I have already started planning my garden. I started 3 weeks ago. I got home from my Christmas break, and was so deeply saddened by the weather, that I did the only conceivable thing I could do besides getting back on a plane and flying to somewhere where the temperature remains above 50 degrees all year long.
I started planning my garden.
Most single people my age are probably out at parties, or on dates, maybe just hanging out with peeps. I don't know, maybe we are all in by ourselves planning gardens??? I just don't know. What I do know is that I constantly have four books open around me, two notebooks going with things to do, and lists and lists of seeds to try. It isn't getting me asked out, but it is bringing me joy. It is also reminding me that the sun is going to come back around to me, and that the days will last well past 9:45 PM. Maybe I'll go on dates then.
At the end of last years garden, I made some notes about what grew, what wasn't worth growing again given the space/yields, what was worth growing again, what I saw other people growing that I wanted in my own garden and kitchen... this year I want to pay some attention to beans. Pole beans mostly, and the snap kind. Not the kind for drying. I don't have that kind of production space, and it's still economical to buy from the bulk bins.
When I started last year, I didn't know anything. I felt compelled to do it, so I did. I figured that I could figure it out as I went along. And I did. The figuring speeds up when you've got lives on your hands, even if they are plants. They are lives all the same. So I'm happy to put my babiest garden bit of know how into practice and try again.
I am going to break this into parts as to not bore you to death. But maybe talking it out will give you some of your own ideas.
Here are a few things that I am going to do with the planters outside my kitchen door:
First. The planters at my house produced pretty poorly. They looked cool and grew plants, not produce, like crazy, but the tubs were only suitable for a few things and to a point. I had a serrano chile plant that did really well, a crazy little goji berry, and a praying mantis that I loved. I kept the bees happy with borage and mint. So herbs worked, flowers worked, and a pepper plant.
What didn't work. Tomatoes. Peas. Cucumber... and so on. When something was categorically not working, I would put it in my basket and take it down to the community garden to see if there was something that could be done for it there. Usually if it could get more root space, it did better. Also, more bee/pollinator exposure always helped. Also, the tennis courts of the community garden get pretty cool at night, and eventually everything got some shade.
The trouble/why they didn't work. They had everything they needed, vitamin/mineral and water wise. But, where they live is south facing, and the asphalt is black and burning hot. So they receive full sun exposure and no reprieve from it, above or below. Things like the chiles and the herbs did famously. Things that need to cool down at night, like tomatoes, never got the chance to do so.
So here is the plan. With my friend, we are going to design and build raised raised beds. Like these. But a fraction of the cost, and it/they will fit the dimensions of my building perfectly, and if we were to somehow face a repeat of last years power wash incident of ought '12, it's completely movable. It's great to have skilled friends, and to be skilled, so you can trade skills. My friend is an architect, and I'm really passionate about this. We're going to make some cool boxes.
What this means is, I have some beverage tubs that I will be able to serve beverages out of this year.
What else? It means that all of the space that was used last year in the community garden space for peppers is going to get freed up, because all of the peppers are moving home. That means that there can be more tomato space at the garden. It's a good trade.
So the plan. Peppers, herbs, flowers outside of my apartment. Done. I haven't completely decided on which peppers to grow this year, but my Anaheim's did so well, and the bells produced such small quantities, that I think I'm going to try and stick to high yield peppers, even if that means that they have thinner walls...
next up. The community garden and what I plan on planting this year.