We’re back to winter weather here, but the desire to be out in the yard gardening is still strong! I wanted to make a list of all our garden goals here in hopes that we can cross off some of them! I need to do these by section, since there are so many ideas flying around my head for our yard!
1. Kitchen Herb Planter-This raised bed began with a few random herbs, but now the sage, oregano, and dill have become insane reseeders and have taken over most of the bed.
Although the bees sure love this spot and the oregano is really a lovely ornamental with purple flowers, I’d like to reclaim this huge space for more veggies. I was thinking of doing something like this tipsy pot nearer the back door for kitchen herbs. I figure I can try some new herbs and can easily bring a pot of say, rosemary, inside for the winter.
2. Square Foot Gardening in one of the beds. We’ve always gardened in rows in these beds, but even before reading of Mel’s ideas, I felt like we could plant more in there than just two rows of veggies. So this is the perfect way for us to try alot of new and different kinds of veggies we’ve never grown or eaten before. I also love the idea of planting fun things the kids will get a kick out of like purple carrots or cauliflower! Father of Pearls will need to build us the grid to lay down. Honey-do list item number #1,234,567!!
3. Composting We really wanted to begin composting in our yard this year. Since we live in an urban neighborhood, we couldn’t easily have a large more open bin with nosy neighbors reporting us ;(, so we just bought this basic composter at Sam’s Club. I think it will be a good compromise and start for us.
4. Amend existing soil– Since we won’t have our own compost until probably Fall, we are going to add “Mel’s mix” which is 1/3 Peat Moss, 1/3 Coarse Vermiculite, and 1/3 blend of various composts to top off/build up our raised beds.
5. Raised Bed Plan from West to East, First Bed-The herb bed in #1 mostly cleaned out and used for tomato/pepper overflow and lots of annual basil. Second Bed– The A-frame Trellis will be moved here (Honey-do list item) and this bed will be Green Arrow Peas planted on St. Patrick’s Day to hopefully yield peas by the end of May. Then we’ll plant Pole Green Beans on both sides. I bought Kentucky Wonder to try and saved some Burpee Blue Lake. I’m wondering if we can do some chard or cooler weather lettuces in the middle ends under the trellis for leafy protection from the heat.
Third Bed will now be the Tomato Bed. Hopefully the beans left lots of good nutrients in the soil and we’ll have a good year. I usually plant 6 varieties, stake and cage them and then largely let them go to town. This year I’d like to squeeze in 8 varieties and be more vigilant about pruning.
Fourth Bed This will become the Square Foot Garden Bed. It’s the closest to the big tree in the yard and the miscellaneous things we’ve planted there have done just OK past, so I’m hoping this will work. We’ve added “Trimming lower branches” to the Honey-Do list, so maybe it was a shade issue. Hopefully not a tree root issue. In that case, we may have to add an extra level of wood to raise it up some and maybe even line the bed floor with plywood.
6. Seed Starting-Although we are winter sowing a majority of our seeds, we’re going to try again at growing a few plants inside, at the Pearls request. We will try some warm, annual veggies-tomatoes/peppers/basil inside. We bought a $9 shop light at Walmart to hang above the wire shelving in the basement. Hopefully that will thwart any bad kitties from eating our little sprouts again!
7. Irrigation Lastly, we are going to try to run a system of soaker hoses through the raised beds to be able to water more efficiently and properly. I found some good resources for reasonable parts on MrDrip.com. I also like Mel’s idea of hand watering from a bucket of sun-warmed water as needed. The kids will love this. We also wanted to install a DIY rain barrel for watering and filling wading pools!
Whew, it looks like a long list, but see it organized like this makes it seem pretty do-able! Wish us luck.