Wednesdays are for Gardening

Back when the last breath of the Baby Boom was growing up, Prince Pasta suggested to our mothers that “Wednesday was Prince Spaghetti Day.”  Anthony!  Anthony!  Like everything else, Prince Pasta is no longer a “small pasta manufacturing company” located in Boston’s North End.  The New World Pasta Company may just be a front for some banker’s orgy of collateralized debt obligations; I’m sure one of my savvy blog readers will research it and let me know.  (Anthony!  Anthony!)

Pasta is delicious, true enough.  It just doesn’t have the staying power of beef, turkey, chicken, or that other white meat.  For that very reason, Wednesday will never be Prince Spaghetti Day on this blog.  I may never be the Julia Child of gardening, either.

One thing is certain—I am the Julie-Ann Baumer of gardening and I own this blog.  Therefore, Wednesdays are now Tiny Steps Gardening Days.

Last week, I suggested a seed inventory; blog commenter Loosehead Prop’s seed cupboard was bare, but he reported on his efforts to nurse along a basil plant.  He lives somewhere near the 52nd parallel.  I was impressed.  Basil is a heat and light loving plant that I’ve never been able to grow in pots.  I grew some in my home garden from a random package of old seeds and it grew well but not impressively.  I plan to try basil again in both pots and the garden this year.

My seed inventory surprised me by the litany of questions it produced:

  • Why didn’t I plant more lettuce last spring?
  • Why do I have so many tomato seeds?
  • Is this the year I plant my “Galeux d’Eysines” squash, even though the seed is almost 3 years old?
  • Will I be able to find a large enough place to plant the rest of my melon seeds?
  • Why didn’t I know that there were early and late varieties of many plants, cabbage in particular?

My inventory is complete.  If there were a seed apocalypse tomorrow and I wasn’t able to send away for any new seeds, I’d still be able to plant all the things I grew last year with the exception of snap peas.  Uncle Bob would be pleased with this; although he says he’s going to support the expansion of my experimental snap pea empire this year, I know he thinks it’s foolish.  He says the yield doesn’t justify the space and shelling peas is too much work.  He doesn’t understand the snap pea yet; I’m working on it.  He’ll eat those snap peas, shell and all, and he’ll like them.  He’ll see.

If your seed inventory is complete and you haven’t yet gotten any seed catalogues, I recommend Seed Savers Exchange, Johnny’s Selected Seeds, and Wood Prairie Farm.  They all have toll-free numbers, none of them are owned by the New World Pasta Company, and they’ll happily send you a seed catalogue.

I’m adding Allen, Sterling & Lothrop to my stable of seed suppliers this year; they’re old school seed people and they have a simple and helpful web site.  When you’re in Falmouth, Maine, stop in and see them; they’re right on Route 1.

Think seeds today, not pasta.

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4 Responses to Wednesdays are for Gardening

  1. Robin says:

    Oh plant the Galeux! They’re one of my favorites because they’re so interesting. I think I have seven or eight pumpkin varieties on my order to Fedco, one to Johnny’s and one or two to Renee’s. What I don’t eat the chickens, ducks and turkeys will over the winter.

    Are you familiar with Anuenue lettuce? It does well in the heat and in good soil, has a great flavor. It’s my go-to summer lettuce.

    • Thanks for stopping by, Robin. I am not familiar with the lettuce you mention but will add it to my list. I just got to the part in Gene Logsdon’s book (The Contrary Farmer) where he mentions what good recyclers chicken et al can be.

  2. Loosehead Prop says:

    A. Your picture. I see what you did there. If you are impressed with my efforts, I fear we are the blind leading the differently sighted.
    B. Thank you for resolving the Anthony mystery for me. No one I know ever heard of it, and I thought it was for a different spaghetti company. But it’s fixed in my childhood memory, too. Along with hot dogs with red skins and seasonal cheese dogs.
    C. I transplanted the basil into soil from the garden. I probably should have let the soil warm up more first, I think I shocked the plants a bit. The soil is dark, but very clayish, and even has real live worms (well, they were alive, haven’t checked lately). It seems to stay damp, water runs right through the pot and out so they seem to have enough. Today is their first real sunlight in at least a week, otherwise it’s filtered cloudlight and fluorescent lamp, but… most of them seem to be coming through. Some brown spots, some plants have left us never to return, but new leaves seem to be sprouting on others.
    D. Mint. Daughter wanted to chew on mint leaves, bought a nice plant, haven’t transplanted it yet, but like the basil it wants lots of light and water. It’s growing quite nicely, thank you.
    E. No seeds. Yet.

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