild life from raiding the garden. I am sooo not opening that jar inside the house!

Wow, I’m envious and impressed!

I dunno, maybe I should have been a farmer…

I failed to mention that I found an old wheelbarrow last year while mowing the lawn. (That still does not beat my friend who not only found a lawnmower once while mowing a lawn, but once found a boat when mowing a neglected lot. Remember, this is tallgrass prairie territory, the grass can hide small buildings if you let it run wild). The wheebarrow will make shifting dirt, compost, and landscape trimmings much easier this year.

You might have noticed I like having multiple varieties of something (last year I had seven varieties of lettuce!). I like color in my food.

I’m halfway tempted to buy some squash, but I’m the only one who eats it and I have very limited storage space - otherwise, I probably could grow most vegetables we’d eat in a year.

Remember (if you’ve been in my garden threads before) that in some respect I’m a very casual gardener. My plot doesn’t look very groomed, there are usually a few weeds in there… It’s not at all perfect and pristine. I usually loose about 1/3 of the plants to one thing or another, so I take that into account from the beginning.

Well, I was shopping at Aldi’s today and they had their seeds out. So I got some green beans. Yay! Four colors of beans again.

Then I continued on to Meijer’s and got seeds for orange carrots (to go with the red core and red ones), scallions, and squash. I know I said I wasn’t going to get squash, but I do eat it so I got some acorn squash.

Now I can plant Three Sisters mounds in the backyard.

Yes, the SNAP program really does pay for vegetable seeds. Well, sure, they’ll eventually be food, right?

Also found a supply of more plantable starter pots at Meijer’s, so really, I could start ALL my seeds indoors this year if I wanted to do so. I think there’s some merit in that idea, assuming the first tray works out as well as I hope.

Was VERY tempted to get some dill seeds and a few other herbs, but restrained myself - I’ve got enough planned out already, I think.

Meanwhile - I’m working on cleaning up the beds somewhat: removing trash, pulling last year’s growth, etc. I might extend the stripe along the chain link fence. We’ll see.

I’ve got basil and parsley growing in the basement under growlights, and I need to get the peas in the ground ASAP. It rained today, so maybe tomorrow. Your garden sounds wonderful, Broomstick!

My garden is wonderful - I was cleaning up the beds this afternoon and found a double-handful of carrots that survived the winter. I suspect they’ll either be a side vegetable with tonight’s dinner, or in salads tomorrow, or maybe some stew in the slow cooker.

Broomstick, as far as using plantable starter pots, you could use egg shells filled with your choice of starter soil to start seeds in. You could plant the egg shells at the best time in your area and the egg shell will become part of the garden in time. Best of luck with your garden.

Well, I suppose I could… if we ate a lot of eggs, which we don’t. But it’s a good idea. I’ve also heard of using cardboard egg cartons as starter pots, too. There are actually quite a few options out there nowadays.

Wonderful work! Where do you find the space to put all the seed trays? Here all the windows facing south/east are basically stuffed with pots from the plants/flowers that don’t tolerate cold, and I wonder where I’ll put my trays! Time to reorganize all that I guess.

This year my partner is preparing a diploma in organic farming, so he’s away a lot and I am for the first time in charge of basically all that concerns seeds and seedlings. This is tricky because the climate this year is colder than usual so I am even more puzzled by when do I need to plant this or that, considering we have bought precocious varieties of various veg.

Stuff that is still in the garden from last year:

  • chards
  • leeks
  • parsley
  • yellow cabbage
  • perpetual cabbage
    I think that’s all… (besides chives, thym, rosemary, sage, vietnamese coriander, etc)
    There are also some spontaneous seedlings of parsnip and black salsify.
    I -think- at one place there are potatoes in the ground. We havn’t planted potatoes in two years, we don’t harvest them all and let it grow again, it has worked out well, but we move out the house in autumn, otherwise we would have planted new potatoes plants this year.

Last week I planted parsley roots, perpetual salad, horseradish, all gotten from a plant swap we went to in march. (no idea what exactly the perpetual salad is, it looks like some kind of corn salad).
I also planted shalots, onions, spinach (among the strawberries patches) and fava beans (among where I think the potatoes will be)

This week I’ll plant more onions (among the cabbages), black salsify, various salads and probably spinach beet and garden beet (among the onions and shallots).
I’ll have to decide about what seeds I’ll plant indoor and buy soil for seeds.
Oh wait indoor I have currently growing water-pepper seedlings and some ginger (we’ll put it in the garden when the wheather will be nice).

Like you it’s also vital for us to grow our veggies, economically wise. Though now we also know enough people in the local organic circuit to be able to swap veggies/work for veggies, or be gifted various veggies when folks have surplus.
We also swap seeds a hell lot!

That’s a really smart idea. I mean, when you buy a packet of zucchini seeds, you get like 3 dozen…who the heck needs that many zucchini plants?

Usually two zucchini plants is one too many.

Last summer we had about 4 or 5 zucchini plants in the garden. We let a lot of them grow big and mature to keep them in the winter, but I ended up giving many of them to the goat and the mule, because by february I was sick of eating the stuff.

Swaping seeds also allows us to test more varieties for free; I got a lot of various colorful beans and corns, whereas I wouldn’t have justified for me the cost of buying “frivolous” seed packets for up to 6 or 8 bucks a piece, for heirloom organic seeds, when we had already spent 50 dollars in seeds this year. (mostly precocious/bad wheather friendly tomatoes, melon, chili peppers, eggplant --because only getting 15kg of tomatoes out of 60 plants just plain sucked last summer, no tomato sauce or cans of cherry tomatoes for the winter!)

