Monday, April 16, 2012

Garden to Kitchen – Easy Items to Grow in Zone 5

Hope springs eternal; a very popular saying for the opening day of baseball as well as describing the hopes for many kicking off new projects early in the spring season.  The mild weather has encouraged my desire to begin planting items in my Zone 5 garden. Since the very warm month of March, it has taken an enormous amount of will power to refrain from planting an army of seeds/seedlings to start my 2012 victory garden.  I have finally begun the process. About a week ago, I enlisted the help of my two year old son and we planted a small army of romaine seeds. The germination took about eight days, but we finally see signs of life. I have planted lettuce the past two years and enjoyed the convenience of having this leafy vegetable readily available at my beck and call when deciding on a salad or sandwich topper for the evening meal. This year decided to plant straight from seed rather than purchasing the already started seedlings.
My second early planting project involved relocating five raspberry starters from my father’s garden. These small seedlings were transplanted a few weeks ago and I don’t anticipate too great of a harvest this first year due to the recent transplant.  It is interesting how many neighbors view raspberries as an "encroaching weed", and thus have no appreciation for them. I love this small berry as it is a great source for jams and Czech bakery. Kolackys anyone?
I plan on following up my lettuce and raspberry campaign with other vegetables as well as herbs in late April/early May. Planting herbs is probably the best way to start off the garden campaign as these items can be used daily when preparing meals. Having large amounts of basil, oregano, marjoram and rosemary will be beneficial for drying and storing in jars for fall and winter cooking.  I look forward to planting my herb pot when the danger  of frost is no longer present
Gardening is so much more than saving money as some may dispute the cost as being cheaper to shop at the local market as opposed to the cost of time and  money spent overseeing a large garden; especially when irrigation , fertilization, and weeding are considered. I do it simply because I love to. Half of the items I plant I could easily get for a low price, but I like the home grown availability of food  without the use of chemicals and potential for e-coli or any other bacterial contaminants.

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