DIY Sarah

Craft, Decor, Art, Garden, and Dessert

Gardening Blues

Every year about this time I get the gardening bug. I just want to walk in the sun and see little green heads poking out of the soil. I want to run outside first thing in the morning to check on my plants. I want a place to go when I’m in a sour mood that will lift my spirits and enchant me with God’s wondrous creation. I miss my little patch of veggies and flowers. Next summer, they are going to be EVEN BETTER!

I’m in the process of going over how I want to lay out my garden next summer. I’m learning and I want to develop this garden over time.

Location

This corner is the sunniest part of the yard so I’m planning on keeping it for myself and my garden.  The gladiolus will move to the far side of the garden, farther from the house, so that I can see them from my kitchen window.  I’m thinking sunflowers where the gladiolus are now!

Layout

The 2012 layout was a little haphazard. It was nearly impossible to get to the center of the bed. The brick edging was great and quite successful at dividing the bed into rooms. The garden was a little small for all the veggies I want to grow this year though.

The back row of the bed is gladiolus. the large-leafed plant in the back left was a squash. The two tomato cages in front of the squash were cucumbers. In front of the cucumbers was mint and hardy mums. To the right of the mint, (and that air filter…) is strawberries. Behind the strawberries was a bell pepper, a hot pepper, a “Ultimate” tomato, a smaller tomato variety and a cherry tomato. To the right of the tomatoes were green beans. I pulled those out fairly early since they were bitter and Stefan refused to eat them 🙂

Tomatoes

The cherry tomato produced a ton of fruit that never really ripened. The whole plant turned black and kind of died. I got the “Ultimate” tomato plant from a local grocery store and I got the cherry and smaller tomato from a local organic farmer. I think the whole organic thing is really not for me. I need hardy plants and hardy plant breeds. In 2013, I’d like to try grape tomatoes rather than cherry and I want to try to pick indeterminate rather than determinate fruits which produce all their fruit at the same time. I also need to really take a deep breath and prune the tomato plants. I know they need encouragement to stay upright but I have a hard time cutting off the little flowers!

Squash

I’ll definitely do a squash again. They were super yummy, made great host/ess gifts, were buttery and Delicious and they grow so fast it’s fun to see them come to fruit. In addition to the summer squash, I’d like to try a butternut squash and a zucchini plant. I understand butternut squashes are a pain to grow – they get too big and it’s hard to support the fruit. My plan is to keep it pruned fairly small and try to get 2-4 sizable fruits from it. I don’t need to make butternut squash soup that often! I figure I’ll try to start 6 seeds of each to try for one good plant. I can give the others away to our local garden community in Arlington.

Cucumber

Yes!  I had 2 mounds, 4 vines and I had SOOOO many cucumbers.  I think I’ll go for 6 vines though cause Vector, believe it or not, loves cucumbers.  Many a summer evening, we would sit on the kitchen floor sharing a cucumber.  He still get’s all agitated when he hears the peeler.  I know it’s strange that I not only give the cat cucumbers, I also peel and slice them for him but it’s not all a spoiled-rotten-cat effect, it helps him stay neater on his cucumber rampages.

Peppers

I have really good luck with peppers. I’m planning on Jalapenos, Sweet peppers, and a bell pepper plant. I’ll probably just purchase the bell pepper plant and start the others from seed.

Strawberries

Stefan got me a strawberry pot for my birthday so the strawberries will be dug up and transplanted. It will be easier to protect them from the squirrels. I’ve also read that getting rid of the shoots from the plant will increase yield. I plan on doing that in 2013 since I didn’t get a single strawberry this year!

Beans and Peas

I’ve ditched the green beans for 2013 at least.  I’ll try them again but this year, I want peas.  Lots of peas.  Sugar Snap Peas to be exact.  yummy yummy!  I’m also planning on a couple vine-ing wax bean varieties.  I think I got bush beans last year and I want to try something new.  I love green beans but last year’s soured my taste..pun intended.

