Thursday, February 17, 2011
Garden Planning 2011
The weather is beautiful, which means--it's garden planting time! I grabbed the shovel and turned over my little garden plots yesterday--which only took a few minutes. Last year I had three little 3' by 4' beds. This year I'd like to expand a bit. How much? We'll see!
I really ought to have started my tomatoes from seed at the first of the year, in order to have them ready for planting now. Since I didn't start my tomato seeds on time, I have to decide whether I will buy plants, or start seeds now and plant late. Maybe I'll do some of both.
I harvested the last of last year's tomatoes the first week of December, so if I'd started seeds the first of January like I should have, I would only have had a three-week off-season from gardening! I really could have gardened year round, actually, and the Cambodian community not far from us did just that--I saw garden plots lush with kale and other greens all through the winter.
Three things I'd like to figure out this year, all being well:
1. Figure out how to support my tomato plants. The cheap tomato cages from Wal-Mart that I used last summer were completely inadequate. I would have had to prune back my tomatoes by 2/3 to get them to fit into their cages. I'm really not sure how I will support the tomatoes this year.
2. Figure out the whole composting thing. My whole "throw all kitchen scraps and weeds into a heap" method isn't working too well. I'm left with a pile of dry, woody stems with black sludge underneath. (Interestingly, the black sludge is inhabited by a big, fat toad.) I'm sure the black sludge would make excellent fertilizer, but I would have to hack through all the dry, woody stems to get to it.
3. Find effective ways to combat stink bugs, hornworms, and armadillos, without resorting to toxic pesticides. I still think that manually picking off the bugs could work well, but I would have to be more diligent than I was last year.
And of course, any solutions I come up with have to cost next to nothing, given that gardening funds are squeezed out of the grocery budget. :)
I can't wait to get seeds and plants into the ground!