Monday, January 30, 2023

Garden 2023


On Saturday I got an email from Costco advertising raised-beds for gardening square foot style.  I have tried this method several times with varying success.  But these containers were the legitimate size recommended in the official SFG guide, so I was feeling optimistic that somehow having these particular containers will lead to a greater chance of success.  Plus, they were relatively inexpensive compared to the ways I'd come up with before.  So, I confirmed with Dan that I was gonna be able to use them in our yard this summer and ordered them.  Costco shipped them for free on Sunday, and they should be here soon.  

Next, I tried to come up with a list of vegetables I wanted to grow.  My number one reason for gardening is honestly the tomatoes.  I LOVE tomatoes fresh from the garden.  In the past I've had problems with growing them.  One year they were exceptional and the next few years I got stuck with blight and blossom end rot, so I sorta gave up.  The last time I bought a patio variety in a pot which tipped over in the wind, landed on the recently-weed-killer-sprayed lawn, and promptly withered up and died.  That was about 3 years ago and the last time I planted a thing.  

The list of fruits, vegetables and herbs I decided on:

  • Sugar Baby Watermelon
  • Bloomsdale Long Standing Spinach
  • Waltham Butternut Squash
  • Cherry Belle Radish
  • EZ Grow Monster Pumpkin
  • California Wonder Pepper
  • Sugar Snap Pea
  • Salad Bowl Lettuce
  • Bibb Lettuce
  • Black Beauty Eggplant
  • Spacemaster Bush Cucumber
  • Tendersweet Carrot
  • Garden Contender Bush Beans
  • Buttercrunch Lettuce
  • Thyme
  • Italian Parsley
  • Oregano
  • Peppermint
  • Bouquet Dill
  • Genovese Basil
  • Mortgage Lifter Tomato
  • Roma VF Tomato
  • Sweetie Tomato
  • Early Girl Hybrid Tomato
The first 2 sites I tried to order from were too expensive for the tiny amount of seed I actually need for a 32 square foot garden space.   I do not need 1300 lettuce seeds!  So I chose Ferry-Morris, who I've used in the past.  Their prices were much more affordable than Burpee or Harris Seed Company.  I used a coupon and hopefully the seeds will be freshest coming straight from the supplier instead of a big box store that carries them like Walmart.  

The spreaders are going in my old planters so they don't take over the whole garden.  The herbs, tomatoes,  peppers and some lettuce will go in one of the square foot boxes, and everything else will go in the second square foot box.  I need to get tomato cages and a trellis for the peas.  The beans and cucumbers are supposedly bush style so I'm hoping they won't need support... I need to look into that more at some point.  

I bought seed starting kits to get the plants growing in February.  I want them to be ready to plant when the frost is done at the end of May.  According to the USDA Plant Hardiness Map, we are a zone 6 area.  I don't know how smart it is to grow the plants so long before transplanting them outside, but I think it's necessary to start them early and have them large enough that when I put them into the outdoor garden, I can tell which are the plants and what is a potential weed sprouting up.  Aside from the lettuce, herbs, and root plants, I'm starting them early.  

In May I'll go to the garden store and buy the vermiculite, compost and peat that I'll blend into the growing matter.  It's my favorite but most exhausting part of the entire process, mixing the soil substitute.  But I like the fact that there are no weeds or grass when I start.  As long as Dan doesn't blow the grass into the boxes while cutting the lawn like he & my dad have done with the old gardens, we should be good.  Miracle-Gro makes raised-bed soil, but it would cost me over $200 for just the 2 beds.  More if I want to fill the old planters for the spreading plants (mint, squash, pumpkins & watermelon.)  We'll have to see how my local garden store and the big box home improvement stores compare between making it myself and buying it premade.  

The only other potential problem I'm just now thinking about is Fred.  Fred is the wild bunny that lives in our yard.  We might need to get some chicken wire to put around the beds, which is an expense I hadn't thought of.  I don't mind him chillin' in our yard, but I'm not trying to feed him a buffet either.  Luckily we live in a populated enough area that deer aren't an issue like at my old house.  

Do I really need another "hobby"?  No.  But this is something physical and outdoors, which is good for me and for Jo.  And it will give us some veggies that are otherwise lacking from our diet.  This year, the garden will be expensive, but all in all, worth it.  Like my knitting and crocheting, it serves a dual purpose.  It's something wholesome to do with my hands and helps my mental health, but it also creates something useful at the same time.  Subsequent years will be less expensive, but just as rewarding. I'm ready for it. 

Do you garden?  I'd love to hear your plans for the upcoming year if you do!  Leave me a comment. 

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