Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Of basement garden adventures and too much kale

Due to the all-consuming monster that is the English exam, I haven't written anything for over a week.
The downside to this is that I now have all sorts of unarticulated & partially formed ideas floating around in my head, jostling each other for space, and making my mind feel about as lucid as a muddy puddle.

So, to get back into things, I'll make this a simple update post: what's going on in my garden?

Yesterday I awoke to see white out my window - fortunately spring flowers are designed to take the cold, and they're still going as strong as ever! My mom noticed the beautiful contrast between the snow and the bright flowers and went out to take pictures.

Over the last few days, I've been busy in the basement:

I've transplanted my tomatoes - they've graduated to aprox. 4" plastic cups with their sides extended by scrap paper (I cut the tops off too short, and I don't think they would fit anyhow if I hadn't). Tomatoes are unique in their ability to form roots all along their stems, so you bury them deep - up to the first leaf joint, and that allow them to form an even more extensive root system.

Last Sunday, my mom and I drove out to Ritchie's Feed & Seed - a big garden centre for various garden paraphernalia, and I've been putting the results of our expedition into practice.

I've braved the smell of fish emulsion fertilizer, which is organic (yay!) but which smells fishy in an incredibly weird, awful and reeking kind of way. (Thank goodness the smell doesn't hang around for long!)

I've muddled through soil tests (more on that later)...

I also got a soil thermometer. And several more packets of seeds.
And bean/pea inoculant - the bacteria which grow in symbiotic relationship with those plants' roots, allowing them to convert atmospheric nitrogen into forms which they can use (these guys are present in smaller numbers in the soil already, especially if it's grown veggies before, but I'm starting on a new area, so I figured I'd better use this).

One idea that's been forming in my mind is the possibility of producing enough of certain kinds of food for our whole family (5 big eaters). This will be a game of guesswork to be sure, and I'm already running into questions like - what on earth am I going to do with 18 kale plants? and what was I thinking when I planted all of those anyhow?

Has anyone else got experience, suggestions, warnings, or funny tales of vegetable excess to share?
Please comment below!


  1. Once your kale is ready, ask me for my recipe for Dutch Boerenkool. It's a hearty one-pot meal of sausages, kale, and potatoes that is really good.

    Also, kale tastes best if harvested after it has been touched by frost.

    1. Ooh, Dutch Boerenkool, that sounds wonderful especially for my potatoavore family. And it has a pretty amazing name, too!
      I've heard about kale being better after a frost, but I'm not sure these seedlings will last that long. I'm planning to plant some more during the summer so they'll mature into the fall.
      Do you think there's any way to simulate the effects of a frost in the summer time? Like briefly freezing the kale or something? Or would that just turn into an icky mess?