I just ordered the bulk of my garden seeds for this year. How exciting! Soon it’s going to be time to start some of them indoors. (I always order my seeds from Diane’s Seeds. Non-hybrid, non GMO, mostly heirloom seeds for super cheap prices, and she sometimes throws in extras for free! I have gotten a beautiful garden from her seeds with more produce than we could eat.)
Spring is really coming!! Birds are chirping outside during the day, though it spit snow today. Dreadfully boring February is nearly over. Finally!
This year I’m doing all raised beds in my garden. I’ve decided to put 50/50 compost and topsoil into them with a layer of newspaper on the bottom to stamp down pesky weeds before they can pop up. I hope it does well. I’ve never done so many raised beds before. In previous years I had one raised bed and the rest of my garden was in the ground, but my in-ground garden is always so full of bugs and out of control with weeds. I’m hoping it will be more manageable and pretty looking in the raised beds. I’ll have more control over the soil and the space the plants grow in. The goal this year is a neat and organized garden, rather than a semi-diseased mosquito filled tangle of plants from previous years. The beds are already built with non-treated wood. The boards are 2 feet wide and 4 feet long.
I’m also building a cattle panel trellis for the first time this year, basically it will be shaped like a triangle. I’m trying to decide what to trellis up it…I’m thinking cucumbers on one side, green beans on the other side. Trellises are kind of confusing, I hope both sides get enough sun. I read that the trellis should face south, so I guess one side will get morning sun and the other side will get afternoon sun. Why is this so confusing? I hope the shadow of my house doesn’t block the morning sun on one side of the trellis. I guess I’d better go outside and check before I plant, but Tyler has to cut back a lot of tree branches before I can assess the sun.
The only thing I haven’t decided is how to easily and neatly support my tomatoes. Tomato cages don’t work well, and they are ugly and awkward. Stakes weren’t strong enough last year, the plants fell over into a heap of insanity, though they still made a million tomatoes. I just had to dig through the greenery and pick them up off of the ground.
I have five 4×4 raised beds this year. Four are all together and one is off by itself.
These are the seeds I ordered:
Peacevine Cherry Tomato
Haley’s Purple Comet Tomato
Monomakh’s Hat Tomato
Boston Pickling Cucmber
Roumanian Rainbow Sweet Pepper
Rocky Top Hybrid Echinacea
Straightneck (Yellow) Squash
Oregon Blue Lake (Green) Bean
Northern Arizona Melon
I also have some saved seeds from bell peppers that I’ll grow, and I’m going to try to squeeze some corn along one side of my yard.
This sounds like a lot of things for small spaces, but I have a good plan. It’s all going to fit perfectly! What doesn’t fit I’ll find another space for in my yard somewhere or I’ll try it in a container on the porch.
I also have a tangle of wild blackberry bushes going on. I planted them as canes the fall before last. They didn’t make any berries this past summer, which was their first, but they grew like crazy. I’m going to have to cut them back somehow because they are taking over my yard and the edge of my neighbor’s! Oops. My patch of domestic thornless blackberry bushes on the other side of my house aren’t nearly as unwieldy, but they do grow delicious big berries every July.
I have several strawberry patches going on, but I’ve only had mixed success with them. Slugs always eat my berries before I do. I need to formulate a better strawberry growing plan.
I’m also growing fruit trees. I have three cross pollinating dwarf apple trees in their second year. I think they will either make fruit this year or next. They’re still so very small though, perhaps they need some compost this year? They’re in containers.
My semi-dwarf pear tree in the front yard is in its second year and it needs pruning. I have to research how to prune a fruit tree properly for strong growth. It made pears last year, so I’m sure it will again this fall.
For flowers Rosie and I are growing various Zinnias, Cardinal Climber, African Daisies, and a mix of sunflowers.
I have pesky reseeding marigolds out front. I don’t want them! I’m tired of them! But they just keep coming back, thickly. Argh!
I’m also going to try growing an herb garden this year. I already have two strong growing huge lavender plants out front by my steps. They smell wonderful. I left a space in my raise bed area for herbs to go right in the ground. I’m definitely doing basil and cilantro. I don’t know what else I want. Mint, maybe, though it takes over everything. Thyme and sage? I do catnip in a container every year…
I love growing things. There’s nothing like dirt in between your fingers, and the excitement of seeing the first sprouts, then the thrill of harvesting your own food. Fun stuff.
My chickens are starting to lay eggs again too! I wonder if I’ll have a broody hen…or a broody duck. A broody duck would send me into spasms of excitement. June has never gone broody before.
Oh spring…not much longer to go!!
Whenever I write about gardening I always get a zillion comments saying, “I wish I had time for gardening…”
Well guess what? It’s not that hard! All you have to do is put some seeds in dirt and add water. Plants like to eat nitrogen, and nitrogen comes from decaying matter…so add in a little well decayed compost. You can make your own by waiting for food to rot, or just buy a bag from the garden store, or get it for free from your city waste department.
A small garden isn’t a time consuming task, at least mine never has been. I spend a few hours preparing the garden area. (Tilling, adding soil, raking out debris.) A few hours planting seeds when the danger of frost has passed. A few evenings a week pulling stray weeds and watering…by a few evenings I mean less than 15 minutes at a time. That’s it!
I have also done an all container garden before on my porch, the first year we lived here. I grew tomatoes, zucchini, and bell peppers in 5 gallon buckets that I got for free from fast food places. Drill a hole in the bottom for drainage, don’t crowd too many plants in a small space, grow food.
Anyone can have a garden as long as you have a small patch of sunlight. :)