Thanks Broomstick for opening up this thread, because it is motivating me to go take care of my own garden.

I make newspaper pots - half a newspaper page, folded in half again, wrapped around a bean can, one piece of tape around the perimeter, fold in the bottom and tape shut. Plant the whole thing in time and it disintegrates.

We bought all of our seeds about a month ago. We got bush green beans, cucumbers, and carrots, as well as alyssum, zinnias and sunflowers. We will buy tomato plants in about six weeks. We have given up on peppers completely! In five years we’ve gotten no more than one decent size pepper from each plant.

Our lettuce re-seeded, so it’s coming up nicely. We have the unkillable chives that we bought five years ago that we split and share every couple of years. We bought some herbs (rosemary, thyme, orgegano, and sage) for pots as well as a few strawberry plants to try. I’m not sure our pots look big enough, but they’re bigger than a so-called “strawberry pot”, so I guess they’ll be OK.

Our plot is fairly small - a 12’ x 12’ raised bed, divided up into some rows. We’re getting more topsoil again this year. While I’m sure it used to be lovely soil, what’s left after it was all scraped to build the houses is horrible clay. Our neighbors are building another raised bed this spring, so we’re going to split the cost of having some cubic yardage delivered.

The wheelbarrow will make your life much easier this spring. We got one last year, and I simply don’t understand how I managed without it. Our garden isn’t particularly big, but we have the typical Appalachian “rolling lot.” (That’s a real estate euphemism that means if you lose your footing, your ass is rolling down the hill.) Hossing compost and mulch and such is kind of an ordeal on a 60-degree slope. Especially the compost–the bin is on the patio, and spreading it used to mean lugging the bin through the gate into the dog lot, turning a corner, going through another gate, turning completely around, and the finally tackling the slope.

I’m glad things are going so well for you with the gardening, and hope the other stuff gets better soon.

Oh wow, that all sounds so wonderful. Don’t mind me, I’ll be drooling quietly in the corner.

Has anyone here had luck with planting cilantro/coriander that doesn’t “bolt” (get all leggy and go to seed ASAP)? I live in the Chicago suburbs so maybe it’s the climate, but I even get the “slow-bolting” varieties and boom, they get all scraggly, with thin leaves, and then the budding/flowering starts. Snip off the buds and they just make more, and the leaves are thin and pale.

After getting house rabbits as pets, I’m afraid to plant anything outside. We have wild rabbits in the neighborhood, which are frequently seen in the yard, and considering what our home-bunnies will gobble down voraciously, I wonder how we ever got anything outside to get past the sprouting stage!

Well, I don’t do houseplants. I have a black thumb for indoor plants, a green one for outside (how that happened I don’t know, but life is strange). I actually don’t have my seedlings in MY place - the apartment upstairs in uninhabitable, so they’re in the south-facing rooms upstairs, with the landlord’s permission. As he gets the overflow from my garden it’s in his interest to give me a means to boost production. And I get to tease him about being a medieval landlord taking his rent in kind :slight_smile:

(Several years ago when a tornado went through town we didn’t get a direct hit, but what amounted to a small tree was driven through the roof and ended up smashing into the upstairs apartment bathroom, shattering the light/fan, the mirror, totally destroyed the toilet tank, and even cracked some of the floor tile. It was an exciting night, but the bathroom up there still hasn’t been repaired, nor has the rest of the damage from that night other than patching the roof. The windows, however, have some wonderful southerly sunlight.)

I have given up on peppers, too - and it’s a shame, because they’re my husband’s favorite vegetable, he’ll eat slices of them like most people eat potato chips. Well, at least I save enough money with the rest of the garden that we can manage to buy him as many bell peppers as he can possibly eat. It’s a shame, though - I’d love to have a patch of multi-colored bell peppers in the backyard, but, well, sometimes you just have to know your limitations.

We did have some things reseed, but aside from pulling the usable carrots I think it’ll all get rototilled in a week or two. I have an abundance of seeds, and it seems easier to start over than to work around random patches of this and that.

I’m fortunate - my building went up before that became common practice. I have real prairie soil out back. Breaking sod is a pain, but once it’s done I have that lovely black midwestern dirt other people would kill to get their hands on.

I compost to keep the soil that lovely.

Around my house the hawks and coyotes keep the local rabbit population in check. In the case of the hawks it can lead to the “flying rabbit” effect.

I have had problems with feral housecats digging in the garden - they’re not eating it, they’re using it as a litterbox. With established plants it’s not much of an issue, but they destroy the seedlings. I got very cross at the next door bar when they “adopted” a street cat and put food out for it, but it then used my garden as a latrine.

I’m hoping the jar of coyote urine helps with that.

The seeds in the starter pots have sprouted! (wow, fast!)

The self-reseeded marigolds are sprouting in the flower bed outside.

I’ve started a new compost heap.

And I’m a bit behind in cleaning up/dealing with the fenceline. Can’t rototill along there because of, well, the fence and the footings and lots of big rocks there. So I’ll probably open up something like another six feet of bed along there this year.

My rototiller guy/landlord said he’d be happy to expand the main garden plot, just mark out the boundaries I’d like. Why not? More to eat, less lawn to mow.

So far, so good, here’s hoping things keep humming along.

Nope. We have given up on cilantro as well. It sits in the pot for about a week or two - not growing at all. Then it just bolts straight up and goes to flower! No more for us.