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!

1 comment:

  1. Sharon, the only type of cage that works for me is the kind we had in Freedom. Ask Jeshurun how he made them.
    Picking off stinkbugs and hornworms is not too hard. Just get out there early in the morning for a few minutes every day.
    Compost pile, simple. Keep it small and put only the best stuff in it. No woody stems. Or cut stems up with scissors before putting them in.


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