Love sprouts

By Mir
March 12, 2009

It’s nearly time for me to begin my planting, again, which means that soon you can all (once again) tell me about the HORRORS OF MINT. (Noooooo! Not the mint! ANYTHING BUT MIIIIIIIIINT!)

Y’all have no idea how much I’m looking forward to it.

In the meantime, we are walking around the deck and our property and figuring out what will go where; what worked, last year, and what we want to try this year that we didn’t before. Now that Chickadee has become a zucchinitarian, for example, I feel it’s my duty to grow some of those. (Yes, I know they’re almost as pervasive as mint. Go ahead and yell.) And while the parsley certainly grew with a mighty fervor, when it came time to make salsa I realized that OOPS, cilantro really would’ve made more sense… especially seeing as how no one in the house actually likes parsley. So.

This is my favorite time of year. I’m full of PLANS and HOPES and haven’t yet broken my nails or touched a roach while weeding. (Magical!)

The strawberry plants of which I was SO PROUD, last year, yielded a bounty of beautiful fruit… which was promptly devoured by the squirrels. First on my list of garden planning was “SKIP THE STRAWBERRIES,” as the plants had demanded more water than anything else, and were generally a huge pain in the rear for zero return.

In fact… I realized that I’d never even put the containers away, last year. The catalog had said that if I wintered the containers inside, there was a decent chance the plants would come back a second year. I was so annoyed with them by the time summer ended, I just left them on the deck to rot.

So it was cold, and dry, and then it snowed six inches, and then I started planning my garden and realized that, um, apparently my strawberry plants have come back.

Like, with vengeance.

So what can I do? I guess I’m growing strawberries again. I may even ask my ever-resourceful husband to figure out a way to protect the plants from the squirrels, so that we can actually eat the berries, this time.

Further investigation into my abandoned deck boxes revealed that the parsley came back, too. I was nearly overcome with the desire to rip it out in one huge yank.

But… I dunno. I feel like if it grows, I should let it. Who knows? Maybe this year we’ll get berries. Maybe this will be the year that I grow to love parsley. Stranger things have happened. And I have to be a little impressed with the tenacity, here.

Really, what can be wrong with having that sort of determination surrounding me? Nothing, that’s what.

Happy Love Thursday, everyone. Here’s to WHATEVER insists on growing where you are, right now.


  1. jennielynn

    Grow the zuchini. Just give it a lot of room. I was shocked at the size of my plants last year. And the overflow? Make zuchini pickles! Yum.

    GO MINT!

  2. exile on mom street

    I’m primarily growing dandelions at this point, but I shall try to love them with great fervor!

    Hey, it’s easier than weeding…

  3. Kris

    Oh, but the MINNNNNNT!
    Just kidding. We tried growing cilantro last year, but in our (your) climate, it goes to seed in about 3 weeks, so you have to keep replanting ALL SUMMER LONG. I had cilantro for about three weeks when I decided maybe that was one herb I could buy at the Farmer’s Market. Because, seriously – 3 weeks? GAH.

  4. loonytick

    So…are you growing mint?

    If you do, I highly recommend planting it in the ground in a place where (a) you don’t mind it spreading and (b) you will, at times, step on it. My mom used to have it near our back door, and the smell of mint wafting up from the ground below you as we walked over it was absolutely heavenly.

  5. Ladybug Crossing

    Mom’s daffodils got eaten by the deer. Mine, however, look wonderful! The crocus are coming up and we have great plans for a veggie garden. Alas we know that the veggies will only last until the deer find them.

  6. Jamie AZ

    We pulled up our mint over the weekend and put it into a pot. We’ll see if we got it all… Our zuccini did really well last year (one of my faves, too, Chickie!) but the grasshoppers seemed to get to it before we could. After virtually abandoning it because we couldn’t keep the hoppers out, I looked one day and found two HUGE zuccini – 14″ and 16″ long growing. Shredded them up for fritters, bread, etc. as I’d heard they wouldn’t taste so good sauted. Anyway, we planted our stuff last weekend – went with tomatoes, zuccini, jalapenos, spinach and basil. Our parsley and thyme are still growing and it looks like our bell pepper plants want to come back. Good luck with your yummy garden!

