I have a new plant! This summer, I will be able to harvest blackberries, in addition to strawberries and cherries (as I have in summers past). Craigslist connected me with a fellow South Philly gardner, who is moving away at the end of the month and was trying to sell off his plants. This blackberry bush was the last item to sell, and I am happy to give it a new home. It even has new growth! And came with several irises in the container. I can almost taste the homemade blackberry jam.
As I raked and cleaned up in the garden this afternoon, Kitty explored, poking around the new trove of terra cotta pots I got off Craigslist, climbing the walls, and peering into the chiminea (McBaine was at school). I also scattered wildflower seeds, among them California poppies and forget-me-nots, which remind me of growing up in the Bay Area. The Farmer’s Almanac says April 6 is the date of the average last frost here in Philadelphia, so here’s hoping they’ll be blooming soon!
Sprouts and cotyledons, the embryonic leaves that are the first to appear from a germinating seed, continue to emerge from the starting trays. At 10 days, the peas have clearly grown the most, with cucumbers close behind. The red chard, perhaps not surprisingly, have red sprouts, the leeks are pointy, and the brocolli, kale, and romanesco look quite similar at this stage. They’re all growing steadily! Once the first set of true leaves develop, I can start to fertilize the plants, but for now, a bright southern window and daily misting, plus the seed starting mix, are all they need.
My main green space may be in Passyunk Square, but two plants are thriving in my office in Fairmount. A five-year-old jade plant was recently joined by an orchid from the Flower Show, a variety known as Vuylstekeara Carnivale ‘Rio.’ In the last week, one bloom after another has unfurled!
Soil smells like spring! What do coconut husk fiber, worm castings, parboiled rice hulls, and pelletized turkey litter have in common? They’re all ingredients in this seed starting blend from Organic Mechanics. And they’re about to feed the romanesco brocolli, red chard, pickling cucumber, and blue podded shelling pea seeds that we planted today. Each seed starting tray has 32 cells; eight cells for each type. After planting all the seeds, it’s suggested to lightly mist the soil to settle it before covering the tray with the greenhouse cover, which increases humidity and promotes germination. In several weeks, these will be joined in the garden by the rest of the veggie seeds (candy cane beets, kaleidoscope carrots, tri-color beans), which will be sown directly outside after the last frost. All will be planted in the three hand-crafted raised beds that Jim Cappon (Mike’s dad) is building for me! And the marigolds and beneficial bug and butterfly blooms will be planted in the ground. Planning my whole garden already! Can’t for the temperatures to catch up with the season.