Saturday, May 26, 2012


I usually have a plan written down before I start planting each year. If nothing else, it makes crop roation easier -- I have a record of what went where, so it can go in a different spot the next year. I wasn't obsessive about it. No to-scale drawings on graph paper or anything. Just an index card with a rectangle for each bed, filled in with the type of plant in that bed.

This year, I'm going freestyle. I know where I can't repeat the tomatoes and peppers, so they're pretty much limited to one bed each. Other than that, it's chaos. I'm trying to look at it as experimenting and to remember that change is actually good for keeping us young.

I still don't like change.

But I am interested in at least one experiment. I've got most of a long bed filled with alliums: a 30-foot row of garlic and three adjoining rows of red onions. But I left space at each end of the bed to put the butternut squash. Not enough space to grow the whole squash plant, but enough space for the roots of the plant. I'm hoping, if the timing is right, that the garlic will have been harvested by the time the squash vines start traveling too far from the roots, and they can fill the empty space where the garlic was. And then later expand into the area where the onions where. I seeded one end of the bed, but ran out of energy before I did the other end. One good thing, if the timing is off, is that the far end of the bed is near the fence around the garden, and in the worst case scenario, I can encourage the vines to climb up the fence.

Other than that, I planted a few zucchini plants in a gap at one end of the asparagus bed; a six foot row of Bright Lights swiss chard, with just a couple green bean plants in the middle of the row(because my co-gardener and her family don't eat green beans); and some dill in a planter that will eventually be over-run with mint, but at the moment only has a scraggly little bit in it, so I figure there's time for one crop of dill before the mint takes over.

Friday, May 25, 2012

2012 plants

I picked up this year's plants from the local nursery today. That's another $17 in expenses (plus my co-gardener got mulch last week, probably another $10).

This year's plants:

24 Ace peppers
6 banana peppers
6 Juliet tomatoes
6 Jetstar tomatoes
1 Aristotle basil (tiny-leaved variety, kinda' looks like a bonsai tree)

I've got some (very small) lettuce-leaf basil seedlings that will need at least a couple more weeks before they can even think about going outside.

A friend has some Jubilee tomatoes for me to pick up after the long weekend, and we may end up with other tomato plants (heirloom varieties, probably) from my co-gardener's boss.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Tip of the day

When sprinkling cayenne pepper powder on the garden (to discourage bunnies from eating the onion plants) on a windy day, make sure to remain UPwind from the jar.

Yeah, I forgot that one today.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

It's a new year

I've been having trouble getting motivated to work in the garden. A little of the problem is some physical restrictions -- it's just not the same when you can't roll around in the dirt directly -- but most of it is the bizarrely extreme weather we've been having. The last few years have been extremely rainy and chilly. This year started out extremely hot (eighty degrees in March, IIRC) and dry (ominous warnings of a drought), and then reverted to wet and dreary and chilly.

Today brought a little sunshine, and it really was now-or-never for planting the last few onions and harvesting some asparagus. (I know I'm having an off year when I can't even get motivated to go harvest some asparagus!)

Here's what we've got so far:

Expenses: About $57 (most of it a gift certificate from my wonderful SIL) for a few packets of seeds, plus close to 200 onion plants and (eventually) some sweet potato slips. There was a minor glitch with the order, and we received celeriac instead of the basil we ordered (one digit off in the catalog), but Johnny's was great about fixing the problem quickly and without any fuss. I'm looking forward to trying Bridger, a type of onion that's started from seed, in the fall, even in the northeast! Maybe that's part of my lack of interest in the spring planting -- I'm not trying anything new.

From last fall's planting, we have growing:
56 German Extra-Hardy garlic
20-30 early garlic variety

From this spring's planting, we have somewhere around 200 red onion plants. It's supposed to be 180, and I haven't counted, but in past years, the plant count was always generous. And for once, I picked just the right day to plant -- the last day of our mini-drought, less than 24 hours before the rains began (with about 4" falling in the next 24 hours).

The rhubarb has gone to seed already. I never got around to making bluebarb jam last year. I am giong to do it this year, even if I have to buy both the blueberries and the rhubarb.