November 27, 2012

Can't get much fresher

     Gardening is something that I'd like say I'm pretty good at.  The reality is that my enthusiasm is usually met with limited success.  However this year we've taken a new approach and I must say my success rate is increasing.
     In the past I think we've set our goals a bit too high.  I believe it could best be summed up as why only do one when you can do so much more??  Instead of easing our way into gardening we attacked like a SWAT team unfortunately our results were more along the lines of the Keystone Cops.  That's not to say we didn't enjoy the fruits veggies of our labor, but our yields definitely didn't match our efforts.  Until this year!!
     We decided to go smaller, much smaller.  Instead of four 16-square. foot boxes we opted for container gardening.  Finally our thumbs were beginning to change a slight shade of green.  Our most successful endeavor was the easiest and the most cost saving.  As you know we've been trying to eat healthier.  Unfortunately eating healthier costs much more than well NOT!!  Especially when it comes to salads.  We were dropping almost $20 a week on salad greens and such.  Well not anymore:

    We hit a clearance sale at Wal-mart and got 4 of these 22" window boxes for $4 each.  We have our own compost bins so the enriched soil was free.  One packet of mixed salad green seeds (also on clearance for 25 cents) and just a few weeks later ~Salad!!  Now for once I thought about the future and planned.  Instead of planting all 4 boxes at the same time I planted one every other week.  We had steamed shrimp salad for dinner the other night. I only needed to harvest half of a planter to fill three large bowls for dinner.   By cutting the lettuce and leaving approximately one inch of the plant behind the lettuce should be large enough to harvest again in the next 4 weeks.  If I do this right I believe we'll have fresh salad for months!!

 I'm also giving Broccoli a try this year.  I got a 9 pack of seedlings for only $1.99, there were actually 11 plants as two pods each had two plants ~ freebies I'll take any time. Last time I checked fresh Broccoli was $2.49 lb so even if only half of my plants survive I'm way ahead of the game.  I transplanted them about three weeks ago; looks like it is time to put them into bigger pots soon.  By using our compost the plants are always being fed whenever we transplant them into larger pots.
 Our other container success this year was this pepper plant.  We grabbed it at Sam's Club of all places and it has been producing spicy red peppers since June.  We're going to try and figure out a way to make a "greenhouse" of sorts to put around the entire plant hoping to prolong its life.  Did you know that squirrels like spicy peppers?   We have to harvest the peppers quickly or we lose them to those furry beasts.

    I have to tell you that having the lettuce planter on the table looked really pretty.  Which gave me this idea:
   I'm thinking of planting 8 or so small pots of lettuce and using them for a luncheon.  I'd put one pot at every place with a pair of scissors.  All of the salad fixings would be on the table and everyone would make a fresh salad.  At the end of the meal each guest would leave with a pot full of growing salad to take home with them.
 ~ What do you think?
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