  7. Jamie AZ

    Oh, and the shredded zuccini keeps well in the freezer. Just wring it REALLY WELL before using it.

  8. StephLove

    I was thinking about you the other day because I was reading something in the paper about gardening and there were some Very Stern Warnings about planting mint outside containers.

    Good luck protecting the strawberries. There’s no substitute for really ripe strawberries. We get ours at the farmers’ market once they’re in season (more than two months from now here). They put those hard, pink things they sell at the supermarket to shame. Oh, now I can’t wait for late May…

  9. djlott

    Don’t you wish the squirrels would go for the parsley instead of the strawberries?

  10. Tracy

    I love MINT! I have very fond memories of MINT from when I was growing up. Our neighbor had a huge patch outside under the kitchen window and as kids, making our mud pies and such, used it as garnish. Oh, the memories.

  11. Megan

    Growing? Um… let’s see, there are the evil things with thorns, the vicious spiky things and the things what have those nasty stickers in that you land on if you dare go barefoot (and also are tracked in EVERY TIME the male Child goes outside). I will do my best to love them, really I will, but I refuse to give any one of them a cuddle.

  12. Jenn

    When I was young we had a garden behind our house… we also went out to the family cabin for most of the two months of summer break and we would return to find the whole thing overgrown. My mom in her infinite wisdom learned to plant carrots, potatoes, peas, zucchini and pumpkins, all of which could be dug out from under the 4′-5′ tall weeds and would still have managed to grow in abundance.

    Chocolate chip zucchini bread is hands down the best thing to do with any leftover zucchini (hahaha.. “any”. Let me rephrase that… is the best thing to do with all of the leftover zucchini)

  13. bob

    hang your strawberry pots up. if you have to, you can put those squirrel-foils on the wire to keep them from climbing down to the hanging pot.

  14. Barbara

    A couple of ideas for you, Mir, as you have hit on an area where I know sumpin.

    If you were just clipping parsley as needed, and needed much less than you have growing…do you have a food dryer? My hubby loves to save money by buying 39-cent bunches of parsley and drying it instead of buying $1.79 bottles of dried parsley. [Don’t count the cost of the electricity to run the dryer.]

    Put net over the strawberries. Come to think of it, you can slice, (sugar) and dry them, too. Bottle the dried parsley and strawberries creately for Christmas gifts! You’re welcome!

  15. Jill in Atlanta

    Both cilantro and parsley are winter crops down here. You’ll have parsley briefly and then it’ll go to seed. If you let it, you might get a crop to use next year. It’s hard to find cilantro to plant in the fall, but growing all the ingredients for salsa at the same time just won’t happen here in the south. Harvest the cilantro (I just freeze herbs in ziptop bags) and save it for tomato season.

    Plant the mint. In pots buried in the ground. Good stuff, just annoying when you find it 50 yards away. Yes, it can travel that far underground. Beware.

  16. kath

    I do not grow vegetables now. As my 90 year old mother (who was planting my garden for me last year) pointed out, I am not a farmer. I live in a place where I can buy local by walking down the road. Instead she planted a cutting garden for me because flowers are expensive. Every Friday I would cut flowers and have vases overflowing in every room of my house. Mothers are wise.

  17. PandaWriter

    If you like chimichurri sauce on your steak, it’s a great use for parsley. And…

    Nope, that’s it. That’s the only use for parsley.

