Every year, every gardener has new plans for his or her garden. Some gardeners might try growing a new vegetable, begin starting plants indoors, or decide to save seeds. Others think about world domination and expand her number of 4 x 8 garden beds by seven and throw in a 4 x 4 for good measure. Oh, and, of course, try growing a new vegetable. Or five. Actually, I’m not certain offhand how many new types of vegetables I’m growing this year.
This year’s main goal is to expand the number of garden beds. The lone raised bed on the far side of the blueberries is looking a little, well, lonely. We are adding seven garden beds to that side of the garden. Additionally, the spacing between the fruit trees allows us to sneak in another half-sized bed. I have a truckload of dirt to order next week. Although I was none too thrilled with the quality of dirt we received from the company we used last year, I was thrilled enough the first year to give the company one more chance. Here soon (though not quite soon enough) we’ll have another gigantic pile of dirt on our driveway.
In addition to expanding the number of garden beds, we are putting down garden fabric between the beds and adding mulch over them to reduce the amount of time my husband spends mowing that part of the yard. Because we have an old-fashioned rotary mower, any amount of time we cut down on mowing the yard, that much the better. My husband usually has a thousand projects that he wants to be working on, and mowing the yard is never one of them.
One of the projects my husband has planned is to create an irrigation system for our garden beds. The irrigation system will reduce the wasted water from using a sprinkler or the wasted time from hand watering the garden. Additionally, we’ll reduce our odds of having powdery mildew (especially with our humid summers!) because we’ll be watering the bases of our plants.
As for me, I’m excited to be planting additional native flowers in the side yard. The neighborhood bunnies just won’t let our prairie clover alone long enough for them to grow, so I’m adding supplemental flowers to that bed in the hopes that I’ll have what I originally intended: a magnet for beneficial insects and food for my bees. I ordered a potted tray with 38 plants from Prairie Moon Nursery. I purchased Ohio Spiderwort, Bradbury’s Monarda, Button Blazing Star, Prairie Coreopsis, Little Blue Stem, and Sweet Joe Pyeweed. The pyeweed is for closer to the house in a shadier spot, and I want to split the grass between two beds in the garden.
As for what I intend to plant in the garden, I’m trying out a few new carrots because I haven’t been happy with the germination rate of the dragon carrots (even if I was super stoked by purple carrots). I’m also trying out some entirely different summer squashes in the hopes of reducing the squash-bug infestation. The inevitable war against them year after year is just not fun, so I’m looking for alternate varieties that still act as staples for curries, stir fries, or quiches. In particular, I’m excited to try Thai Bottle Gourd and White Scallop Squash. I purchased many other seed varieties from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds this year, but I still intend to purchase my tomatoes and peppers as transplants from my local nursery. Because the okra I purchased on a whim last year grew so well, I’m also going to grow more okra this year, and I’m a little tickled to try the Star of David variety of okra from Israel.
Garden projects that I’ve put off for another year: starting seeds indoors (we don’t have a cat-proof place to grow them… yet), more berry bushes, possibly kiwis, a native shade garden along the yard shared with my neighbor, a native sun garden along the curb, and another composting bin. If I’m lucky, maybe I could squeeze a few more garden beds in the yard…
If I just spent entirely too long yammering on about the garden, I’m not particularly sorry. Winters are long, and spring is right around the corner. This gal is more than a little excited to get her hands dirty again. Speaking of, I have a few garden beds to prepare.
I hope you’re as excited by spring as I am! What are you planning to grow in your gardens this year?