Garden planning, 2011

Although it may not feel like it, winter is slowly slipping away. We can tell because we’re no longer going to work in darkness or coming home in twilight. Daylight savings time starts next Sunday, and spring officially starts on March 21. It’s deceiving looking out the window at all that snow, but underneath the white blanket my flowers are thinking about waking up.

Framed.

Just like last year, our schedule looks a bit crazy right around planting time. Consequently, I will not be starting seeds indoors again. (Boo.) So we will have a trip to the nurseries for bedding plants. However, I will soon order the seeds that will be started outdoors.

Based on last season’s records, I am going with a lot of the same varieties. The onions did quite well, as did the peas that I usually order. I’ve been pretty loyal to the pole beans that I usually get, and the quantity of beans that we got was astounding. (We are still eating those beans!)

Lettuce in situ.

But the real news story from last year was the lettuce. The variety we got was butterhead variety called Matina Sweet. It was a good starter, had nice-sized heads, and was slow to bolt (a huge problem we deal with in the summer heat). Plus, it was darn tasty. The heads themselves were the perfect size for a two-person side salad, so we helped ourselves to a lot of salad out of the garden last summer.

I will be skipping the pumpkins, though. Until I can get the weedy side of our garden whipped into some kind of submission, there’s no point in planting any type of viney gourd over there. The slugs just think that I’ve set up a banquet and help themselves.

We will be rounding out the garden with zucchini (no sense in not planting a sure thing), a slicing tomato, a paste tomato, maybe a cherry tomato, and a vegetable to be determined later. I always try to pick one new thing each year, just trying to see what might do well in my garden. Last year it was the onion sets, which did well enough that they earned a spot in this year’s garden as well. The year before that it was cabbage, which was nice but also seemed to attract slugs like no one’s business. I would love to try out these short-season artichokes, but they’ll have to wait for a year when I can start my own seeds (unless I find a nursery that has started them for me!)

Also new last year was the herb garden. I’ve put this firmly in my husband’s hands, since the vegetable and flower gardens keep me busy enough. He set up an array of pots last summer and filled them with thyme, lavender, basil, rosemary, mint, and strawberries. I loved having the fresh herbs on hand, and now that we have a better idea of what did well and what did too well (I’m looking at you, lemon thyme) he’ll plan out his contribution to our garden again this year.

Mmm… I can almost taste the strawberry rhubarb pies now.

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