Monday, May 23, 2011

The garden is becoming a reality

Look out: it's a greenmom with a plan

Okay, here it is: My garden plan.

It’s the first time I’ve ever actually drawn one up.

Okay, no, it’s not to scale, I didn’t graph it precisely, it’s fairly vague and just based on what the yard looks like to me from my window. But it’s the basic idea.

I have this total mental picture of what it’s all going to look like. It doesn’t look much like my mental picture yet. Or really, at all. I don’t know if it ever will; my gardens never look anything like my mental pictures of them. But until such time as it clearly fulfills the almost inevitable antithesis of my vision, I can dream, right?

I’m trying to employ some of the principles of companion gardening that I’ve been reading about: our new apple tree is supposedly resistant to apple scab, but I’m told that growing chives around it will discourage the scab, and planting nasturtiums around the perimeter will prevent other pests from taking hold. And chives are supposed to be good for carrots too, so I figure what the heck, let’s throw some carrots into the ground too. Basil and tomatoes are said to be as good partners in the garden as they are in bruschetta, so I’ll put those in together, and radishes are excellent companions for squash and cucumbers because they make the soil inhospitable to the squash borers and cucumber beetles. Pole beans and snap peas will trail up trellises on the sunny side of the shed; they are good companions to each other, and I may try putting some carrots in the ground in the same area, since they also work well with the beans and peas. The rear corner of the yard is sort of semi-shade and wet; we put in red twig dogwoods and a pussy willow last year to try to deal with some of the water, but it’s just plain mooshy there in the spring. So we’re putting a few wild flowering herbs back there, the kinds of things I can make teas and tinctures out of, like bergamot, hyssop, and marsh mallow. The fruit bushes are to the north-facing rear of the garden so they won’t crowd out the sun from the veggies and other plants. That one remaining question mark is a really good area of garden space, but I’m not sure what I want to plant there yet; the one thing I do know is that next year the squash and cucumbers will go in the spot where currently the tomatoes and question mark are; it’s a good idea to move your squash around year to year to avoid giving borers or other bugs a chance to settle in and get too comfortable. And I have a feeling once I get to buying my veggie plants I’ll come across some lovely things I’ve never tried that I just want to give a shot…broccoli, for one. Cauliflower. Heck, I might even give peppers a try again, even though I’ve had almost no luck with them in the past.

The plan does not specify, though I will definitely do them, three additional things: I will plant climbing nasturtiums around the perimeter of the fence in back to discourage bunnies; I will sow annual chamomile all around to hopefully act as a living mulch and also feed next spring’s soil; and I will dot the whole area with marigolds, which kill nemotodes in the soil.

If the above doesn’t drive me crazy and take all my energy (and money!), I’d also like to do a half-barrel on my patio by the kitchen where I can grow lettuce and other salad greens, as well as a few more herbs I want to keep especially handy—tarragon, rosemary, basil, and such. And I have this yen to grow our own strawberries…although the elders, blues, and raspberries might be about all we can deal with for now, not to mention the little bush cherry I got for 60% off from Gurney’s.

So, back to my question mark…what do you guys think I should grow there?

--Jenn the Greenmom


Daisy said...

I've had good luck with broccoli and cauliflower. Last year I might have had better luck if we'd gotten our fence up in time. The neighborhood bunnies loved it.

Erin aka Conscious Shopper said...

I have had zero luck with broccoli and cauliflower, but they are cold-loving plants and I live in a hotter place than you.

You have some interesting herb choices. I'm intrigued...I also find it interesting that the nasturtium keeps out rabbits since the flowers are edible to humans.

Green Bean said...

I haven't had luck with broccoli or cauliflower either - except the Romanesco version which depending on where you read is either broccoli or cauliflower.

Love the diagram though. :) I also diagram out the garden before planting!

Brenda Pike said...

I'm impressed at how organized you are! I'm doing my most ambitious gardening this year, and it's just two planters on the porch. But I did plant the tomatoes and basil together because of your companion gardening post.


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