Monday, February 02, 2009

Garden planning

Apparently we have six more weeks of winter to look forward to, according to Punxsutawney Phil. I never took much credence in what Phil says because the climate in Memphis is little more mild than in other areas of the country. In fact yesterday we hit a high of 65. Supposedly on Sunday the high is going to be 71. In February. So Phil's prediction doesn't have much credibility around here.

With the warmer weather creeping up I'm trying to decided what I want to plant in my vegetable garden this year. It'll be time to start my seedlings for peas and broccoli by the end of the month. I have the Seed Savers Exchange catalog and Johnny's Selected Seeds catalog at home. I've glanced through them but I haven't really sat down and planned out what I want to plant. Last year I had success with cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, carrots and squash. The peas I planted succumbed to some type of vine rot early on, the strawberries weren't really worth it because I would have had to plant several rows of them to get enough to make a pint. I'll probably keep a few strawberry plants this year for the bees though. The butternut squash only produced one squash but I still might try it again. The watermelons kept getting eaten by birds or squirrels. I'm thinking tomatoes, cucumbers, yellow squash, potatoes, onions, green beans, peas, lettuce, spinach, eggplant and maybe I might try corn.

We are going to triple our gardening space too. Last year we had four raised beds, I don't remember the exact dimensions, but this is what it currently looks like in the midst of winter. Luckily we have enough room to expand.
For comparison this is what it looked like during the growing season last summer, in happier times.
The compost pile I started last March is ready to be used I think so it'll be nice to use compost I made in my organic garden. This year I'll also need to improve my pest control options. Last year I used beer traps for slugs, which was incredibly disgusting but worked well. I hand picked off the horned tomato worms and it was oddly thrilling to find one of those little suckers and pick him off my plants. As much as a love animals I do not love tomato worms and I promptly placed them in the bird seed dishes on our patio. See how gross they are?I did some companion planting last year, mainly planting marigolds among the veggies to keep bugs away. I'm going to plan a little better this year and try more companion planting. Organic Gardening's website has really great resources on all sorts of gardening issues, including companion planting here. My mom bought me a subscription to OG for the last two years and it along with my own subscription to Mother Earth News are invaluable to me for information on gardening without chemicals and gardening for wildlife too.

I bought this little windowsill herb kit at Lowe's a few weeks ago and they're growing nicely. There's chives, parsley and basil. There's a top to it that keeps it warm. I'll probably need to move them into actual pots once they get a little more established. They're just something fun to grow indoors.


bridgmanpottery said...

that makes me happy on this cold cough-y day!

lynseym said...

love it! i watched a thing before i left about how to make sure if you do corn, don't just put it along the back row but to do it in a square. they have to pollinate with each other by touching in the wind and can't in a row. ted and i talked about what all we were going to try this year. our place is really shady but i think i can do some!