The new gardening year has officially started for us at the Tin Foil Hat homestead. We planted our seeds for the garden in the little starter boxes.
Tomatoes — 50 plants — because I’m ever the optimist, and because I don’t expect all of them to live. 20 pomodoro plants, 10 of a different variety of pomodoro, Ida Gold orange tomatoes, Black Krims, a bunch of heirloom cherry tomatoes called Sugar Lump. For some reason, the cherry tomatoes make the most delicious salsa! I’m not sure, but I think it’s the combination of the chiles’ smoky hot with the tomato sweet that really makes it. And I want to try my hand at making my own tomato paste this year too.
Anaheim chiles because however many we plant, we always run out of chiles before the next crop comes in! 20 of those.
10 Marconi sweet red peppers, 10 hybrid green peppers; we chop them and freeze them, and use them all winter long.
More chard, spinach, turnip greens, bush beans, sugar pod peas, fava beans. I haven’t ever had luck with favas but I think it’s because I always wait until too late in the year to plant them. This year they’re already direct seeded in the front planter boxes (OK, they’re rubbermaid tubs but they work!) and I’m hoping they’ll do better.
10 long italian purple eggplants. I would like to also plant some of the little white ones as well, but I have to order seed. There are few things better than munching on home made nan with baba ganoush made from home grown and roasted eggplant.
15 sweet potatoes in water, with the hope of slips to plant.
We’re going to be trying a few squash varieties that supposedly squash bugs aren’t interested in, that taste pretty similar to zucchini, this year. And I would still love to grow loofa!
I need to order rhubarb starts; mine died in the heat of the summer mostly, I think, because it didn’t get a good start before the heat set in. I’m going to keep it in a planter for this year and bring it indoors if it gets too wilted looking.
I wanted a greenhouse, but they’re not cheap; my little hoop houses made from plastic and PVC didn’t hold up at all to our winds so that idea was a bust. So this seems to be working so far — the window gets sun for most of the day.
The next project on the list is to add some beds to the side yards, and install drip irrigation on at least some of the beds; watering is getting to be a very time consuming project and while I do believe the best fertilizer is the gardener’s shadow, I also believe I’d like to spend more time weeding and mulching vs. feeling stressed about the time spent watering instead of doing those tasks.
Preserve something: nope, not this week although I did dry some green onions a few weeks ago.
Waste not: still using most of the same starting trays I purchased several years ago. I had to buy a few new ones since the old ones cracked and sprung leaks. Best of all, who knew that a disposable suture tray is the perfect size for keeping two flats of peat starter cups? I brought one home from work several months ago after I disinfected it with the idea of using it for plant starts and it’s perfect!
Eat something: yep. Tomato sauce, salsa, bread from home stored bulk wheat, eggs, chard, rice from stores, frozen veggies of all sorts, frozen cherries, jams, peaches, leftovers.
Build community systems: unfortunately no. I have to get over my aversion to leaving the house on my days off (I’m gone for 15 -16 hours a day on the days I work so I literally come home in time to go to bed) and get over to the high school and offer my assistance with their FHA program. They want to start a massive compost heap, use the heat from the compost to keep tilapia, use the waste on the greenhouse plants, and sell the fish and the produce. Which is a fantastic idea and totally doable!!!
I think January is the best month of all for a gardener. The possibilities are endless and the fantasies are as yet unpunctured.