Sunday, April 11, 2010
Every year, I have these big, big plans for my garden. And every year, my grand schemes are realized in yet another Garden of Fail. The lettuces bolt overnight, the beans don't bear, the corn is stunted, slugs beat me to the strawberries, and worms devour the broccoli and cauliflower down to the stems. I don't use poisons or chemical growth enhancers, because for me, that defeats the purpose of growing produce at home. I can buy chemical-laden plants at the grocery store, way cheaper than what my time and labor is worth--there'd be no point in growing veggies and fruit at home that way.
So here we are once again. It's Spring, and I'm rooting around in the dirt. I'm replenishing the raised beds with fresh soil and starting over. This year, if I don't make it work, I think I'll have to give up. I have reinforcements this time. I've got weed cloth, row covers, and Escar-Go. The baby broccoli will be covered up so the cabbage moths can't get to it (though I'm a bit confused over when/how to uncover for pollination, so if you have tips on that, lemme know). The slugs will be baited and dealt with (hopefully) before they nom on my luscious strawberries. I'm limiting my plans to things that we will actually eat, and a smaller selection of those, in hopes that my reach will not exceed my grasp this time.
Here's the lineup for spring, with possible changes/additions happening during the summer and fall growing seasons:
Bell Peppers: Red, Yellow, and Green
Sugar Baby Melons
That's right. ONLY Romas. Aside from the occasional batch of fried green ones, we don't like tomatoes, Sam I Am. We like tomato SAUCE. So all we need is a freezer full of home-grown Romas to get us through the year.
We have herbs going great guns already--that's something even I can't screw up. They grow like crazy in spite of me, even the ones that are in pots and never watered. We've got basil, oregano, thyme, sage, chives, rosemary, parsley, dill, lavender and about a half acre (at least it seems that way) of mint. I think I'm going to try drying herbs this year, so any advice on that front is appreciated.
I do have a bit of good news about things that made it over the winter here, besides herbs. Strawberries, as mentioned, are looking strong and already blooming. We should have a good little berry harvest if I can keep the slugs off them!
And just in the last couple of weeks, the grapevines I'd given up for dead sprang back to life. Let that be a lesson to my fellow gardenoobs: Grapevines in winter look very, very dead. But look! It's alive (and smothered in mint)!
Also featured in long-range growing plans, and doing well in their second year:
Granny Smith and Arkansas Black Apples
These things should all be going strong by the time I'm ready to move away from here, I figure.
So what are you growing and what advice do you have for newbies like me?