Sunday, March 28, 2010

Homecooked basics

As we get ready to move, we need to have the apartment in the proper condition to show to prospective tenants. And although I don't mind an entire shelf of plants blocking a window, I don't think others will feel the same way. So, I purged our herbs by making them into something else. I cut down the entire pot of basil and made 2.5 cups of pesto. I also cut down an entire pot of parsley and grabbed some chicken bones out of the freezer to make stock. I didn't realize I had 3 carcasses in there, so I have 2 gallons of stock now. I finally went out and bought some quart containers so I can freeze the stock in manageable quantities.

It's nice not buying pesto or stock from the store - both are quite expensive and much lower quality than I can make at home.

Last Frost in SE Wisconsin

According to this site, the last frost in Milwaukee is June 1, but most of the time you can subtract two weeks from that and not experience a hard frost. Given the timing of our upcoming move, it looks like Memorial Day weekend will be the time to transplant our seedlings.

I may bring a soil tester with me to our home inspection so I can see what type of soil is available along the side of our house that wouldn't need to be tilled...

Saturday, March 27, 2010

First seeds of 2010

In 2009, Aaron and I planted some common herb seedlings, as well as three types of tomatoes (Patio, Big Boy, and.....something else). The herbs thrived and the patio tomatoes were great, but the rest of the tomatoes were taken by blight. All of our plants were grown in container in our driveway or on the balcony. We still have basil, thyme, chives, parsley, oregano and sage growing in our kitchen. I made pesto in the middle of winter!

I planted our first seeds today. I bought them all at Outpost Coop. All are organic, and many are from the Seed Savers Exchange. They're planted in organic pots so I don't have to do much work to transplant them - just put the pots in the ground/larger pot and they'll become part of the soil.

I got lots of herbs, and a few more varieties of tomatoes. It's more exciting this year, because we're moving into our first house at the end of May. Some of these plants may make it into the ground! Although many will stay in containers, I'm hoping to find some ground space for tomatoes and basil, and the spearmint will probably grow well behind our garage. I'll spend the summer and fall testing our soil, plotting our garden space, and creating a plot and/or raised bed. For sure I'll be adding some compost from Growing Power, and starting our own compost pile behind the garage. I'm excited!

Seeds I started today:
  • Beefsteak (2)
  • Speckled Roman (2)
  • Silvery Fir Tree (2)
  • Moonglow (2)
  • Blondkopfchen (2)
  • Sweet Pea Currant (2)

  • Genovese Basil (24) - we need more pesto!
  • Basil Mix (6)
  • Spearmint (2)
  • Garlic chives - 4", scattered
  • Oregano (6)
  • Thyme - 8", scattered - about 20-30 seedlings
Parsley seeds need to soak for 24 hours, so those will be started tomorrow. I'm planning about 24 of those. I have cilantro, but won't start that for quite some time.