What’s sprouting?

Unseasonably warm temperatures (it *is* still March, isn’t it?) have me in a definite springtime mood. Some friends speak of a new kind of SAD: not Seasonal Affective Disorder, the diagnosis of wintertime blues; rather Spring Affective Disorder, where the combination of nice weather and long daylight hours fill one’s mind with fun-filled nights and outdoor activities (this despite the early spring being one of the busiest times of the year work-wise).

I have to admit that the time change, which finally hit Europe this week, is a huge boon to post-workday activity, and my evening eating schedule has gone all wonky. Living on the top floor of a building with roof access, I spent many winter nights imagining how I would create there a summer sunshine paradise with my many plants and a reclining chair, where I would while away the hours of thesis research reading, lemonade in hand. The IKEA catalog arrived at just the right moments to keep the fantasy alive. You can see how that got me through the neverending madness that was January, right?

This week I took my first step towards building said oasis when a free shelving unit appeared on my university’s exchange bulletin board. And my plants are doing their part by sprouting from seeds I planted a couple weeks ago.

BBaron posted earlier this month about how far our food travels to land on our plates. Having grown up in a family with a passion for gardening and having survived three winters and springs in Russia, I have been socialized to spend part of one’s summer tending one’s own crop. Anyone who does it knows that you can’t beat the taste of a home-grown tomato. There is no better way to know where your food is coming from than planting, tending and picking it yourself. However, considering I only have planters at my disposal and that I have to carry all dirt used up five flights of stairs, my enterprise is limited. My dad starts his tomatoes in January to ensure an early harvest and already has tall plants. But then, when it’s just me, how many tomatoes do I really need?

I’m interested to know what everyone else is growing this year. My list is after the jump.

Already sprouting are three types of tomatoes (red fleshy and red and orange firm) and one type of cucumber. I’ve also got buckets of rosemary and basil that I kept over the winter, and I’m hoping to revive some lemon thyme.

When it’s consistently warm enough, I’ll plant the following outside: pickling cukes, yellow beans, sunflowers, nasturtiums, lupines, beard carnations, and some other easy flowers and herb varieties.

And for the eye, I’ve also got pots filled with iris, freesia, anemone, gladiola, and acidanthera bulbs; the iris were sprouting in the warm store.

Any other balcony growers out there? What about folks with big yards and real plans? I’m curious what ideas and seeds have been popping up in your gardens.

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4 Responses to What’s sprouting?

  1. akdmyers says:

    It’s been ages since I tried to grow vegetables; I’ve never had much success in getting a good crop or having them end up tasting any good. I tried herbs in a windowsill container for awhile, too, but they all died, so I’m sticking with what I know: pretty flowers.

    This year we just moved to a new house and we have a small garden plot next to the front door – maybe 3’x5′. It looks like there are some iris and tiger lilies coming up, and there’s something else that is definitely not a weed, but I have no idea what it actually is. I have dreams of planting gladiolas, pansies, snapdragons, and anything else bright and colorful that catches my eye when I go shopping, but it will all depend on how much space I actually have. I also have a large pot left us by the previous tenant, so I am thinking of some kind of overflowing container garden as well.

  2. B Barron says:

    Your balcony project sounds marvelous! Over the last 5 years I given over a considerable part of my back yard to growing fruit and vegetable plants. The percentage of “available land under cultivation” gets a little higher every year. Like you, I have been tempted to start planting by record warm days (mid-80 degrees F), but I have managed to remain cautious, since it is possible for us to have frost here until April 15. (Once we had 12″ of snow on April 1.) Here is my “edible” list for the summer so far: rosemary, strawberries, blueberries, pomegranates, & figs (these are winter-hearty so the plants/bushes/tree are already in the ground); heirloom tomatoes, hot peppers, basil, & pickling cucumbers (will be planted after the danger of frost is past and the ground warms up some); and Meyer lemons & Persian limes (trees grown in pots that move inside with me in the winter – they will move to the “summer patio” soon).

  3. Sonetka says:

    Sigh … we don’t have a garden and our balcony is tiny and somehow contrives to be shaded at every time of day; nice for sitting on, not so nice for plants. When we do get a garden, I think I’ll go crazy and plant a bunch of huge, space-consuming plants like pumpkins and sunflowers.

  4. […] Way back at the end of March, I posted an entry about my fantasy “summer sunshine paradise” out my kitchen window and on the […]

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