Be Aggressive…B.E. Aggressive…B.E. A.G.G.R.E.S.S.I.V.E.! Be Aggressive! Yeah!
That old football cheerleader chant is my new mantra when it comes to…of all things…gardening.
Last year, after years of container herb gardening and volunteering at the C.S.A. farms we have been members of, my dad and his buddy built some raised beds in our backyard and we all got to work growing our own.
We learned perhaps more than we ate, so there are many helpful links for starting gardens in this post — including newspaper seed starting cups — click for more!!
It was a mixed bag of successes and failures. We got loads of lettuces and arugula; Leandro’s sugar snap peas were off the hook; we had terrific eggplant and broccoli well into fall; and the French Breakfast radishes were prolific and amazingly sweet (pictures and recipes here). The peppers, however, were pretty disappointing except for Pedro’s sizzling habaneros. We didn’t thin the beets right, so that was a wash, except for a couple of handfuls of greens (beet growing tips here). The tomatoes got late blight just as they were beginning to ripen (sad story and recovery here). The basil…well there was some, but we had to use the farm’s basil and some from a neighbor to make our pesto supply for the winter.
Anyhow, I figure that a lot of our failures were due to starting several vegetables a bit too late. This year, I am not going to let that happen. I worked out my ideal planting days on a seed starter planner from Organic Gardening. With a combination of purchased seeds and some that I saved from last year, the planting has begun.
Leandro and I planted a whole tray of pepper varieties this week (including ají dulce - the small sweet pepper critical to Puerto Rican sofrito), and I have put in some spinach in experimental newspaper cups that we made by rolling sheets of newspaper around a small can and tucking in the bottom.
As the paper is not acid free, I may take it off when transplanting (I would welcome input on that from more experienced organic farmers!) Right now I am using a table that my parents are not using, but soon it will all come upstairs and my southern exposure kitchen window will become a nursery again.
Wish us luck and send suggestions!
You may also like:
Raised Beds (with link on how-to)
And the Garden Grows (early spring success)