  18. Rachel

    Growing things? I am sooooo jealous. Blizzard & 50 below zero temps this week, looking for a warm up next week in the low 30s above… no planting here for quite a while. (Think Memorial Day IF we have a warm spring.) Oh, there’s a saying my dad likes to tell that goes like this: Don’t leave your car doors unlocked in MN in August… the neighbors will fill the back seat with their extra zucchini. Even with our short growing season, it grows like crazy around here.

    Hugs & happy love Thursday from cold & wintery ND.

  19. dad

    Maybe you could save the world from hunger by developing a kudzu based diet. I bet you won’t have trouble growing it and if you harvest every day you may be able to prevent it from overgrowing the house.
    Tell the kids not to stand still in the backyard.

    Perhaps I should refrain from sharing any more of my million dollar ideas with you.

  20. JennyM

    (Squirrel Melts?)

    Our deck is finally a reality and I’m full of big plans for containers full of yummy things this year. We’ll see if those plans come to…um, fruition. I might even plant some of the dreaded you-know-what. In a pot, of course….

  21. Leanne

    Develop a taste for tabouli! It’s a great way to use up some parsley and mint, in one fell swoop.

  22. Little Bird

    If it wants to grow, let it. Assuming it’s not a weed. I’m always amazed by people who can grow things. I attempted a potted herb garden a few years ago. It was decided that my place was where plants came to die. Seriously, cut flowers last longer with me than potted plants.
    I would look into the food dehydrator thing, that could be great! Not just for parsley and strawberries, but tomatoes, and basil and… um, I’ll stop now. I think I may need to get one though. For the stuff I buy at the farmers markets.

  23. Summer

    You’ve got parsley, a vegetarian, and a crockpot. That all adds up to CROCKPOT FALAFEL.

    I like to serve mine with a side of fries, the way they do in Amsterdam.

  24. Miriam

    Heehee- your dad is FUNNY! He must’ve witnessed the kudzu takeover here in the south. When I was a kid I used to daydream about people living in that kudzu since it made such cool shady forts and such. And of course I was a VERY successful Kudzu realtor. Man, I was a weird kid. Totally with Kris on the cilantro- I love the stuff, buy it every time I go to the store, but it goes to seed superfast in the south. I tried replanting mine with seeds from the defeated one, but it never took. Just my advice- but then I’m obviously a wierdo kudzu realtorwannabe so you probably shouldn’t listen to me ;-) Thanks for always making me smile!

  25. kristy

    I’m jealous that you’re thinking about planting things … it’s snowing in upstate NY today AGAIN (sigh)

  26. Jodi

    The only thing we are growing is snow. Blah!

    I have our strawberries in the ground and have never had a squirrel eat them. Weird. But then even the bunnies devour our neighbors garden over ours. He has a better green thumb. :)

  27. Randi

    At least you can grow SOMETHING! All I can grow is chaos and disorder…

  28. Kate

    I love my mint. What’s with all the mint hate? Here is a fab way to use it: bake a bunch of new potatoes until tender. While still warm, quarter and toss with a little garlic infused olive oil, kosher salt, and freshly snipped mint. Seriously, you’ll never want to be without mint again. Plus, my girls have tea parties nearly every day from the mint they pick and steep (with sugar cubes, of course), and nothing beats fresh mint in a mojito.
    Viva La Mint!

  29. another sue

    Have the veggie grrrl explore tabouli. Great way to use parsley. Of course last year I made mine with cilantro, and quinoa, but hey! It’s all good. In my gardening zone the cilantro is long done before the tomatoes and peppers ever come on, so that whole salsa garden thing doesn’t work so well. Mostly have fun. You can’t go wrong growing food and teaching the skill to the younguns.

  30. Sharon

    I love your optimism. Thanks for that as we wait for the snow to melt…and wait and wait….

  31. Cele

    I am itching to garden. Parsley is so good in red sauce and most things Italian. I love cooking with fresh parsley. But this year I am planting cilanto, basil, and a lot of cutting plants.

    Your dad enticed you to plant kudzu? dude.

