Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Planning for 2011


It still feels very much like winter here. They keep threatening snow, but so far it's just cold and not much else.

So what's a gal to do while waiting for spring? Why plan her garden of course! I have a pretty small garden all things considered and so it might not do me much good but I do still try to rotate my crops from year to year. I've also forgotten just how poky slow I am when it comes to planning. I've got a rough draft made up but I still have a few blank spots I'm not sure what to do with. I think I might need to take a gander in some seed catalogs - oh noze! ;^)

I only have four beds to plan out as far as vegetables go. The largest of those I just think of as "The Big Bed", it's seven by eight feet, and have that one pretty well plotted out for 2011. It looks like three tomato plants this year (Mmmm! Sweetheart Grape Tomatoes can't get here fast enough!) Plus I'll be trying out Speckled Roman. San Marzano Gigante did well for me last year so I might give that one another go. I'm also moving the artichokes to this bed as well because every year I've had utter failure with where I've been trying to grow them. The black bean aphids *adore* my artichokes. ::insert grumbling here:: This year, they're gonna have to hunt for them though. So nah! I'm also going to up the number of basil plants too since my DH was so pouty about it last year. He loves basil. Then the standard sweet and hot peppers (Jalapeno, Paprika and Lady Bell), plus onions, carrots, garlic, leeks, parsley and cilantro.

Those shaded squares are stepping stones into the bed - the circles might be marigolds, I haven't decided yet. Also sorry for the cruddy picture but middle of the night garden planning in a darkish room doesn't make for the best photography. On the up side maybe you won't notice my bad spelling and wavy lines that should be straight. Yeah, I know you can do all that on a computer but it just doesn't feel... authentic to me. I like to think of it as a hand crafted garden. ;^)

And now my difficulties begin! I planned the whole thing out and then decided that I sure as heck needed more peas that what I'd allotted space for (we LURVE peas), except there really isn't more space to be had without some finagling. I've got to run trellis ten feet straight down the center of my bed (from North to South) and I'm wondering if I'm going to have problems with it falling over from wind and/or shading the plants behind it. So I've got two options for that, one where I run the trellis against the side of the raised bed for leverage (see left side of photo) and one where I go down the middle (see right side of photo). I think a test run of trying to pound a wooden trellis into the center of the bed here soon might be in order to see if it'll stay up on its own.... as soon as the ground isn't so cold. Maybe later this week.

Two options. LEFT: using the side of the raised bed as leverage to hold the trellis in place, which I know works because I've done it on the North side of the Big Bed but will make harvesting difficult for whole west half the bed. RIGHT: Harvesting will be much easier but will I have trouble with the trellis falling over and or shading the brassica's and greens to the east of it?

Next week maybe I'll have BEDS B and C all planned out and will be able to share that as well. In the meantime can I share how bed C is going to make me weep? I was *IN A HURRY* and bought cheap hay this past fall because I didn't have a lot of time to run around town and grabbed what I could where I could. I just wanted to cover the bare ground with something. Well, guess what? Yup, it sprouted. Big time! Ug. I'd till it in and call it green manure except it's the asparagus bed and there are sleepy little crowns just an inch or two under the soil surface so that's a definite no-go. I'm going to have to weed it which is half of what I was trying to avoid in the first place. Meh.

I also got a rodent squirrel feeder for Christmas. Since they're in my yard anyway they might as well enjoy some corn. Maybe now they'll leave my "people food" alone. ;^) Ha! I also got a bird feeder which has been nice to look at from the kitchen window. I watched this FAT squirrel try and get to it much to my amusement... (pretty sure she was pregnant). Someday I might even get to see some birds eat there... maybe a picture of that next week.

To end this post on a high note and to let you know in a vain effort to get a little spring in my life I indulged in a Paperwhite bulb from the nursery around Christmas. It will be blooming by this time next week. Yay!

  • Like last week it's time to prune APPLE TREES and BLUEBERRY BUSHES.


Robin said...

Last year in the spring I planted my peas at the very edge of the big tomato bed. The peas were finshed and out of the way before I had to tend to the tomatoes. In the fall I planted them at the edge of another bed.

As far as the rodents go...I HATE them and trap them in the spring. Last year I trapped 20 and sent them off to a better home. I now have new squirrels and intend to trap them also!

Randy Emmitt said...


Nice plans, you have done your homework. Seems you might want to make a coldframe for one of those beds. Our dinner tonight the salad greens are from the coldframe, no slugs this time of year either.

Liisa said...

Great planning so far. I'm planning by the seat of my pants this year. For the most part I know where I want things to go but have no formal plan. I like your squirrel feeder. I really need to do something this year about my rodent issues.

Just Jenn said...

Robin, I think I might have found my answer in a variety of pea that doesn't need to be supported. I still have yet to go stake out the trellis in the center of the bed to see if it'll work.

Randy, I"ve got two cold frames build into the ends of beds B and C. I hadn't thought to try greens so early in the season but might give it a go - why not? I usually use them for hardening off starts.

Liisa, What's up with your rodents? Nothing more then squirrels I hope!