Friday, April 29, 2011

Zucchini, where art for thou?

Most people don't bother starting zucchini seeds indoors, but I was aching for a bit of something green in March, and therefore I started a bunch of seedlings in one of those mini greenhouses they sell at WalMart. I wasn't too stressed over whether they germinated or not, as I didn't have lights on them, nor did I have a heat mat under them. I was starting some finicky seeds, like Bloody Butcher tomatoes, and figured I'd be lucky if I got one or two to come up. HAH!

So today, since I can't do a lot of walking with my aircast on (want info on my broken ankle? check here), I had the children fill up some intermediate pots with dirt from the backyard, and into them I put our overgrown zucchini plants. 10 out of the 12 planted came up, and boy did they EVER come up! They were going to die if I didn't get them some more room. Now they're in 10 slightly larger pots, surrounded by good, amended soil from the backyard. I feel better knowing that they won't die on me, because heck, I can figure out lots of things to do with 10 huge zucchini plants worth of fruit!

All the tomatoes seem to have come up, and are doing quite well. They're a bit leggy, but I can handle that. I'll be replanting them, too, though I'm hoping we'll be able to move before I do that. It'd be a hassle to move whole tomato plants!

Anyhow, I just wanted to give people a head's up... I hadn't posted since the first, since I haven't done anything to do with gardening. Broken legs are like that. LOL!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Garden Plans

So this is the garden as I currently see it at the new house. We have a section that's about 50' by 75' that gets good sun, has decent drainage, and looks clear of roots and other things difficult to plant around. Starting from the part that's farthest from the house (we'll work our way back toward the house, don't worry!) you can see where I am thinking of putting the asparagus bed. That one isn't for sure. It might go somewhere else entirely, perhaps even right near the house itself in a sunny spot. However, I didn't want to forget it in my planning, so I've put it there for now. Then you can see my leafy greens, chard and kale. The chard goes in earlier, and the kale later, so they should not compete with each other for space. There are six close-packed rows of hybrid corn (I know, it isn't organic, but I am tired of not producing any corn!) and the pumpkins. I suspect we'll get more than four plants in that 12 foot bed, but we'll see. We don't want to be swimming in pumpkins, but would like a few for pies and maybe two for carving come Halloween.
I've popped a couple of watermelon plants in at the end of the row of green onions and garlic. I grow great green onions, and there might be some leeks in there, too. Garlic goes in during the fall, and so I can plant other things there during the summer if I want. The watermelons are more of an experiment than anything else. In past years I've tried a variety of small watermelons, and this time I'm picking one of the big, sweet type. I'm only going to put a small handful in, maybe two or three vines, but I have to try! On the other side are my cabbages, both red and green. I never have huge success with them, but I keep trying. Each year they get better.  In between the two are my spuds! Last year we had such great success with the Red Pontiacs that I'm doing them again.
My lettuces will be on the damper side of the field, both iceberg and romaine. We like both, so I figured what the heck. I might plant only half the bed in those, then half in a leafy mix, but again I am not certain. I have iceberg started right now. Then there's the spinach, and beside it the zucchini. By the time the zucchini get huge, the spinach will be bolting and ready to go, so again there should be few conflicts for space and sunlight. The green peppers take up half of the next bed, with the other side of it and the next bed over being all beets. I have no idea if the beets will grow; so far I've had no luck at all with beets. However, I refuse to give up. One year they WILL grow, and Sis and I will be happy campers as we eat tons and tons of them!
Ah, there are my Provider beans. A wonderful bush bean, these guys really are providers! They will give you beans consistently through the entire summer, into the fall, right until after the first couple of frosts, so long as you keep them well picked. They're impressive! The slugs like them, though, so keep an eye out and leave beer for the slug fairies. My carrots will be in the middle, and I'm doing an entire 12 foot double row of them. I've been so happy with the Danvers Half Longs that I can't resist planting a ton of them. Since the new house has a real root cellar for me to store root veggies in, I want to take advantage! I'm going to try broccoli again, although I suspect I'll waver away from the heirlooms and pick a hybrid. I hate doing that, but I get so frustrated when "not getting to the garden one day" translates into "dead plants."
My peas will be nearest the house, both because they are planted very early and because I want to be able to send children out the kitchen door to pick for me. I chose Lincoln peas again, because we like the pod peas, and because it means I can give another try at making my pea pod wine. For tomatoes I chose a paste and a meaty slicing style, and they'll be there as well. Again, I'll be able to see them from the kitchen, making them more likely to tease me into the garden to pick and care for them. My cucumbers are there as well, and will be grown on the metal frames again. Last year's try with Marketmore was so good that I am doing it again, though not quite as many. I am looking forward to making more relish of the honey'd variety, as well as some fridge pickles. Of course, the children and I will probably just eat most of them out there in the sunny garden, because they're just really yummy.

What's not pictured is the strawberry bed, because we haven't figured out where we're putting it. I'm going to be making a couple of strawberry circles, instead of an actual bed, because I have been thinking about it for ages and I want to see how it works. The idea is to do something similar to our spiral herb garden lay-out, except with circles instead of a spiral. There will be a smallish inner circle, about a foot and a half in diameter, and then outside that will be a larger one about four feet in diameter. Both will be filled with good compost, manure, and dirt and then the strawberries will be planted in them. Then, come autumn, I will be able to mulch the entire thing over with straw and even cover it with plastic if I feel like it. That should provide us with early strawberries, if I play my game right!

Now I just have to find a source of rhubarb, Jerusalem artichokes, and horseradish! Thank you to GrowVeg for help with my garden plans!