Monday, January 21, 2008

Frozen Solid.

It was a cold weekend. Bitter. Pretty much the only time that I left the house was to go to the gym each day. Had it not been for Rykert warming the car up and dragging me along, I probably wouldn't have left the house at all. I did make a quick trip to the mall as well.

So, when the weather looks like this (or worse) for much of the weekend.


I can think of nothing better to do than to start thinking about the Spring garden. I started paging through the seed catalogs during my trip East on Wednesday and Thursday, and then sat down to make some lists this weekend.

2008 Garden Planning

Last year, you may recall, we moved into our house in mid-May. I desperately wanted to plant tomatoes, and digging a brand new garden seemed like a more laborious prospect than we were willing to take on then. Instead, we reclaimed some raised flower beds along the back of the house (which were overgrown with some kind of ornamental grass and weeds) to plant tomatoes and a few pepper plants. We had low expectations, and we were really impressed with the results. We had huge, uncontrollable, unstakable tomato plants and bushels of tomatoes.

This year we are going to build raised beds in the far part of our yard, the exact size has yet to be determined. I'm confident that we can handle this, and we have a space in the yard that will handle a garden larger than we intend to plant. We are considering using the Square Foot Gardening method rather than traditional rows. I have an anal retentive side, and the order and grid in square foot gardening appeals to me. As does the idea of planting lots of different plants. It appears to be an efficient way to grow, though I'll take any advice or comments anyone has on this subject.

We started with some lists of what we'd like to grow and know we will consume...

  • Tomatoes (slicers, romas, and cherry)
  • Peppers (green bell, jalapeno, and banana)
  • Cucumbers (slicers and pickling)
  • Beans (bush green)
  • Snap Peas
  • Green Onions
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Zucchini
  • Basil
  • Cilantro
  • Oregano
  • Parsley

Admittedly, this is probably a lot for 2 people, but we intend to share with my sister and do as much preserving as possible. Last year, we did the herbs in pots, and they did not do well at all. We may repurpose the flower beds along the house (previously holding tomatoes and peppers) for herbs. Or I may just plant zinnias there because I like them and they attract butterflies. If we let ourselves, our list would keep expanding.

I would like to start some of these, as appropriate, from seed. While I have no experience and no knowledge on this, I see it as a low-risk proposition. If we are complete failures, we can always result to transplants from the local nursery when the time comes. The drawback to relying on nursery transplants is that they seem to get picked over and you are somewhat limited in the varieties you can plant.

When I first brought the subject up on Friday, Rykert insisted that it was probably too early to start thinking about gardening. But when the backyard is covered in snow and the temperature drops well below zero, I informed him that I needed to start thinking about gardening. Just as I desperately needed this 3 day weekend.

4 comment(s). Tell me what you think!:

Bonnie D. said...

Sounds like a terrific garden list! Starting from seed is a great idea to get the variety you want although it is a little more labor intensive. I have considered starting with seeds for the last couple years but usually don't remember until it's too late. Thanks for the reminder!

Tina said...

I have the furthest thing from a green thumb and I tried planting seeds last year. It was a big flop, but I probably could have done a better job if I planned better. Maybe I will give it a go again this year, and if I have the right soil it just might work.

Knittripps said...

Oscar Outlook! I nearly took a picture of my same weather station showing negative five degrees.

It is not too early to starting thinking about your garden. We've been talking about ours too. I think it is because I am wishing for warmer weather.

Anonymous said...

In the not too distant past, my FIL starts picking up seed packets of zinnias and marigolds wherever he sees them about this time of year. He just keeps them, then when it's time to start them, he mixes all the seeds together and sows them that way. The mix of flowers along his garden row (he plants sunflowers down the hedge row, then these seeds in front of them) is breathtaking. They always have cut flowers for the house - wild mix of them - all spring and summer from this method. I do miss that. You won't be disappointed with planting zinnia, I'm sure.

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