June 1, 2008

In the Beginning ...

I'm 50 yrs old and I've had a garden just twice before in my life; the first one was planted and maintained mainly by my (ex)husband while I was still on active duty in the Marine Corps in southern Maryland, so I didn't get involved too much until it came time to cook the bounty. I don't even remember what we had except corn and beans.

The last dirt I had my hands in was while I lived in Minnesota a few years ago, and I did help with the planting, but I mainly deferred to my (ex)husband who grew up on a farm. We bought tomato and pepper plants, and planted yellow squash, cucumber, cantaloupe, beans and sugar snap peas from seed. Since he worked long hours with a long commute, I did the bulk of the weeding and such.

That's the extent of my experience as a gardener. Until now ...

Tom and I are renting a small home in a relatively rural area, but we have no room for a 'real' garden and I don't think the landlord (who lives next door) would appreciate us tearing up the property too much.
Enter - the container garden

Money is extremely tight so I was determined to do this as cheaply as possible so that I could help with the food budget, not create additional expense. Since I started well before the last frost, I decided to do everything from seed and save the few dollars it would likely cost me for each plant. I bought seeds for tomato, green beans (and a purple variety too!), sugar snap peas, banana pepper and bell pepper in a variety of colors and set out to making things grow.

I started my seeds indoors pretty early in every small container I could get my hands on. You can see my creative genius evidenced in the photo - chicken bucket and coleslaw container from KFC, cardboard canisters from hot chocolate, muffin tin - even the bottom half of a plastic jug that kitty litter comes in. Hey, whatever works, right? I didn't have a way to hang the grow light, so I came up with the idea to clamp it to the top of an unused dog crate and place the little critters inside.

My captive seedlings:

I guess it worked because most of the seedlings were ready to go outside well before the fickle Ohio weather decided to fully cooperate.

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