Monday, March 21, 2011

Makeshift Greenhouse

I’m not sure where I read about this, either in a gardening magazine or online, but it was so clever I couldn’t wait to try it out. I call it my Bed-in-a-Bag Greenhouse. How lucky was it that I was in the market for a new comforter during seed starting season? Seeds started this afternoon included:

Summer Squash: Goldtender/Burpee 2010
Summer Squash: Fordhook Zucchini/Burpee 2010
Cucumber: Armenian Burpless/Botanical Interests 2010
Cucumber: Bush Champion/Burpee 2010
Cucumber: Lemon/Lake Valley Seed 2006
Okra: Clemson Spineless/Cornucopia/2011
Eggplant: Little Prince/Renee’s Garden 2011
Watermelons: Rainbow Sherbet/Renee’s Garden 2011
Thai Basil: Queenette/Renee’s Garden Seeds 2011 
Naturtiums: Cherries Jubilee/Renee’s Garden Seeds 2011

I hadn’t intended to purchase more seeds but during a trip to OSH to pick up seed starting mix I could not resist the temptation.
 I’m excited to start Thai basil, I haven’t tried it from seed before.
This will also be my first attempt at growing eggplant from seed. The variety, Little Prince, is a container type and was recommended by another gardener shopping for seeds today. Fingers crossed. I had seen a sign for a miniature eggplant at a nursery last year but sadly, the stock had been sold out.
Okra will be making its first appearance in my garden this year if all goes as planned.
But the watermelon seed purchase was a disappointment as there were only about 10 seeds included. At $2.99 a package I would expect a few more seeds. According to the package there should have been three varieties of fruit but it appeared to only contain seeds for two types: Yellow Doll which bears yellow-fleshed melons and New Orchid an orange fruit bearing variety. Tiger Baby, which produces pink fruited melons, was missing. The seeds are dyed for identification purposes.
 While three types of cucumber may seem excessive to some our family should have no problem putting each to good use as my youngest son likes to eat them out of hand straight off the vine and I am a fan of chilled cucumber soup, tzatziki and cucumber in my tabouleh.
            I also poked a few more pea, turnip and chard seeds into the raised bed I started back on February 12 and added a few more sweetpea seeds to a large container. In the corners of the bed I sowed seeds of several types of cosmos and a zinnia. There wasn’t much else to be done since the yard was so muddy from all the recent rain. Navigation was not only messy but precarious in spots.
            New today in the garden were a couple of cilantro sprouts I had direct sowed last month. Cilantro is difficult to grow here in summer due to blistering heat but the variety I chose is billed as slow-bolting.


muddytoes said...

Ha! we planted at least 6 varieties of cucumbers last year. I always grow Armenian, and then I wanted a Japanese variety, and I had to have the persian kind, and Renee's Garden Seeds had an English type that looked interesting, and I got a funky Indian kind called Poona Kheera, and a little French cornichons kind. It was a little over the top. Just call me the cucumbers & tomatoes lady.

The secret to cilantro in Sacramento is succession planting. Buy a big packet of seed and plant more now, and a few more every 2-3 weeks. I think that's how the local market gardeners manage to have some for sale every week of the year at the farmers markets. It doesn't bolt until it's fairly mature so as long as you have young plants, you're good to go.

Christine said...

Wow! That is a lot of cucumbers! What's a Japanese cucumber like? Which did you like best? I grew the Armenians for the first time last year and loved them. Thanks for the tips on cilantro. I'll try the succession planting.

muddytoes said...

I think we like the Persian kind best, but it's a close call between Persian, Japanese and Armenian. The Japanese (or Asian?) ones I've grown are Shantung Suhyo Cross and Suhyo Long. They're long, thin, mild and sweet, never bitter.

I have Thai basil started too. Basils are actually pretty easy to direct-seed later on but I was impatient to get those going now because I'm DYING to make some homemade thai basil chicken and I'm stubbornly holding out until I have basil from my own garden.

Christine said...

Thai Basil Chicken...mmmm...sounds heavenly.

Jenn's Cooking Garden! said...

Its hard too resist buying seeds! I think at times I need a 12 step program for my addiction, lol. I look forward to reading more of your blog! Thanks for visiting mine!

Victoria said...

Great site! Any tips for a newbie gardner? You can see my seedlings at

Katherine Kline said...

If you like seeds, try a seedswap! I am on heirloomseedswap and have traded three types of seeds so far this year... thai basil being one of them. I can't wait to see what happens to your garden this year. If you'd like to follow mine, go to


Romi said...

Hi! Great blog! I do some gardening myself and I am loving this warm weather we are finally getting after that storm. Hope all your plants flourish! Happy Gardening! :)

Katherine Kline said...

I love love love this idea! Thanks so much for sharing!


Christine said...

Katherine -- seed swapping sounds great, I'll definitely look into it. Glad you stopped by the blog!

Romi -- Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment! Glad you liked the blog.