Thursday, 5 March 2009


As successful as I (usually) am in the kitchen, I'm afraid it doesn't apply 100% to gardening. My gardening skills are shabby, at best. I've always been of the camp that thinks, "Throw the seeds in some dirt, cover it up with some more dirt, water, and voila!" I actually recently did this in an attempt to plant herbs (Not supposed to cover them with as much dirt as I did, also not supposed to directly water - as I did) so I'm crossing my fingers that the herbs will come out ok.

Not the best mentality. Now that I finally own my own place, I can actually "commit" to having plants; helped even more by the fact that I live on the ground floor of an apartment building and my flat looks out into the (currently) cold, stone courtyard. My neighbors have planted things as well, but as I bought the place in November, I haven't seen anything yet. I've just seen empty pots with twigs and dirt that look quite forlorn indeed.

I took the plunge and decided to plan a container garden. And actually PLAN and RESEARCH, not any of this half-assed seed throwing. What did I decide to plant? What else, but food! I picked my choices based on what plants are hardy to cold weather, what plants don't need too much sun, and finally, foods that I like but are usually too pricey or unavailable. I also wanted (hopefully) some color in my garden; not just green green green. This left me with:

Spring onion (not pricey and always available, but it's hardy and I bought a winter variety. I also inevitably never use the whole bunch)
Brussels sprouts
(LOVE the taste and would kill to have them all day every day in the fall and forever. Plus, the plant looks really frikin cool)


Spinach, Watercress, and Rucola
(I've never found watercress here, and am constantly annoyed at the price being charged for the other two in supermarkets. It's just leaves!!!)
(I love beets. And you can use the greens too. SO multi purpose!!)
Broadbeans and purple greenbeans
(Broad beans are hard to find here and I bought a mottled red pod which I think will look very cool. The purple green beans are edible and turn green when cooked. Thought good to add color to the garden)
(I don't like buying whole heads because I never make it through them. Also very hardy to cold weather)
Sugar snap peas
(Annoyed at unavailability and price of these. Imagine my shock when finding out they're one of the easiest plants to grow)

So thats my list. I've found this site INCREDIBLY helpful on planning. I love how each blurb also tells you what are good companion plants. I've already decided to sow my peas and spinach and/or peas and beets together. I've realised that I should not start my brussels sprouts and broadbeans until midsummer. I've been googling container gardening and coming up with some positive results. I've also looked up if you can use cat poop as a fertilizer (you cannot)

Now I just need to buy some nice big pots and some soil for all my new babies. This led me to another wonderful discovery. I thought that I'd have to go out to one of the big gardening stores in Prague that are an annoying metro (plus bus) ride away. This is understandable, seeing as how I live smack dab in the center of the city. I remembered though that my aunt mentioned a gardening store by bila labut I went there, and it's absolutely amazing. They have seeds for EVERYTHING! (Almost: I wanted rainbow chard and red beets but they didn't have them, so I settled for black beets and no chard) But still, how convenient! Little shop but huge assortment. And so cheap too. I got 10 seed packets for only 128 ($5.75 USD) For those who may be interested, here's a map.

I also found a GREAT place that has every single kind of plant container you could ever want. It's on Dlazdena, and here is a map. They even have the degradable little seed cups for your starter plantings. I ALMOST bought some pots, but want to check out Tesco prices first before I commit. They have a lovely wide but more shallow pot that I'm imagining my greens and my onions in. Oooo this is just so much fun. I'm so glad that I have the time and space for it now. I even happily found out that the wall my windows (and plants) are on is south-facing. So hopefully, what little sun reaches the courtyard will direct hit my babies.

I think the hardest part for me with the plants and herbs will be thinning. I just can't bear to tear up little plants and THROW THEM AWAY. It just seems unnecessarily cruel to me. I think I'll need a couple of glasses of vino before I can bring myself to do it with the new garden. At least with beet thinnings, you can eat them (What CAN'T you do with beets?!? Amazing things...)

I'll keep updating and hopefully post pictures and recipes from my new little garden in the upcoming months...

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