Thursday, May 9, 2013

Chapter 146...Our Annual Trip To The Greenhouse..How Exciting

My stepdaughter and I wait for this day every year.  It has become our tradition.  Each year we make a day of doing plant shopping for our gardens and then we go out for lunch.  It is a fun filled day for us.  There is nothing quite like picking the food you will plant and then get to harvest it.

We live near a small town and we have some great options for buying our plants.  The local High School has their own greenhouse and the students grow the plants from seed.  We used to always go there first but last year they raised their prices which I think hurt them.  We also have a huge Garden Barn which has multiple greenhouses and a very large variety of plants including vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers.  Their prices are great.  The vegetable and fruit plants come in 4 packs that are $1.50 each and the 4 1/2 inch pots of herbs and flowers are $3.00 each.

Every year I get excited and buy more than I have on my list.  How can you not get excited when you see this?:)

Some of the flowers:

And some of the fruits and vegetables.  I love how organized they are.  The plants have signs with all the information you need to care for them.

I plant a square foot garden which is a raised bed garden with a special soil mix.  The first year I mixed the special soil which is 1/3 vermiculite, 1/3 peat moss, and 1/3 mixed compost.  After the first year I add a little more compost each year.  I have my garden sectioned off into squares and have 108 squares I can fill.

I use a planting guide to figure out where and when I will plant my plants.  This is what I use to help plan my garden Garden Planner

I have already planted lettuce, spinach, peas, kale, mustard greens, carrots and collard greens from seed.

These are the plants I bought:

Today I bought 20 different tomato plants.  I got Mike's favorite "Sweet 100" which he likes to eat right off the vine like sweet candy.  He does have to be careful though because he gets a rash on his hands from the acid if he eats too much.

I also bought some Roma paste tomatoes which are good for canning.

And for the first time I am trying Grainger tomatoes from the famous Grainger County tomatoes in TN. Tomato Festival and One Of The Local Tomato Farms 

Then I bought three 4 packs of peppers.  One pack of California Wonder which is a big green bell pepper, one pack of Golden California Wonder, and a pack of Purple Beauty.

I also wanted to try a Sweet Pickle Pepper plant which I thought would look cheery and colorful. Picture Of Plant.

The last of the food growing plants I got was two Yellow Squash and two Zucchini.

Now for the herbs:
I bought a Basil plant.  This year I am hoping not to kill it.  I have bought a Basil plant each year for the past few years.  I kill them every year.  I think I may be overwatering the plants.  This year I will do my best not to kill it, lol.

Next I bought a Stevia Plant.  This is natural low calorie sweetener.  What Is Stevia.  My stepdaughter has been using the leaves in her herbal teas and she really likes it.  This year we will both try to grow our own.  You can dry the leaves and use it as a sweetener, grind it up and add it to foods and drinks or make an extract from it.

And lastly I bought a Dwarf Lavender for the scent and also to attract bees to my garden.

Flower Time:
Although I love flowers I have not gotten onto growing them...yet.  I bought some in hopes of attracting bees to my garden but also using a limited space.

I bought a Dahlia and a pack of Zinnias.

And now for the plant which I think is really pretty.  It is sold in a hanging basket for $17.50 and is beautiful.  I figured I already spent enough money so I bought the small version and will try to grow my own for this season.  It is called a "Sunbeam Samba" or Fuchsia.  This is what it should look like when it grows in.  Picture  I want to plant this in a hanging basket on our patio to attract hummingbirds.

I think my stepdaughter and I both scored today and I'm sure our plants will bring us many hours of enjoyment in our gardens and of course consuming them.  There is nothing quite like eating the food you have grown.


  1. Wow! That sweet pickle pepper plant is indeed colorful! I love your choice of hanging basket too. Good luck with all your planting efforts this year.


  2. Ah.....the fuscia mother used to always have one or two hanging baskets of fuscia to attract the hummingbirds...(up in Maine)....they really work...the hummers love them.

    I was surprised to find when I lived in California that fuscia weren't annuals...they lived over many seasons and became woody plants! (elston)

    1. They are so pretty. I didn't know they changed in different climates. I'm pretty sure mine will die after the season.

  3. You can also chop up 4-6 stevia leaves in a salad. Very good.
    My husband went to high school with Nathalie Dupree. She has hosted the last three high school reunions at her home in Charleston. She had me go out in her garden and gather stevia leaves for a salad she was making. Very nice but surprising. Google her. She's cooked for presidents and kings.

    1. That is cool. I was reading up on Stevia and the article made it sound like it was a one time harvest. I'm happy to know I can use the leaves as they appear. I just used some Stevia leaves that my stepdaughter gave me in a Green Smoothie. It did make it sweeter:)

      Thanks...I will try them in a salad.

  4. Awesome! Everything looks wonderful!

    1. Thank does. Makes it so hard to pick just a few:)

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  6. Awesome!! Now THAT'S MY kind of shopping trip!! So envious!! Great selections. I, too, love eating Sweet 100s off the vine. SOOOO scrupmtios!

    Here's a blog post about Stevia that you might find helpful. =)

    Victoria (Cocoanut)
    (Reposting comment. Forgot to add my name on the previous comment.)

    1. Cool...thank you for the link. I will check it out and also pass it on to my stepdaughter:)

  7. I am so curious how your lavender faired. I guess I will have to keep reading for that :P You have asked about the tiered planters for strawberries- this is the info that I know. They are easier to manage, water, and keep bugs from getting to. The vines can hang without taking over. Plus they are easier to harvest :) I have seen people even use an old (food grade) 55 or 100 gallon blue plastic barrels with holes cut in the sides (in a staggered pattern). Not sure if you have already had your question answered yet. Hope that can help.