Garden Journal #8: Plans and Plants
April 13, 2015
FINALLY. The days are getting longer. I've said it before, I'll say it again. I love summer. I will never complain or begrudge the heat or humidity so much as I complain and begrudge almost everything about winter.
I just spent an entire weekend playing in the yard with my husband, getting my hands dirty with something other than poop for a change, and dreaming of tomato, basil, and mozzarella salads. I'm a little sad to admit how long it has been since we've had a weekend that was this productive and this fun.
The new baby (not so new now) and her demanding schedule, the new neighborhood, and maybe just the winter has had me in a rut. Thank God for Pinterest and a husband who indulges my need for brute strength and engineering skills, because I've been making mental notes and getting excited for things to come.
I'm not terribly artistic or crafty, but I am still a woman. I have an innate urge to create and make things beautiful. I'm creating a garden for exactly two things: food and fun. I don't want this to become something I ever stress out about or resent because it gets to be too much maintenance.
Because I know myself, I know that if I try to do everything all at once, I'll inevitably regret certain choices and redo entire sections of the thing. Or worse, I will never actually finish it and hate it for the duration of it's "in limbo" stage.
So needless to say, I'm taking it a small space at at time and plan to add a little (or not) each year as I figure out what I like and what works. And I'm going to do my best to make notes along the way.
I can't even begin to describe how excited I got when I re-read through the garden journal entries I wrote last year. That, combined with my "Garden" Pinterest board, and you know I'm going to bed every night and falling into the blissful slumber of someone who has very few real responsibilities. (I mean, if you don't count keeping kids alive.)
Here is where I am at at the end of a delightfully sun and spring-filled weekend.
The foothills of North Carolina actually had a fairly mild winter with the usual amount of gray days and very little precipitation. Of course if you watched the news anytime after Christmas all you heard about was "The biggest storm to hit ______" in a hundred years. It seems everyone got a ton of snow but us.
We logged a grand total of 2.5 snow days in our private school. The public school canceled prematurely several times, but there were two legitimate days with white stuff on the ground.
We also had a couple deep freezes all the way into February. I actually wonder if I had brought in all my dormant herb pots during that month if I could have saved a few more of them. Ah, well, there's always next year.
Anything Alive In There?
- zucchini X4
- okra X4
- spinach X4
- broccoli X4
- patio tomato X2
- Park's Whopper tomato X3
- everbearing strawberry X6
- potato X6
- onion X9
- peppermint X2
When it comes to planning what to plant, my main thing is figuring out what we eat. We do eat a lot of veggies in my family, but we don't tend to be terribly adventurous. We stick to about a dozen (probably less) that we rotate around our meals all week. I'm just not planting something that I know I don't want to eat. Like radishes. (I am going to plant beets, later, even though I'm fairly certain the baby and I will be the only ones to eat them.) I would do corn and beans or peas, because these are so tasty straight from the garden, except that they take up so much dang space and tend to have such a meager yield for all their work.
I'm actually doing fewer tomato plants this year and decided to go with a completely new variety that I'm hoping will grow large tomatoes. Stayed with the tried-and-true "porch tomato" in at least two pots though, as these are easy and predictable. No cherry tomatoes. Can't find grape tomatoes, though this is what I want.
Also, no peppers this year. Though we do eat them, I didn't love them last year, and what is the point of wasting space on something that just isn't all that great. It looks like I really did kill most of my herbs, so I'm scaling back on the variety here, and planting more of what I know I like.
Switched from June-bearing to "ever-bearing" strawberries and added more plants. Need to cover these with netting. I'm still also dreaming of blueberry bushes.
All that said, one final big change from last year to this year (aside from the increased space) is going to be my soil. I didn't really take the time to research and prep every plant's preferred soil cocktail. I'm also not thrilled with my inability (so far) to create a compost that comes out that rich black color and smelling like God's toe jam.
Crossing my fingers we get some decent rain and that my fertilizer-efforts work.
- plant strawberries in hanging baskets
- buy fruit netting
- figure out that trellis
- grind stumps, spread mulch, re-arrange
- consider watering system
- Keeping the garden owl from last year, even though I'm not sure how effective he was at scaring the birds. At any rate, I'm going to pretend that they would have been worse if he hadn't been there. Besides, he sort of grew on me. I mean, he doesn't have a name or anything, but what can I say. He stays.