Spring has officially sprung. And as if to prove that she’s mellowing, Mother Nature has given us a few weeks of really nice weather, varying from daytime highs from the sixties all the way into the occasional eighty-something. So last week I decided it was time to start getting ready for this year’s gardening.
Last year, I planted a huge 40 x 40 foot garden, planting hundreds of onions (don’t ask me why I did it, call it a momentary lapse of sanity), several varieties of peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, asparagus, and some corn.
I’m scaling back this year. I still have a bit of variety, but I’m cutting back on the quantity, in most cases planting only one or two of each cultivar. For those of you keeping track at home, in the main garden I’m planning:
• Red Malabar spinach
• Bloomsdale spinach
• Anaheim Peppers
• Texas Cream peas
• Jalapeno peppers
• Iceberg lettuce
• California Wonder bell peppers
• Black beauty eggplant
• Bibb lettuce
• Black Beauty zucchini
• Poblano peppers
• Black Krim tomatoes
• San Marzano tomatoes
• Straight Eight cucumbers
• Cherokee purple tomatoes
• Orange Oxheart tomatoes
• Golden California Wonder bell peppers
• Roma tomatoes
• Better Belle bell peppers
And since some of last year’s strawberries not only survived the winter, but are actually spreading, I decided to take some of them and put them in the top area of the Garden Tower (which was a huge success last year). Additionally, in the “pockets” of the tower, I planted:
• Lemon basil (from the seeds I gathered from last year’s growth)
• Garlic chives
• Cimarron Romaine lettuce
• Buttercrunch lettuce
• Little Gem lettuce
• Common chives
• Sweet basil
• Iceberg lettuce (which probably won’t grow in such a confined area, but it’s an experiment)
• Genovese basil
Additionally, I still have the four pawpaw trees, two Cornelian Cherry trees, one tiny peach tree, three of the cold hardy Issai Kiwis (though one is male), two Honeyberry bushes, two Sea Berry bushes, and my wife’s fancy honeysuckle. The newest addition (planted just last week) is a new seedless white grape-vine we planted in the back, southwest corner of the fence. We planted it there so we can train it along the fence rails as it grows. I also have some bocking #4 comfrey that I’ve grown from root cuttings in those two white buckets in the picture. Comfrey is a fantastic medicinal plant, as well as a natural fertilizer, so I’ll be transferring the two I’ve got from the buckets into the yard near the other trees in a few weeks.
And since the cantaloupes were such a huge success last year, I’ll be planting more of them this year, as well as some Black Diamond watermelons (I saved seeds from the one good melon we got last year, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed).
In the front bed, last year’s rosemary plant not only survived the winter, but is now three times its original size. And the peppermint is coming back as well. Additionally, I’ll be planting more basil there, (because you can NEVER have too much basil), and more Swiss Chard and Kale.
Hmmm… You know, when I actually write it all out, it really doesn’t look like much of a scaling back, does it? But it really is… I think.
Well Mother Nature can suck it! Don’t let her fool you! She’s a lying, deceitful, conniving bitch who was just waiting for me to commit those seeds! And of course, the day after I did was the day I found out that we had some “unseasonably late freezes” headed our way.
Now, I’m not too worried about the seed trays. Those are easy enough to bring inside while it’s cold. But the garden tower is too big and heavy to bring in out of the cold. Luckily, I still have the economy pop-up “greenhouse” I bought last year. And while some of the parts have been scavenged for other uses (the metal support poles make great tree stakes), there was enough left of the main structure that MBH and I were able to put it up around the garden tower. Hopefully it will be sufficient to get us through the next week or so of freezing temps.
That’s it for now. Next week there will be more interesting items to post, I promise. But for now, stay safe. I’ll talk to you later.