  32. wookie

    I found I got a lot of use out of our little chive patch, but we do a lot of salads, baked potatoes, potato salads, etc. Your milage may vary.

  33. wookie

    Mint is a lovely plant… when grown in a container, or something it cannot get out of. Same thing with violets :P

  34. Aimee

    I was just thinking last night about the strawberries that were in my yard, growing up. That, and picking those little teenie tiny blueberries in the woods behind my aunt’s house.

    I had basil in a pot, but it died. I’m determined to grow herbs this year, but our deck is very shady. I need to research this.

  35. jami

    Lots of suggestions for tabouli with the parsley – that’s about all I’ve found to do with it, but it grows so nicely, I don’t pull it out. I feel guilty about pulling stuff up that has gone to the trouble to re-seed, or just survive through winter. Then my husband comes along and murders things that he thinks have gotten too big with the chainsaw, but that’s another story…

    With zucchini and squash, watch out for squash borers – your plants will start to turn yellow then poof they’re gone – makes me mad mad mad!

    I’d say do the cilantro now – you’ll get a decent growing out of it before it goes to seed, then if it’s in a place where you can let it go, let it go to seed and you’ll have some more later without the work. Of course, it’s pretty homely during that process. My mom has pretty good luck with planting hers in a shady spot and manages to get it all summer, but it hasn’t worked for me.

    And cucumbers! Prolific and delicious – and we also had something last year called armenian cucumbers which were actually some sort of melon – creepy looking and really good.

    Were you asking for gardening advice?

  36. Erin P.

    Can Otto make a frame of a box to set over the container the berries are in and then cover it with chicken wire? That might keep the squirrels out but let the sunshine, rain (hah!) and air through.

  37. Ann from Minnesota

    One of my best flowerbeds is what I call the “bird garden”. I didn’t plant anything there, but what comes up is the result of what seeds the birds poop out. I have beautiful poppies, indian paintbrush, daisies, etc. I am always surprised to see what gets added the following year. I am a believer in leaving things that come up on their own (unless they are weeds!).

  38. Sarah @

    Ooh, berries. I’m voting for the berries.

    Also, you made me physically shudder at the line about the roaches, UGH.

  39. Lulu

    Huh. No one suggested growing okra. Imagine that. Isn’t okra the national vegetable of the Confederacy?

    Here in most of the Inland Northwest, okra cannot be grown. However, fabulous okra pickles can be purchased at the local grocery store. (IMNSHO, that’s the only edible form of okra.)

    We’re also still in full winter mode here. Snowdrops are in full bloom, but the daffodils haven’t shown any color yet. I’m getting my gardening fix by pruning houseplants. The orchard gets pruned next week, Mother Nature willing.

  40. Nicole in WI

    Growing stuff?? Really? We don’t plant ANYTHING until after Memorial Day!! :-)

  41. crazyjane

    i really don’t think you’ve lived in the south long enough to be using “y’all” like that.

  42. Flea

    Make a chicken wire cage for the strawberries. And good luck with the zucchini. We couldn’t get anything from ours last year. I must have a black thumb.

  43. Daisy

    Zucchini – well, squash in all forms – can be a fabulous garden crop. Leave lots of room; the vines spread all over. And if you get too much? First grate and freeze it, and when the freezer is full, drop the rest on your neighbors’ doorsteps, ring the doorbells, and run!

  44. Julie

    PandaWriter, only use for parsley? Puhleez…
    Hummus, fettuccini with clams, tabouli, chopped in salads, soup, minced with basil in cream cheese, felafel, smashed potatoes, chew a bunch for garlic breath. Yeah, I’m ok with parsley;)
    And on a gardening note. Last summer I planted tomatoes in pots on the patio. They all sprang to life beautiously. Then became leafless and leggy. Come to find out, Lil Daughter, who has grown up with bountious pots of herbs on said patio, was picking off the tomato flowers as she picked the flowers off the basil.

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