Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Garden Angels at the Mercato

If you were looking for those wooden angels to put in your garden or maybe some people dressed up to hover around picking off potato bugs or slugs from your garden, then I must say this post will disappoint.

If you are like me and have a small garden plot or limited seed starting area and you find yourself wanting to put in a garden now, or perhaps you don't have the inclination to start all those seeds inside, watering, tending, fussing; then head straight to our Pinerolo market in the spring and you'll find what I have come to think of as garden angels. These folks have just about every variety of seedlings you might need to get your garden going, pronto. Yes, you can usually find hardy little seedlings in their pots for 10 to 20 cents a piece, but then you have all of those black pots to deal with. Fortunately, some of the people I buy flowers from will readily take them back, but my experience in the states was that they would not reuse them as they didn't want to or couldn't sterilize them for another season. Then you will have all those containers to haul to the recycle center. Happily, I have found several people at the market that are happy to reuse them. I also have them entertained because I always bring along my canvas bag or two full of the plastic bags you collect along the way with your purchases and I try to not collect new ones if at all possible. Not always possible, but it's a good start. Apparently, I am a bit of an oddity,(but you already knew that, didn't you?) as I recycle my way through the market every week with my ample supply of used plastic bags. I'm sure I'm getting the enviable name as a "bag lady", but at least I bring a chuckle, smile or a perplexed look to their face, if my style of purchasing is new to them. I do get a fair share of, "Brava" as well, and it keeps the plastic bags at bay.
But I digress, yet again.

The real beauty of this style of seedlings is that they are all bare rooted and fairly large, so you get a good jump on your "insta garden" including flowers all for pennies. They range in prices from 5 cents to 15 cents each and can fill in nicely, especially if you have a small little plot. I find that I am not always able to use up a full packet of seeds if I want to have a variety of plants in my little plot. I fill in my empty spots, as our season is always a few weeks behind everyone else in the valley and it gives me a quick jump to the season as I wait for my seedlings to grow up and take over. It's a nice balance and I have come to enjoy my help from my market garden angels. Do you have any helpful garden tips from your part of the world?
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