Monday, March 19, 2012

So far in the garden...

Well, I've fallen off the band wagon a bit haven't I? And for good reason I think, which I will share later. For now here's a quick update as to where I am with my garden planting and plans for the upcoming year. I haven't planted any veggies for the last couple of years because my last pregnancy left me so exhausted. Then there was a newborn in June and a toddler who I couldn't keep off the deck stairs long enough to accomplish anything outside. That toddler is finally old enough that I can take him outside and get some work done as long as I keep one eye and two ears pointing in his direction at all times. I am beyond excited to be spending more time outside in the garden and have big plans for the upcoming season.

I did my garden layout in excel which worked out really well. I'd like to share the spread sheet but it looks like the only way to do that is to transfer it to google docs which will take a little time that I'm not able to spare today. Here are some screen shots though:

Remember those cinder block teared beds along the south side of the house that I installed last fall? Here's what's going in there. (Click on the picture for a larger view.)

At the bottom there you can also see my salad table. The green highlights are where I've already planted. I'm staggering my planting so that I don't have everything come ready at the same time. Everything is based on the square foot gardening method. The number's in parenthesis indicate how many of each plant can be placed in each square foot area. 

Here is my salad table all put together, the inspiration for which came from here. I'm hoping to get a tutorial up soon.

Then, along the back fence, I plan to plant a boarder row/vertical garden by adding lattice along 3 of the 8 foot panels and coming out 2 feet on either side of the fence also using the square foot gardening methods as well as companion planting. Here are the plans for that...(as best as I could sqush them into a series of screen shots that would make sense.) If you lay them all end to end that's the spread of the planned garden. The numbers in each of the top blocks prior to the plant name indicates the foot in which the planting is planned.

For more information on square foot gardening and companion planting, two excellent resources are: All New Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew and Carrots Love Tomatoes by Louise Riotte

And last is my tater towers. I used a tutorial found here and placed them on the outer side of the pad underneath my deck. Between these and the salad table I dug out all of the compost I had, and not a few centipedes and pill bugs along with it. I am a little worried about what so many pill bugs might do to my tender lettuce seedlings. The remedy I have come across is iron phosphate, sold as slug killer. It is an organic option so I will probably go ahead and do those suckers in before they have a chance to cause any problems.

That's it for now. Salads and taters are done and toward the end of the week after the rain moves out of the area, I plan to go get a load of compost from Suburban Lawn and Garden to fill up those beds on the south side. Oh, and here's a neat little tip I read about recently. I didn't save the link, but it seems that in place of round-up, straight white vinegar can be used to kill weeds! I have an awful lot of 'em growing in these beds that need to be wiped out before I fill them up. I would be careful because vinegar is very acidic so used too often it may effect plants that are picky about soil PH, but if you're monitoring your levels (and you should be, not that I am...) I would think things would be fine. Looking forward to April 7th and attending the Eat Local Expo where I plan to buy some heirloom tomatoes and other transplants. Anyone in the area who is interested, this is a great opportunity to meet local farmers who offer CSA, organic free-range meat products, eggs, foraging, canning classes, you name it! (There is also one on March 31st.)

Also, just FYI, you must check out Baker Creek. They have an awesome collection of seeds and well as heritage days festivals the first Sunday of each month now through October. In May they have a spring planting festival that looks like so much fun. Unfortunately I'll be on a cruise ship somewhere in the Caribbean that week. Well, maybe not so unfortunate but I sure wish I could do both! I just might take off some weekend before then and head down that way. They are located in Mansfield, MO just 90 min. from Branson.

Well, my Red Bud tree is blooming, daffies are up, peonies are just starting to poke through and all of my berries that made it through last summer are leafing out beautifully. Spring is definitely in the air and I am so excited to see what this garden has in store for me this year! Gardening is a challenging labor of love but one that I so enjoy. My husband thinks I'm insane but I can spend hours happily tugging weeds. It's therapeutic, and you get tomatoes, what's not to love! Happy planting everyone!