What do you want to eat from the garden?
This is a question I asked myself this year. Last year we got LOADS of tomatos which were divivne, but boy oh boy there were loads to process for the freezer~do I want to do this again? YOU BETCHA! Love tomatos and we ate them all winter~in soups, sauces and stews!! Wish we could have kept them fresh all winter for a good ole "mater" sandwhich, but not possible as you all know~not in my sun deprived climate, but you might be able to bucket grow some and keep them inside, we can't. Then we had loads of fresh basil. Not that I dislike basil, but HOW MUCH basil do I need is the better question. I had too much and too much celery too~sooo folks, look at WHAT you want to eat and how much! I KNOW I want tomatos as we eat them a lot~but maybe you don't like them so much. Grow less, unless, ofcourse you are sharing, which is wonderful to do. Don't ever waste the bounty~I'm sure you wouldn't~ Decide on what to grow along with how much you want and need. Plan the garden first. Get good quaility plants and seeds. We had a funny thing happen last year. My husband planted "squash" as it said on the package, which turned out to be a Japanese PUMPKIN!!LOL!! OK...so sometimes the cheap seeds will surprise ya! But they were good to eat and make great pumpkin pie~
Once you know what you want to eat so you know what you want to grow, make a plan for your garden. Will it be in the ground or pot gardening? We do a combination of a raised bed for leaf lettuces, celery, herbs and spinich. The rest of the produce goes into the ground in a tilled up plot area with a wire fencing which comprises of a double wire that is about 4 inches and then about 8 inches off the ground to deter vermin. It really helped keep the bunnies out of our squash and peppers this last year. WE DO HAVE A BUNNY too! He's cute, but a pain...wonder if he's fit in my stew pot? OK, just kidding! (My hub would eat him though!)
The location is important according to how much sun is needed for the plants. Remember too that soil prep is really important. We have clayish soil so we like to turn in compost each year. We have an almost antique tiller that my husband repaired that does a good job. If you don't have a tiller, a shovel is much more work, but will do the trick. Have you ever thought of asking for a broken one on FreeCycle and repairing it yourself? Sometimes this can work out well if you can do this kind of thing. Once the soil is prepped, it's time to plant. Besure you let any plants you are transplanting wilt just a bit so when you go to handle them, they will not break. Water well after transplanting them, and be sure to keep it well watered throughout the growing season. If you want organic foods, refrain from using fertilizers, but use good composting and manure to pretreat the soil before planting. I like to put egg shells into a milk jug with water and let them set until some of the egg shell disolves. I use this "treated" water on the plants, which they love! Of course, it's a bit smelly, but in the garden, it's just fine.
OK..so what are you going to grow in your garden?
My hubby is planting:
peppers (bell, banna, hot and mild)
green spring onions
I want to plug FreeCycle which is a YaHoo group where it's owned by local people for the purpose of recycling what is no longer useful for ourselves but for others. I am a member here in our community and have given and recieved some much needed and useful items. I have recieved tomato, peppers, pond lilies and raspberry starts and this year, strawberry plants. This is absolutely wonderful and WHAT SAVINGS!! We are soo blessed! Hunt down your local FreeCycle and join up! Remember to always thank each person who shares with you. I always am so thrilled someone shared with me!
Here's to gardening!