Raised beds vs. Containers
Organic Seeds vs. Generic Seeds
Square Foot Gardening vs. Linear Rows
Indoor vs. Outdoor (mainly for herbs)
You see, I've never been a very successful gardener. There's a running joke in my family about how I make my houseplants follow my rules - like only watering when I remember every 2 weeks and always being root bound because I keep it in the too-small pot because the look of the container is more important. Gee, I really make them suffer don't I? And our outdoor gardens (vegetable and flower) have failed each year.
At least I know why:
I don't water on a regular basis.
I hate weeding.
I won't go outside if there are slugs or excessive bugs.
I don't plant things where they belong (full sun or shade etc).
I am just down right lazy.
But they say admitting your problem is the first step to correcting it...
The placement of our garden that we've decided on this year is kind of ironic…
When we first purchased our house, I thought it was so weird that the previous owners had a garden in an area of the yard that would be best used for a patio, seating area or play area. Vegetable gardens are typically at the end of the yard, out of the way of walking or sitting, and usually against a fence. But this one, that had been left to grow over for at least a couple of years, was right in a busy part of the yard. So what did we do? Tilled it all up, leveled it down and planted a lot of grass seed. Now it's one of the plushest grassy areas in our yard (because of all the forced seed).
So where am I planning on growing our garden this year? You guessed it… right there. That spot that was a garden that I turned back into lawn, will become a garden once again. But at least not exactly how it was.
I've also decided that we should try raised beds. I was going back and forth between these two methods:
|Raised Bed - doesn't have a solid bottom, approx 12-18" deep.|
|Raised Planter - Requires solid bottom, good for people with limited mobility.|
The benefits of raised beds can be read about here: Raised-bed gardening, Advantages over planting directly in the ground
I plan to build 2 boxes approximately 3 feet wide by 6 feet long and at least 18" deep, running lengthways west to east. I'm not sure if we'll be using a rot-resistant wood like Cedar or Redwood, or looking towards something less expensive like Pine and possibly treating it safely with Linseed oil*. I'm hesitant to spend the big bucks on something like Cedar if my garden is just going to fail miserably like it has every other year.
One bed will be dedicated to potatoes and garlic, and the other will contain the rest of my crop.
Here is my plant list for 2012:
Seeds purchased from Thompson & Morgan:
Blue Lake Bush Beans
Detroit Dark Red Beets
Purple Haze Carrots
Speedy Mix Salad Greens
True Greek Oregano
Yet to acquire:
Potatoes (Russet + other)
I chose to order my seeds through a reputable company rather than simply purchasing them at Walmart or a grocery store because of quality. The prices are the same (actually, in some cases cheaper to order through this seed company) and they guarantee their seeds to grow. If you have any issues they will send you new packets! I went in on an order with my mom, who got the seed catalog from someone in her Garden Club.
I decided against buying organic seeds. It's almost double the price and I felt guilty enough spending $50 as it was. Plus I figure that I am going to grow the seeds organically, so that's good enough, right? All of my plant varieties are fairly generic and quick to grow, if I succeed this year perhaps next year I will venture into some things that are harder to grow or more exotic.
So after weeks of researching Square Foot Gardening, Companion Planting (this is the most amazing chart EVAR!), Interplanting and Backyard Homesteading (courtesy of my pal Martha), I sat down with my all-time favourite (graph paper) and started drawing up my gardens.
This is what I came up with:
This layout actually took way more work than you would think. The easiest way to do something like this is to cut out squares with each plant on it, then move it around on the piece of paper with the bed drawn on it until everything is in a good spot according to that companion planting chart. You see.. basil loves tomato, and beans don't like strong things like chives or garlic. It's like planning an elaborate seating plan for a snooty wedding, *gasp!* The horror!
I told Lorne that if I could only plant one vegetable in the garden, it would most definitely be peas. I loooooove fresh peas. One time I got violently ill from sitting in a farmer's field with my cousin eating peas off the vine for an entire day... He said that he felt the same about carrots, and he's a good ol' meat&tater Canadian prairie boy, so that basically explains why we have so many of those plants!
OH! And in case you don't already know, in a past life I lived in the interior of British Columbia on an organic produce farm and I used to bring back all sorts of fresh veggies for my mom. Well she planted some garlic that I brought her and has re-planted a bit of it each year. So I am SO EXCITED to be able to plant some in my own garden this year!!!
Also on my plan is to build a DIY Spinning Composter.
But I've got to go now, apparently I have a Schefflera Arboricola to attend to.
*It is very important to NOT use pressure treated wood for growing your garden. It's possible for arsenic to leech into your soil!