Let’s plan a garden


Global warming is hard to hate when it means we get a week of temperatures in the high 60s and 70s during mid-February. But instead of just basking in the warm sunshine and pretending the snow┬áis gone for good (it’s not… winter is coming), I’ve used this time to do a little garden maintenance and planning.

First off, I took my bucket of kitchen compost (mostly vegetable scraps and coffee grounds) and folded it into the soil of the three existing garden beds. It’ll break down nicely over the next couple of months, turning into fertile, nutritious soil for my seeds to take root in come May.

We’re planning to build one or two new beds before planting time. This will give me the chance to spread things out a bit more, since last summer my plants were a little cramped, and it’ll also allow me to plant some new species. Here’s what I have planned:

BED 1: lettuce, spinach, radishes, carrots

BED 2: onions, parsnips, kale, bell peppers

BED 3: early girl tomatoes, beefsteak tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, ~*MyStErY tOmAtOeS*~

BED 4: cucumbers, zucchini

BED 5: corn

You’ll notice I have one entire bed of tomatoes planned. This is because I crammed the toms in with the peps last year, and the result was a snarled jungle impossible to navigate that required constant pruning. So I’m dedicating an entire bed to my beloved toms so they have some more room to breathe. And yes, I’ll be adding a single, to-be-decided new tomato breed. Now accepting suggestions for anything delicious and/or pretty.

I’ve also got one whole bed dedicated to corn. This is for purely scientific reasons. Corn doesn’t grow properly unless there’s enough of it to cross-pollinate between individual plants. So you have to plant a certain amount, spaced closely enough that it will do its pollination thing. And last year, we didn’t get any corn because a) I didn’t plant enough of it, and b) the plants were destroyed by hail. Twice. So this year I’m not taking any chances. Also, corn is hardy enough that I can plant it elsewhere in the yard, outside of a raised garden bed. So if we run out of steam and only decide to build one new bed this year, we can can just plant the corn somewhere else.

Here’s the garden at its peak last year. We’ll build the two new beds on either side of the three existing beds. And while I’m not looking forward to hauling soil again, I think it’ll be worth it.

DSC_1081What say you, garden enthusiasts? Any words of wisdom about root vegetables? Any tips and tricks for tying up cucumbers? Tell me everything.