My vegetable garden is finally in! Last year I planted on April 1, so it's safe to say that this was my latest planting ever. But thanks to the Endless Winter of 2013, I couldn't do it any earlier. It was worth waiting to make sure the plants got the best possible start.
I've had a vegetable garden for about six years. My first garden location was poorly chosen, so after a few years, I moved it to the sunny south side of the house. That helped, but not much. So last year, my dad MacGyvered a raised bed for me out of old planks from my shed, and we filled it with "pro mix" from the local nursery. It was my best harvest ever - the peppers and herbs did pretty well - but still below average. The cucumbers and squash died early, the tomatoes were few, and the watermelons never progressed beyond sprouts. My dad decided that more topsoil would do the trick. So last Saturday morning, he went back to Bartlett Nursery on my behalf. The owner said that what we really needed was some of the "private stock" he uses on his own plants. (I love local businesses!) So he loaded a bunch of swamp muck onto the trailer, and we made rows of it in the raised bed. My dad was downright gleeful. I hope this stuff lives up to both of our expectations. :)
I also have this secret weapon, which has apparently caused near-riots at the nursery:
I was advised to dig holes for the plants in the rows of muck, put a little Wholly Cow at the bottom of the holes, then put some around the plants once they're settled. So that's what I did. I'm optimistic!
Here's what I planted this year!
Six kinds of tomatoes - Roma, grape, Sweet 100 cherry, beefsteak, Better Boy, and Mortgage Lifter
Two kinds of cucumbers
Three kinds of bell peppers
Spaghetti squash - I forgot that this is a winter squash. Why are they selling it now?? We'll see how it does.
Crookneck yellow squash
Cantaloupe - my first attempt at cantaloupe
Heirloom watermelon seeds - trying again with these
In addition to the existing oregano and tarragon, which came back strong (exciting!), I planted new basil, dill, sage, and cilantro. (A few shoots of cilantro have naturally popped up, but I need a backup in case they don't make it.) My flat-leaf parsley has already come back and bolted, so I cut it way back and then re-seeded around the base.
I couldn't find zucchini, and I forgot the jalapenos, so I left space to add those later.
Last year I tried a soaker hose, then switched to an oscillating sprinkler because the plants were drowning. Then they didn't get enough water. But according to the nursery guy, the soil should be more settled this year, causing soaker watering to work better. So I got a new hose (the old one cracked) and put it between the rows, not on top of the plants. This is supposed to be good for root expansion.
For the second year in a row, my watering timer has also cracked, so I'll have to get a new one of those too. Does anyone else have to replace this stuff every year? It gets expensive. A watering timer is totally worth it, though. I couldn't garden without one.
Stay tuned for garden progress updates!