Ok – I admit it – I’m Cheating!

Virtually everything in my veggie garden last year, I planted from seeds using the Park Seed “Biodome” – and we had a nice harvest, no complaints – in fact the gophers and raccoons found the corn especially yummie! As I mentioned in prior posts, this year I planted several seeds directly into the first veggie bed.  As a result there are already several young sprouts, all of which young sprouts seemingly survived a harsh late frost the last several nights – even BETTER than last year’s sprouts grown using the Biodome (sorry Park Seed!).

Nonetheless, with two beds still needing both repairs & new soil (repairs scheduled for this Tuesday, hurray, FINALLY!), it just will be too late (I think) to plant seedlings straight from seeds into the two remaining veggie beds, so I BOUGHT SOME STARTER VEGGIE PLANTS AT THE LOCAL NURSERY!

Feeling like a gardening slaggard at falling so far behind on my veggie gardens, I slunk into Ojai’s “Flora Gardens” to buy my starter plants for the two remaining veggie beds.  Soon my guilt was gone as I saw all the other veggie gardeners there! I loved listening to them talk about what varieties they had tried, and was helped by Flora Garden’s nice Caroline and Jodie.  My cozy experience at Flora Gardens made me think that perhaps BUYING the starter plants, as opposed to planting them from seed, at a minimum was far more social and fun!

While I was at Flora Gardens, I asked Caroline for a Black Krim tomato, and then Caroline told me about the upcoming “TOMATOMANIA!’ where hundreds of varieties of heirloom tomato plants would be available, first come first served. You can bet I went to TomatoMania! too, and came home with 11 different luscious heirloom tomato varieties. The TomatoMania! was so well set up – all varieties in alphabetical order, with nice large photos of the actual tomatoes the plant would bear, along with the plants names, in readable large print. I was helped, as it turned out, by the fellow whose hard work orchestrates TomatoMania! all over the country – Scott Daigre. If one of these comes near you – GO! (TomatoMania! event schedule at TomatoMania.com ).  It is really cool, really fun. Of course, the tomato plants offered for sale are quite small, and I asked Scott if I would have tomatoes by tomorrow.  He laughed, and then I said, “What, aren’t these like chickens that lay eggs every day?”

All jokes aside, here are some photos of my purchases and an update of photos of the sprouts planted from seed directly into the first veggie beds.  My purchases include romaine lettuce of various varieties, sweet basil, tomatoes (and more tomatoes!), one beautiful six pack of Swiss Chard in case my seedlings don’t make it, and of course some corn for the gophers and raccoons! It would be so nice if they let me have at least one ear of corn this year!

Plants waiting outside for me to move into the veggie boxes

Romaine Lettuce Mix and sweet basil six packs

Last year a sweet baby matillija poppy grew just to the point before it was to blossom its amazing large white flowers with yellow centers, and then a gopher (grrrr) got it – and now the matillija (hopefully minus gopher!) is back this year to try again to take root! I have run a separate little sprinkler to it, let’s hope it makes it to blossom this year!

Wild Matillija returns for second year!

little spinach and chard sprouts

Well-protected Mango made it through the frosts

Little baby grapes on the vine! Red Flame Seedless!

Can't beat these Beets! Golden Beets!

Aragula growing like crazy, frost or no frost!

The plants I bought at the Tomato Mania event I brought indoors to beat the unseasonal frost.  Amazingly all the baby sprouts from seeds already in the first veggie bed all made it through the frosts!

Beating the frost indoors!

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