Saturday, January 10, 2009

More on the garden...

From other gardeners, I've often read that their garden is constantly changing. You try one thing one year and next year you move it around and see what works better. I completely understand what they mean now. The exciting yet frustrating thing about it is that you have to wait A YEAR to see if it works before waiting ANOTHER YEAR to see it it's better!

It's been two summers since I first tried my hand at gardener and here are some thoughts on improvement:
  1. Grow Bell Peppers in Pots - Bell peppers require very fertile soil and it's even recommended to fertilize them WEEKLY. The last two years, my bps have been rather sad. My friend K grew some in pots that turned out to be 3 feet tall with bps dangling from it like candy! I was so jealous! So this year, I'll try them in pots. In general, plants grow better in pots because they are shielded from the elements and don't lose their nutrients to the surrounding soil.

  2. Make Raised Beds - Using some untreated wood or masonry blocks, make your garden a little area of it's own a few inches above ground. This allows the soil to warm quickly. It also just helps in organizing your garden beds.
  3. Use Row Covers - Put plastic covers over the soil around your plant to suppress weeds. The weeding was out of control last year and as the garden expands, I just can't keep up with it. I'll try the plastic covers at least through the spring to keep weeds away.
  4. Plant Edible Flowers - Edible flowers like Dianthus and Nasturtiums look delightful in a veggie garden. I'm going to plant tons more this year. They were so pretty last year. Nasturtiums also act as good ground cover and reach high above the ground providing shade.

  5. Plant Sunflowers - Our yard is so big that small flowers don't make an impact. Along the back, I'm going to sow some sunflowers to add visual interest.

  6. Build a lattice wall on the deck - For privacy, I was thinking of building a lattice wall that will sit on the railing of our deck. My mother-in-law has something similar and I love it. Suddenly, your deck is transformed into a private space. We can trellis plants to grow up the lattice. It's very inexpensive as well.
  7. Replace the fence at the front of the house - I saw a house/garden which I just loved. A white picket fence with an arbor in the middle. I can grow a vine over the arbor and plant lots of sun loving perenniels in front. I like this one that scallops concave. There's something charming about it as though you're entering a cottage.

  8. Pave patio area - This has been on our to-do list. We'd like an area where we can have a fire pit and stand around the grill when we BBQ during the summer. We will probably do this very early in the spring before the weeds and grass set in.
What are you planning for the summer?

Friday, January 9, 2009

I need more land!

Yeah, you heard me. I need to make more space for my veggie garden this year. It's been expanding like crazy! Can you believe it?! This year, the hubs is going to build me an outdoor green house because I need the space and light. He says the house smells like poop when I start my seedlings indoors!

NEW this year:
  1. Sweet potatoes - My husband loves them and they seem easy. They are shipped as plants in the spring and take 3-4 months to mature. I've never been a fan of sweet potatoes. How do you like to eat them?

  2. Baby carrots - Round, 3-4" in length. I'm going to grow these in pots this year. The ground seems too hard for the carrots to stretch out.

  3. Banana peppers - Red and orange, long peppers.
  4. Butter lettuce - I had butter lettuce the first time in Paris. It really is buttery and so soft. It's heaven! Lettuce is really easy to grow too.

  5. Radishes - Another veggie that my husband and his mom like. I'm not a fan, but it's an easy container plant. I'll see what the fuss is all about.
  6. Armenian cucumbers - Based on their picture and description, it seems similar to an English cucumber, so I'd like to try it. They can get up to a yard long!

  7. Bok choi
  8. Lemon basil -
  9. Thai basil
  10. Filet beans
  11. Fairytale eggplants - These are by far the best little eggplants ever! They are the perfect size to grill or sautee with a little olive oil. Pop them right into your mouth! Buttery, fleshy and not seedy or bitter.
  12. Herbs - This year, I'm going to buy plants (with the exception of basil) such as thyme, rosemary, and sage. I just have too much going on to bother with the herbs. I'm going to make an area just for herbs.
  13. Pumpkins
Again this year:
  1. Plum & Grape tomatoes
  2. Arugula
  3. Basil & mini basil bushes
  4. English cucumbers - I'm going to plant as many of these as possible! They were so delicious and prolific last year. Quick, crisp, great for salads and pickling. Needs lots of consistent watering.

  5. Lemon cucumbers - Small, sweet and eaten like an apple! I threw these into my lunch bag last summer and they were such a nice treat to munch on.

  6. Dill, Cilantro, Parsley,
  7. Bianco (white) eggplants
  8. Asparagus
  9. Sweet corn - Mmmm. So easy and delicious!
  10. Watermelon & Cantelope
I miss my garden. Can you just taste it now!?