Monday, January 27, 2014

Veggies From Scratch

Oh, I'm getting all cocky now.

With an 82% success rate from last year (the only failures were one of the Gus twins and the Brussels sprouts), and an apparent lack of winter in Southern California, I'm starting this year's plants from seeds.

I started the basil in the front yard from seed two years ago, and that worked out so well, it has self-seeded.  It isn't bushy, but I can pull off a few leaves whenever I want.  There is precedent for this madness.

I bought two packets.  The first is a rainbow mixture of bell peppers.  Yes, they destroy my stomach, but my neighbor grows them quite successfully in his front yard.  If he can do it....  The other is pumpkin seeds, which I'll have to wait until March to plant or I'll get pumpkins too early.

I picked up a starter tray and some seeding soil.  Pretty sure my 4th grade pea-growing experience can take it from there.  Stick it in the kitchen's greenhouse window, water regularly, and hope for the best for 6-8 weeks.  Yes, it's 18 of the little cups, but this is me.  If half of them make it into the ground, I'll be surprised.  I only put one or two seeds in each cup, instead of 2 to 3, so it's highly unlikely there will be an overabundance of peppers.  They should start popping up any time after the 1st.

The next part of the plan is where to transplant the survivors.  If the lettuce is done by the end of March, I'll put them in the fountain garden.  The six little plants are still alive, but only five of them are showing signs of growth.  The sixth is in a spot that I never realized doesn't get direct sun in the winter.

Should the fountain not be an option, there's an area of the front yard that is supposed to be for growing ornamental plants like roses.  They are not well organized, and it has ended up looking un-landscaped.  I can rip up some of that area and make a pepper patch.  A smaller area by the hose will be perfect if there are more than five to transplant.  Strawberries grew there at one point, until bugs ate them.

I researched where to put the pumpkins, and realized that those plants get huge.  I came up with enough space to plant two hills in the front yard and one in the back.  The front yard ones are barely going to get enough sun to make it, but I'll have the most awesome Halloween decorations on the block.  The back yard one will have at least 8 hours of full sun and another two of partial by the start of summer, so that's the one I'm banking on for the two pumpkins it will take to make back the investment.  Both sites are going to require serious excavation and soil preparation.  I'll do that the week before planting.

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