As many of you know, I am moving out into the country to my homestead this spring. I talked to my son Jeremy the other day. We discussed moving my trailer onto my land. Unfortunately, the ground there is still too wet to move the building, but it is not too wet for me to start planting garden transplants indoors here in Springfield.
I actually started the weekend after Thanksgiving when I planted a single sweet potato in a container in my kitchen. To tell you the truth, I wasn’t sure that it would grow because the sweet potato had been scrubbed so much that some of the outer skin had been scrubbed off. However, the sweet potatoes did grow. It grew so well that last week I separated some of the first of the slips (the green leaves, stems and attached roots) from the sweet potato tuber and planted them in soil. Some gardeners place slips in water, but I believe that the slips will transplant into the garden better if they are planted in soil rather than allowed to root in water. I left one green leaf on the tuber so that more slips can grow from the tuber.
Onions– This year I have two kinds of onions that I am starting from seed. One is yellow Spanish sweet onion and the other is a Red Florence which is an heirloom variety. I planted about four seeds in each cell. The reason I did this is so that when the time comes to plant the cell, I’ll simply pop the cell in the ground and I’ll have four onion plants to work with rather than one. This means that I will be able to plant much more quickly and I won’t have to deal with one single skinny little plant.
Chives– I only had a few chive seeds left so I planted them in a couple little cells. When the chives reach size, I will either transplant them into a larger pot or directly into the garden.
Asparagus-Though not usually as successful at starting from seeds as they are from crowns, I have started some plants from seed. Asparagus is a perennial vegetable that once established in three years should give me at least 20 years of production. I’ll probably be picking up a couple of crowns too. This way I’ll be able to get harvest a year earlier than I would with just the seeds.
Lavender-Lavender is another plant that is easier to grow from a plant than it is from seed, but again I am going to give it a try. If it doesn’t get started by the time spring comes, I’ll pick up a plant or two from the plant nursery.
Parsley is also an herb that I am growing that can be difficult at times to get started. To assist me at getting this plant started, I put the seed packet into the freezer and then stored it in the refrigerator until I was ready to plant. From what I understand, deep chilling the parsley before planting encourages the plant to sprout.
Basil-This is sweet basil that is specifically designed to grow in a container. I planted a few plants now, but I think I might plant more when I plant my tomato seeds for transplants. This herb is considered annual in temperate climates is actually a tropical perennial. If I can grow a couple plants of this herb in a container, I may be able to maintain this herb fresh all winter.
Oregano-Oregano is a very common herb used in Italian cooking. It is not just a common herb, but it is also perennial.
Winter Thyme– This plant is also a common perennial herb that grows like a low growing ground cover. It can be grown between rocks in a walkway or patio and will give off a pleasant scent if stepped on.
Lemon Mint-This lemony member of the mint family is often grown for drying to make a tea. It also is a perennial.
Cayenne Peppers-I’ll probably get a few other hot pepper plants as plants, but I am going to try to grow cayenne from seed this year. I will be able to dry the seeds and dry the flesh separately. The flesh I’ll dry and grind for cayenne powder. The seeds I’ll dry and use whenever I want to add a little more heat when I’m cooking and to save for seed to keep the variety going every year in my garden.
Sweet Peppers-I’m starting my peppers a little earlier than my tomatoes this year so that perhaps I may be able to get peppers and tomatoes ripening at the same time. Sweet peppers are one of the key components (along with tomatoes, onions, garlic, oregano, thyme, and basil) in my home canned tomato sauce. They are also a key ingredient in pickle relish and my homemade salsa. I’ll also enjoy eating them fresh and freezing them in various forms in the freezer to enjoy next winter.
Copenhagen Market Cabbage-Since I will be able to put out cabbage about the same time that I put out the onions, I planted a few cells of cabbage. I have other members of the cabbage family that I will put out as the season progresses, but I thought that a few cabbages grown early would be a nice to have in the garden.
I have a few small potatoes that I have been over wintering in my refrigerator with the sole intention of saving as seed potatoes that I will be planting this coming spring. They are of red, white and blue varieties. Back in the fall I wrapped each individual potato in brown paper and put them into a paper sack in the refrigerator. I pulled them out and looked at them a few days ago and not one of them was rotten. About two weeks before I intend to plant them, I will be taking them out and sprouting out the cherts at room temperature.
There you have it. The start to my garden, especially my herb garden. In the next couple of weeks, I’ll be starting other plants for transplanting including my tomato plants. More on those and my garden’s progress later.
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