Thursday, January 21, 2010

I think I've done it

Created our garden neighborhoods, that is.

Because we expanded our crop selection this year, I had to (yet again) adjust our bed layout with pests and companions in mind. To make this more difficult, I wanted to make sure that I wasn't re-planting a bed with the same item in the same location. So this year if I combined squash and collards, I needed to do so carefully.

I knew we were rotating the tomatoes to the furthest east bed since it hadn't seen a member of the solanaceae family since 2007, which should have allow for enough time for any soil bacteria or other nasties to subside. So that was my leaping off point for the other two beds.

The end result is the following rudimentary outline:

East Bed: Tomato, Red Onion, Yellow Onion, Leek
Middle Bed: Cucumber, Squash, Corn, Collards, Kale, Radish, Lettuce, Carrot, Garlic
West Bed: Beans, Peas, Swiss Chard, Spinach, Carrots

Eventually I need to break this out further into what varieties will go in each location. Some particular items may move - like I may plant pole beans with the corn and squash in the traditional Three Sisters combination.

There will also be a LOT of interplanting with herbs and vegetables. More than last year. It's going to be very dynamic and biodiverse. Exciting stuff!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

2010 To Do List

Getting an early jump on things this year. Some of these items may be "wish list" to-dos, others are more mandatory. In no particular order:
  • Re-do the fireplace bed
  • Finish overseeding the last of the backyard
  • Plant out the front walkway beds
  • Get rid of the barberry bush
  • Fill in holes in the yard
  • Buy and install a rain barrel
  • Put in stepping stone path
  • Outdoor lighting
  • Design, create and install screens for the arbor
  • Finish master plan of the yard

Book Review - Great Garden Companions

I picked this book up from the library to try and expand my knowledge of companion planting. Last year worked well, but I was sure there was room for improvement.

Suffice to say, after spending a few hours reading it, I ran off to Barnes & Noble to order my own copy. It contains general principles and then details on each type of crop. It also has information on how to best attract beneficial insects, plants that may keep pests away, and information on each type of garden pest and how to deal with it.

We're going to be putting some of these theories to practice this year.

Friday, January 15, 2010

2010 Vegetable garden

Inspired by Skippy's Vegetable Garden, I started to put a comparison together of the last two years. The idea being it would help me sort out what we want to grow this year. We decided to pretty much scrap the tomato varieties we'd tried so far and search for something new. Same with the bell peppers. I'm going to give cucumbers a shot one more year - this time a new variety from seed. I still haven't figured out what lettuce variety we'll get. We may just go with what we grew last year. Milaeger's is our local nursery who we've used the last 3 years. SSE = Seed Savers Exchange.

So here's the list for 2010 so far. Once I get the beds plotted out, I'll post that as well!

Crop, typeVarietySourceSeed or Transplant?
Beans, greenDerby BushMilaeger'sTransplant

EmpressSSESeed

Royalty Purple PodSSESeed

Dragon's TongueSSESeed
Beans, shellCalypsoSSESeed

Cherokee Trail of TearsSSESeed

Ireland Creek AnnieSSESeed
CarrotsRoyal ChantenayMilaeger'sTransplant

St. ValerySSESeed
Collard greenChampionMilaeger'sTransplant
CornReid's Yellow DentSSESeed
CucumberDouble YieldSSESeed

Japanese ClimbingSSESeed
EggplantPark's Whopper HybridMilaeger'sTransplant
GarlicsoftneckMilaeger'sTransplant
KaleWinterborHome DepotTransplant
LeekAmerican FlagMilaeger'sTransplant
LettuceBistro Salad Blend Milaeger's
Transplant
Onion, RedRed BurgermasterMilaeger'sTransplant
Onion, YellowCopraMilaeger'sTransplant
peasDwarf Gray SugarSSESeed

Green ArrowSSESeed
PepperBlushing Beauty (yellow)Milaeger'sTransplant

King of the North (green/red)SSETransplant

Valencia (orange)Milaeger'sTransplant

Sweet Chocolate (brown)Milaeger'sTransplant

Tiburon PoblanoMilaeger'sTransplant

Mucho Nacho JalapenoMilaeger'sTransplant

Orange HabaneroMilaeger'sTransplant
RadishEarly Scarlet GlobeSSESeed
Shallot
Milaeger'sTransplant
SpinachBloomsdaleSSESeed
Squash, SummerEnterpriseMilaeger'sTransplant

Black Beauty ZucchiniSSESeed

Spineless BeautyMilaeger'sTransplant
Squash, WinterPennsylvania Dutch CrookneckSSESeed
Swiss ChardFive Color SilverbeetSSESeed
TomatilloToma VerdeMilaeger'sTransplant
TomatoEarly GirlMilaeger'sTransplant

Jet StarMilaeger'sTransplant

RoseMilaeger'sTransplant

OpalkaMilaeger'sTransplant

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Poor, neglected blog

Fall ended up being crazy for both of us. Work sucked up what free time we had.

Also, we ended up with a new addition to the family:



That's Indy. She's an outsized miniature poodle with a lot of spunk. She's a rescue from a local organization, so she's needed to learn some basic commands and we've had to build up her confidence (she was very shy and jumpy at first). She is also a serious bird/game dog - she flushes birds and games better than my ILs two goldens. She is also a digger, so we'll have to do a lot of re-direct training this spring. But she's sweet and playful and we're looking forward to springtime with her.



To round out the year, we ended up overseeding about 2/3 of the back lawn. I could see the new grass coming up before the first freeze, so I think that's a success. We'll see how it looks in a few months.

The final 2009 To-Do List doesn't look too done though. Kind of disappointing, but that's life.
  • Finish master plan of the yard
  • Re-landscape west wall bed (aka fireplace bed)
  • Get rid of barberry bush in back
  • Place stepping stones from garage to back yard
  • Clear out back woods
  • Re-landscape garage bed
  • Re-level brick patio
  • Power-wash trellis and mailbox post
  • Fill in holes in front bed (dead junipers and rose bushes)
  • Plan out vegetable garden
  • Re-mulch front yard beds
  • Look at and either remove or repair yard sink
  • Trim large bush trio in back
  • Prune Mugo out front after killing the evil sawflies
A commenter in the last post had asked about the barberry bush that we plan to rip out and how we're planning to do that. Well, simply, we're digging it out. It's a fairly small bush, so it shouldn't be too difficult. Having dug up two very large junipers and two 12'+ apple trees, this little guy should be easy. If the bush were larger, I would probably cut it back severely and then dig the root system out as best I could, using a nice sharp spade to cut thru the roots where possible. I wouldn't recommend using a truck or the like to rip out any large, well-rooted bush, though. Odds are you'd rip the bumper off before taking the bush out.

Predictions for 2010:

We'll be trying to grow vegetables from SEED this year. I'm only using ones we can directly sow in the ground, as I have no patience for everything involved with sowing in flats indoors. I'm currently thinking we'll use this to experiment with a few different varieties and get the majority of our "must haves" from the nursery still.

As I said, we'll be working with Indy on not digging her way to China. Lucky was taught (by my sister's standard poodle, ironically) to dig in the sandbox, so we'll work on training her that way.

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