Tuesday, April 19, 2011
The 2011 Garden
I look forward to my vegetable garden all winter. This will be my fourth year of gardening. It was hard to wait until April 15! But now everything is in the ground and I'm excited to see what happens. Here's several cubic feet of gardening information.
2011 is a year of change!
1. Overplanting (sort of). I don't typically get this many plants, but after studying different garden plans, I decided to crowd them in. I'm taking the pioneer family approach and getting plenty because they probably won't all make it. Also, I bought my plants over a period of several days, and didn't pay the best attention to how much I was accumulating. I ended up with:
SIX tomato plants (grape, Roma, Better Boy, Jet Star, Mortgage Lifter, and Arkansas Traveler)
Three bell peppers
Pack of four jalapenos (salsa time!)
Two yellow squash
Arugula (which I usually grow in a pot, but I wanted to see how it did with more space)
2. Arrangement. I usually plant cukes and zukes in the back and tomatoes in the middle, but this year I put the tomatoes in the back and created a more open-air area for the climbing plants. It's good to move crops around. The trellis is more vulnerable to wind, but I think it'll be okay. I wanted to protect the tomatoes (having lost several to summer storms in past years), and my dad pointed out that they'll absorb the heat bouncing off the house. It also makes more sense to put the tallest plants in the back.
3. Weed prevention. I'm trying biodegradable weed-stop paper. The instructions said to cover the garden bed with the paper, stake it, and then cut a hole for each seedling as you plant it. I did, and it was very annoying. I couldn't really see what I was doing, and the paper shifted constantly. In the past I've planted normally, then put a layer of wet newspaper around the plants and over all the blank spaces. If this stuff doesn't make a noticeable difference, I'm going back to newspaper next year. In any case, once I get mulch, you won't be able to see it.
4. Watering. For the past two years I've used a drip irrigation system (Drip Irrigation for Dummies - seriously), but it's overwatered some plants and underwatered others. So I'm going back to a plain oscillating sprinkler. I have a Vigoro watering timer, which I HIGHLY recommend, but the plastic "neck" part broke over the winter. I'm hoping I can just replace that instead of the whole thing.
One planned change that didn't happen is herbs. By May I've usually amassed a huge collection of potted herbs. This year I wanted to plant at least basil and oregano in the ground, but I ran out of room. I did put them in a large pot together, though. I'm liking the idea of grouping different things in pots. Let the plants commune!
I'll talk about flowers another time. :)