Monday, February 20, 2012

Well, I Didn't Think This Day Would Come

A few years ago I remember talking to another food blogger & avid gardener at a happy hour about Arlington's ban on "farmyard" animals.  At the time, a pet dwarf goat was getting an eviction notice from the county.  The conversation naturally flowed to hens. I wondered aloud what the big deal with hens were.  I mean, they make lot less noise than a (poorly trained) dog and don't poop or pee in other people's yards.  And there's no law against poorly trained dogs in your own yard. Hens have the added benefit of creating amazing fertilizer. We figured you could probably raise rabbits for eating under the guise of pets, but both of us agreed that we weren't quite up to the task of killing a bunny ourselves.

Well, it looks like one group is trying to bring hens (not roosters!) to Arlington. My uncle has a backyard hen house back in Florida. I can vouch for the not noisy and not smelly possibility for raising laying hens. Those hens are pretty cute and didn't mind my rather grabby, not terribly gentle toddler to pet them.

Check out the Arlington Egg Project and sign the petition if you agree with them!  With any luck, hens for pets & for eggs will make their way back to this--formerly agricultural--county.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

What's Growing, 2012?

You'll see a lot of the usual suspects from my previous veggie gardens.  I have, however, decided that eggplant aren't worth the space for me.  I love them, but they don't love growing in my garden. 

I have also decided that I don't really like Swiss chard.  I know, I know: it's "delicious" sauteed with olive oil, garlic & a squeeze of lemon. I've tried, in vain, to like it. Really, I have.  This feels like a huge confession because any time I tell someone that I don't like Swiss chard, it's as if I said I don't like rainbows or chocolate. Perhaps I need to turn in my crunchy yuppie card?

And, finally, hot peppers are more useful for our purposes than sweet, so sweet peppers are out.

Tomato (Sungold)
Tomato (Black Cherry)
Tomato (Eva Purple Ball)
Tomato (Amy's Sugar Gem)
Ground Cherry (Cossack Pineapple)
Hot Pepper (Cherry)
Hot Pepper (Jalapeno)
Hot Pepper (Banana)
Hot Pepper (Trinidad Spice)
Hot Pepper (Fish)

Winter Squash (Delicata Zeppelin)
Summer Squash (Dark Green Zucchini)
Pickling Cucumber (Edmonson)
Pickling Cucumber, Diamante
Pickling Cucumber, Homemade Pickles

Lettuces & Legumes
Pole Bean (McCaslan)
Pole Bean (Louisiana Purple Pod)
Bush Bean (Provider)
Lettuce (Deer Tongue)
Lettuce (Red Velvet)
Lettuce (All Season Butterhead Mix)
Lettuce (Romaine Freckles)
Arugula (Even' Star Winter Arugula)
Bok Choy (Tatsoi Rosette)
Corn Mache
Kale ("Dinosaur"/Nero Toscana)
Mustard Greens

Root Vegetables
Onion (Yellow Borettana)
Potato (going to try to use a sprouting 'Vivaldi' I got from the farmer's market.  these are seriously the most delicious potatoes I have ever tasted & the only places for seed seem to be the UK)
Potato (Purple Sweet)

Annual Herbs & Flowers
Purple Opal Basil
Thai Basil
Sweet Basil
Opal Basil

Perennials from seed
Rosa chinensis  'Angel Wings' (This is just an experiment.  It's supposed to be a very dwarf rose shrub.)
Agastache rupestris/Sunset Hyssop 
Aquilegia 'McKana Giants'/Columbine

Sunday, February 5, 2012

2012: The Year of the Early Spring

Let's just pretend that I haven't been missing in action for 6 months.  I  know we've all had periods of insanity that allow push you into survival mode.  While I can't promise that won't happen again, I can talk about my 2012 garden which I've already started.

That's right folks: Already started.

In fact, I've even direct sowed some lettuce and mache/corn salad outside.  I figure, seed is cheap, and with this warm winter, I'm just wasting time and space if the garden isn't planted.  I sowed that seed on Wednesday and there aren't any sprouts yet.  It might be too cold still but it's worth a shot.

I've also started some kale and perennials indoors. Kale does OK in colder temps, so I'm going to put that out as soon as it's ready and I've got a bunch of ornamental planting to get done on a very small budget so starting perennials from seed will help that stretch a little.

Usually I've already agonized over my planting plan, figured out how many of each veggie I need to grow, and artfully arrange them as to maximize form and function.  This year, I'm going to fly by the seat of my pants.  Mrs. OCD is going to go with the flow.  It's going to be insanity itself. The truth is I rarely follow my planting plan anyways. I always find another packet of seeds that I simply must use which throws everything off.  This year, I'm going to embrace my natural tendencies and see where it takes me.

If you're seed starting for the first time & are a bit nervous, feel free to visit my previous posts on the subject.  And, if you need a planting/seed starting guide for your edibles, I'm a big fan of the one created by the blogger at Skippy's Vegetable Garden.  Just plug in your last frost dates; I use 4/15 for spring crops & 5/15 for summer ones usually.