The Styled Ramblings of Heavy Petal's Bruce Bailey

Seed Fever—Gardeners Beware

Madness has happened here.  Maybe my cabin fever has left me partially brain-damaged? Or some strange courage that I have never known has gripped ahold of me? Whatever it is, I could be in deep trouble this year. 

Seeds have been ordered. A lot of seed this year—a lot. The seed list consists of 140+ items ranging from small unique annual flowers to large squashes and pumpkins. Some of the seeds such as sunflowers, zinnias, some tomatoes, have been ordered in volume packs of 250 seeds. For selected varieties I have only ordered the smaller “sampler” pack of seeds—trying to purchase organic seed where I can, untreated as well, and NO GMO seeds.

Now to be honest, my nursery has been mainly woody and flowering shrubs, select evergreen plants, unexpected trees and kick ass perennials in the past. I do very little with annuals except custom containers. Vegetables—only for myself.

This year is a new endeavor. Two things are being done with the seeds that are on their way—vegetable and annual starts. The space to be planted at my house measures 25×180 feet. Inspired by others I have taken out a full strip of lawn, disked the soil and am adding manure in preparation to plant. There are plans for a cutting garden as well as for food—fresh or to preserve. Certain things are going to be planted thick, will be top dressed with manure when they come up and people will see this garden from the road! Yep! It’s all mine baby, all mine.

Ideas are being drawn up for this garden working on color blocks and grids. I’m thinking about height and trying not to create too many shadows.

Squash and pumpkins will be planted down the drive as they take up too much space as it is. No worrying about the chickens, or even the other birds, as this is relaxed gardening.

Enjoyment should be foremost. This is not a task to fret over. If you’re thinking that then pack your bags now. This will be a garden for warriors. No timid gardeners allowed around here my friends. I am looking for the brave, the one who can pick at dawn and have jars of preserved goods on the pantry shelf no later than 10 a.m. This is not for the armchair gardener.

Growing charts have been examined.

Twenty six varieties of tomato seeds have been purchased. Only a perfect few will be for fresh eating. A mix will be for salsa and bruchetta, varieties for crushed, sauced, and those best for soups. Beans will be frozen as will corn. Peppers will be dried, roasted and frozen or pickled. cucumbers have been ordered and you will only see white varieties for pickles, Lemon and Crystal Apple for slicing and salads. Beets, carrots, pak choy, lettuce, basil, dill, snow peas will abound in the garden as well. Don’t think that its all conventional varieties here. Heirlooms and heritage varieties will dominate this edible landscape.

The vegetable starts to be sold will be raised a bit healthier too. No inorganic fertilizers, not harsh chemicals and pesticides. I may not certified organic, but people do want to enjoy safe and healthy foods.

When one talks annuals most people tend to think a bit more pedestrian as well, petunias, marigolds, snapdragons. Though those plants are great, they are not exactly what I have in mind when I say “Where Plants Rock”. Color it the key, and grow ability is the mandate.

Annie’s Annuals is very inspiring. Just putting out the number of annuals they do at that nursery blows my mind.  Looking at thier catalogs of the past is pure inspiration.

So onward we continue.

Color and how something might perform in the heat are great considerations. contrasting colors of flowers are mesmerizing.  They are both smoldering hot and cool and sophisticated at the same time. Cut flowers at farmers markets always attract attention and will be on my list to sell this year.

Annuals with terms such as heirloom, old-fashioned, and cottage annuals strike a deep chord with me as well. Frilly, unexpected, and colorful blooms for summer—they range from ground hugging to six feet tall. Truly, lust should be everyone’s M.O. when it comes to summer blooms. Why else do we plant them? Do we just plant them because they are pretty? Or do we plant them because we want them. Be honest.

Decisions have been made. Selections have been chosen. Plants will be grown.

I look forward to this growing season as should you. Sometimes the simple things in life can be very rewarding. Healthy and beautiful food, lovely blooms, and sweet scents are simple pleasures. The work that goes into these simple things is another posting altogether—let’s not lose our heads.

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