Out in the garden!

I ended up being able to use a raised bed after all (maybe two, actually, since one I cleared just to make it look a bit neater has not been used). I got a very late start this year, latest ever, so I went through my seed stashes and chose a crapload of oldish seeds to sow heavily around the edges of the bed. These are mostly easy-to-sprout stuff I enjoy like Sophia marigolds, cosmos, and some archaic morning glory seeds that I harvested off my own plants some years ago. And what do you know, those elderly morning glories are up after only a few days. Other stuff is coming up as well, but they might just be weeds. That’s okay. I can weed. I also put in a ton of nasturtiums because they make a really beautiful living mulch and I just love the moon-shaped leaves. These are mostly an old variety called Tall Climbing Mix, great for draping over the edge of containers; just pop the seeds in around the edges.

In the past couple of years I’ve been buying in transplants of maters, peppers, and even eggplants instead of starting them from seeds because spring got to be too crazy for me. It’s my busiest time of year for the shop since such a large part of what I sell is seeds. But this year was especially nuts because of my book coming out in February. In fact, it resulted in the busiest spring I’ve had in at least five years and got pretty overwhelming. As far as my own garden was concerned, because I got started so late, the suppliers I’ve depended upon in the past for transplants had none left.

But then I found chileplants.com. I have never seen such a huge selection of chili peppers in both plant and seed form, plus they have maters and eggplants. The latter were mostly sold out, but I was able to grab 12 pepper plants, including my favorite, Aleppo pepper, as well as other peppers I’ve enjoyed before, like the dependable¬†Alma Paprika, yum Nardello, and the very beautiful¬†Czech Black. I also tried some new ones, most intriguing among them being Trinidad Perfume, The plants were big lusty critters too. I hope whoever is running this business is making buckets of money, because these are the best pepper transplants I have ever gotten and the selection is gigantic. Next year I hope I will be starting a bit earlier and can get some maters as well. And lots more peppers! This year they are mostly very short-season pepper varieties, since I am starting so late. But RI has a much longer growing season than upstate NY, so I hope I will still get some peppers.

I might also try starting some plants from these at the end of the season and taking them through the winter inside, since I just bought what looks to be a very decent indoor grow light system. I’ve grown mandrakes and henbane under plain old shop lights through the winter as well as starting seedlings with them for years. These lights are more intense without being so intense as halide or sodium lights or having such a creepy (IMO) color as the LEDs. My unit here is on a southeast corner and has huge windows, so I get plenty of light in addition to artificial light. I have shelving to hang these lights from that will go in the southeast corner of the unit.

The jasmine and other tropicals I bought a few months ago are doing great next to an east window with no supplemental lighting. I’ve also got three mandrakes started that I’ll be potting up today, and they’ll go under these lights because mandrake just LOVES fluorescent light.

Hope your garden is growing well!

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