April 27, 2018

This And That In The Garden

This is just a eclectic post about new things I'm growing this year, issues I've been having, and thoughts on seed starting. Tomorrow I'll post a greenhouse tour with lots of pictures.

This year I'm trying a few new things in the garden for fun, one of them being ground cherries. I'm growing three different varieties of ground cherries, Ambrosia, Aunt Molly's, and an unnamed variety. They're in the nightshade family but they're supposed to be sweetish with tropical overtones. I plan on caging them just like a tomato.

Celery. I've tried growing them in the past, but have always had problems with germination and they all seem to die at the seedling stage. I've tried growing 4 different varieties the last few years with no success with either the cutting and stalky varieties, but this year seems to be my year. It looks like we're going to be having lots of the cutting type, which will be planted in the small space behind the greenhouse.

Asian leeks. They're just a variety of chives, but either way it's the same story as celery. I seem to be incapable of getting chives to germinate and have tried numerous times over the years. This year I tried to germinate chives from three different seed houses, and now have 6 little seedlings. They don't look especially robust so I'm not holding my breath.

Corn. The last time I tried growing it was back in the late 90s maybe early 2000. A third of the garden will be planted in corn, I'm actually really excited about growing it again. The three varieties I'm growing are Buhl, Stowell's Evergreen, and Maize Marado. They all have different ripening dates, so hopefully that'll work out.

Parsley. I'm one of those people who've never grown parsley. We're just trying to grow more herbaceous type things in general this year and on the new list is shisho/perilla, sorrel, and Echinacea.

Seed starting has been pretty smooth this spring but for one little mishap involving peppers. The seedlings were put out on the porch one morning, on what turned out to be a very windy day. So 2/3 of them died and I had to reseed. We always have some form of seed starting trouble early on like overturned trays, squirrels or birds digging through trays... you get the picture.

And now I would like to express my love of growing basil. Basil is just so lovely in soups, sandwiches, pasta, and as an accompaniment to most Vietnamese food. It's one of those things Vietnamese usually have sitting out on the dinner table with a plate of other herbs like cilantro, Asian chives, mint, and other herbs I don't have an English name for. So for this year as part of my ongoing love of basil, I am going to grow 5 different varieties. They just all taste so different and have varying textures, so it's hard to choose.


Anonymous said...

a fellow KY gardener here. I've had good success with parsley, you just have to be very patient with the seeds, they take a long time to appear. But once they get going they're super productive. Some very special colorful caterpillars show up in them sometimes too, which I think are best left unharmed so they can turn into big blue butterflies.
Shiso is very easy too, almost too easy. You have to be careful not to let them go to seed, or they'll come up by the hundreds all over your garden the next year.
Those ground cherries sound intriguing, maybe I'll give them a try soon.
I'm always happy to read about your garden strategies,
good luck,

Michelle said...

I thought I wasn't going to have celery any time soon because the seeds wouldn't germinate and I thought that I would have to start over. And then finally, 3 celery and 1 celery root germinated. So I thought OK, at least I'll have that, if I don't kill them. Then about a week later a whole bunch more of both started to germinate. It took 3 weeks for most of them to pop! And I still have to get them large enough to get into the garden...

Oh, I love basil too. I've got 4 varieties this year and as you noted they are all so different. It's impossible to choose a favorite.

No corn for me this year. That's one battle with the critters that I'm just not going to fight this round. Fortunately I have a big stash of dried corn from previous harvests in the freezer and I'll buy sweet corn at the farmer's market.

Sue Garrett said...

I've never heard of ground cherries! We've tried growing celery a couple of times with no success which is a pity as we use lots,

Phuong said...

Hi Estanislao,
It sounds like shisho reseeds very easily, its good to know that I'll have to keep them from blooming. I'm really excited to get to use parsley and other herbs in the garden. Hopefully this year will be good for all of us in the garden.

Dave @ HappyAcres said...

Count me as another basil lover! I can't pick my favorite either. I've had trouble getting chive seeds to germinate in the past. I did manage to get some Chinese leeks going several years ago, and after I let them go to seed I now have them popping up all over. I got those seeds from Kitazawa.

Phuong said...

Hi Michelle,
Celery is so incredibly slow growing. I'm glad you were able to get more celery and celery root to germinate. Hopefully they'll grow faster as it warms up. Last year as been insane for the amount creatures that have been preying on your garden.

Margaret said...

Lots of new and wonderful adventures for you in the garden this year! Can't wait to hear your impressions as the season progresses.

This year I'm trying a few new things too but overall, I'm scaling back a bit so that I have the time to continue tackling the ornamental beds without stressing out too much. Some of the more fickle things such as rapini & spinach are off the list and I also decided to forgo fava beans since our spring has been cut short this year and I normally don't have a huge harvest even when I'm able to get them into the ground sooner.

Phuong said...

Hi Sue,
I've never eaten ground cherries so I'm very curious, hopefully they'll be something we love. I saw your interview regarding the allotment and the wet spring you've been having, it was very informational and you and Martin are excellent speakers.

Phuong said...

Hi Margaret,
You have a really big yard to keep up on. I can understand letting spinach and fava beans go this spring, it's just so late already and they take awhile before they're harvestable. I'm glad I didn't try to overwintering favas this year since we had such a cold winter.

Phuong said...

Hi Dave,
There's a world of basil out there. It's weird but I've found harlequin bugs like basil almost as much as Brussels sprouts. I've actually tried Kitazawas Asian leeks, but maybe I might try them again with a different variety.