Flowers

Gladiolus!  They did so well and rest assured I’ll be planting them again as soon as the ground is workable.  This year in other areas of the yard I had cosmos and zinnias.  I don’t think I planted them as early as I should have.  It was nearly July.  I’m planning on an early-may planting date.  I planted nearly 3 packets and really only got 4 plants 🙁  I think the birds ran off with them and the weeds choked them out.  I’m planning on being a little more attentive this year and perhaps starting them in flats outside so I can protect them from pests before planting them in their final locations.  We’ll see.

I’m also planning on some marigolds and nasturnums.  They make great companion plants and I’m going to try to make my garden into a veggie/flower garden.  I’d also love to get some sunflowers growing. I have the perfect stop right infront of my kitchen window.  I can just imagine them poking their big heads up and blocking my view of the backyard.

Herbs

I only grew mint this year and the neglected rosemary plant I brought from the apartment.  This year, I’m planning on basil in with the tomatoes, as well as dill with the carrots and lettuce.  The mint should come back and I’d love some lavender.  If my rosemary survives, I’m going to try to propagate it and perhaps prune it into something interesting.  Some cilantro and chives would also be good to have around but they do best in little pots so that I can re-seed as needed.

Veggies

Carrots and Lettuce are on my list.  I have never had good luck with lettuce.  I think they don’t handle drout well and I’m a neglectful plant owner.  A soaker hose and a timer will hopefully mitigate that problem.  I love a fresh summer salad!  I had ok luck with carrots but I didn’t grow them in a deep enough pot when I grew them on my stoop in 2011.  I’m hoping some good tilling an the soil will be light and fluffy enough for the carrots to really do well.  I’m not a fan of radishes and I’m scared of the “greens” but they may come in future years.  I hear home-grown radishes are sweeter and they do look pretty on a salad.

 

2013 Plant List

  • 32 Carrots – succession planting ( 2 sq feet)
  • 8 heads of lettuce – succession planted (2 sq feet)
  • 2 large tomatos (3 sq feet)
  • 1 roma or sauce tomato (1.5 sq foot)
  • 1 grape tomato (1.5 sq foot)
  • 6 cucumber vines (1.5 sq foot)
  • 1 jalapeno (1 sq foot)
  • 1 hot pepper (1 sq foot)
  • 1 bell pepper (1 sq foot)
  • 3 basil (tucked in with tomatoes)
  • 1 dill (.5 sq foot)
  • 2 lavendar (1 sq foot)
  • cilantro – pot
  • chives – pot
  • Sunflowers – 1 pkt
  • Zinnias – 1 pkt of pink, 1 of mixed
  • marigolds – 1 pkt (tucked in here and there)
  • gladiolus – all the corms I have with a possibility of additional purple/pink ones ( 8 sq feet)

Here’s my rough planting plan.

 

veggie garden

 

The sunflowers will be planted where the gladiolus are now to give you some orientation.  I’m thinking a nice patio in the middle.  Somewhere to drink my morning coffee on the weekends.  Just a couple chairs and a little bistro table.  The box labeled gladiolus in the image is 10 feet by 1 foot to give you an idea of scale.  I can always expand into the patio as my gardening needs expand but I think this will suit me quite well.  The planting beds won’t be so stiff and square but this is the general plan at this point.  I’m going to edge them with bricks again. I love that look.

There are some plant experiments I want to try too.  I’d like to try growing green onions from the leftover bulb.  I’d also like to try celery and lettuce that way.  I hear it works great and they grow nice and fast.  I’ve decided to skip growing impatiens and petunias from seed this year.  I also want to try foxglove.  I love foxglove but I’m going to limit my seed-starting shenanigans.  I’ve got plenty of time and I’ll be more successful if I start small.

That’s the 2013 garden plan.  What do you think?  Do-able?

 

Sarah

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