Saturday, March 12, 2011

Slime Into Spring

It's officially time to plant our garden. The scheming and fantasizing phase (about 8 months of the year) has come to an end and the days of actually moving dirt are about to commence.

I have 47 vegetables and 12 herbs in mind for our plant paradise, mostly of the vine variety and all of which have to fit in a space of about 10 x 10 (the upper size limit of the space I'm willing to maintain).

I was super big into square foot gardening last year and still am, in theory. I had no weeds at all last year, but virtually no tomatoes, either. That could have something to do with slug plague of Biblical proportion, or the fact that I forgot to water the garden for... um... a few weeks. Well, I didn't forget -- I just didn't want to turn on the hose because it was surrounded by Immature Radioactive Samurai Slugs.

(Sorry. I grew up on Tiny Toons.)

This year, armed with a carton of salt, I'm going to give it another go.

So here's my question. Besides the non-negotiables (tomatoes, peppers, herbs, and radishes... can't get enough of those radishes), what should I pare my garden fantasies down to?

If you say eggplant, I will delete your comment. Just kidding. Maybe.

36 comments:

Jennie C. said...

What's the matter with eggplant?! I've got a thing for Brussels sprouts, too, but those go in in the fall. :-)

Katherine said...

I'd love to have onions. They are good with so much!

My grandfather grows awesome tomatoes. He said part of his secret was planting egg shells (or was it the whole egg?) in the soil around them.

Hoping your garden is slug free!

Marie said...

I am going with anything that will freeze well. Things you can throw in a siplock and put in the freezer..assuming you have a big freezer, that is..Zucs are mandatory for us..love them in anything, but smothered in butter with a few spices is just God's gift. I am debating corn here...I wish I knew if we were going to get rain this year..I may have to look into that good ole Farmsers Almanac..Corn does not do well here w/o rain. I am really looking forward to gardening this year. Lasst year, the twins were born on Monday of Holy Week, and we were just not up to a garden..They were a whole new world to us! So, this year, we have our manure pile ready to be spread, the seeds ready to go, and now we just wait for TIME! Need more of it..Hopefully, with the time change, it will help out and we will have more daylight at night..Good luck, and let us know what you decide.

Judee said...

Okra is a must have for us. By putting it in the freezer we enjoy it year round.

Farmer's City Wife said...

I love Brussels sprouts, but eggplant is bitter wilty slimy flavorless tofu ick. I've tried so many times to like it, but I've never been able to swallow.

Celeste L Behe said...

FCW, I beg to differ! I think eggplant is infinitely easier to swallow than, say, rapini.
Ooh, just the name of that stuff makes me shudder. Gives vegetables a bad name, that's what.

Molly said...

CUCUMBERS! I've never grown asparagus, but I heard it's fun to grow. I think it takes a few seasons before it really gets going though. I was hoping to get a garden in this year (we moved into this new house last spring) but I'm not sure it's going to happen. So many projects, so little time.

amy hess said...

47 vegetables? i don't know if i can list that many! hm....but your post does get me itching to plan my own garden here soon!

Kathryn said...

You simply must have peas! I'd recommend a favorite, but the ones I use are from a line of family heirloom ones that came over from Poland with my Great-Great-Grandmother. Actually, come to think of it, I have a ton of the seeds and wouldn't mind sharing.

Masha said...

Time to plant?! We still have two feet of snow on the ground. I envy you, enjoy the planting!

Farmer's City Wife said...

Yeah, the prices of onions have doubled this year in our area. That should make the cut.

Egg shells? We've got tons of those around :).

Farmer's City Wife said...

Oh yes! Zucchini may be one of the vine plants to make it. I'm not much for crookneck (they taste great, just don't understand their charm I guess) but the little green batons are great.

Corn is amazing :). I hear it takes a lot of spraying, though, to keep it from being wormy.

Farmer's City Wife said...

Really? I love okra! We planted it last year but only got a few (?) pods (?) at a time... not enough to cook with but just enough to make me wish we'd planted more. I don't think we ended up eating any of it :(... I wish we'd frozen it before it went bad while waiting for more to ripen.

Farmer's City Wife said...

I've never had rapini before (broccoli rabe?). I've seen it in groceries and on Food Network a million times and always wondered what it tasted like. Maybe I'll trust your judgment on that ;).

Farmer's City Wife said...

Asparagus is a weakness of mine. I could live on it for a few weeks, I think :). Cucumbers are heavenly during the Summer; somehow I don't miss them in the Winter but I do look forward to them in the Summer :).

Farmer's City Wife said...

Two words: seed catalogs. :-D

Farmer's City Wife said...

I'll be in contact :).

Farmer's City Wife said...

Holy macaroni, two feet? Snow ice cream is good :).

Haus Frau said...

47 vegetables and 12 herbs...only? ;) I'm with you, but not quite to those numbers. I know we're going to plant the blueberry bushes we bought last week, and then there's a bed already planned for tomatoes and bell peppers. I brought over my garlic plants from the old garden (they survived, and are thriving now that they are out of harm's way--i.e. my digging happy sons). The rest is a hazy dream of flourishing pea vines, zucchini, cukes, carrots, lettuce, and pumpkins with mint and basil thrown in for good measure. I even bought a terra cotta pot today that has "basil" printed on it, for goodness' sake!

Garden dreams are the best.

patty said...

Onions are one of our favorite crops, but that is probably partially due to the fact that we grow them from seed so they are like our little babies. My husband goes down to the storage room where they're under lights and pets them each day. (I'm not kidding. It makes their stalks strong since they're not moving around in the sun.) We also love our potatoes. And our basil. Oh my goodness, may I highly recommend Mexico Midgets (seedsavers.org). Popped into your mouth right off the vine...heavenly. Our strawberries are no doubt another fave. Can you tell I'm dreaming of spring? We have another month until we plant out, but we've got several things started indoors.

Farmer's City Wife said...

Ah, this garden scheming and dreaming is so fun, isn't it?? I haven't done carrots before, so hopefully that'll be a new one this year for us. Peas are sooo good, I don't know if I can do without them (plus, after they're done in early Spring, something else can be planted in their place).

Garlic, hm? My neighbor gave me some garlic to plant last year but I thought it too intimidating. Is it hard to grow?

Farmer's City Wife said...

LOL, I did the same with my tomato plants last year (fanned them with newspaper to simulate wind) and I ended up babying all but 2 to death! Aaargh!

Potatoes are a great dream of mine. I love different kinds of potatoes (especially Yukon, Fingerlings and those funky dark purple little ones) but they're so expensive.

I'll have to look up Mexico Midgets.

Oh, and strawberries! I want to order 200 of 'em, but I don't have enough room (unless I dedicate my whole backyard to strawberries, which might not be such a bad idea).

Annie said...

Snow peas, bush or pole beans, cantaloupe, strawberries, watermelon & corn are staples in our garden (besides tomatoes, naturally!). Two years ago we planted cherry trees and blueberry bushes that made me very happy except that deer would attack them when we would leave town with our dogs. :( I also love plant sunflowers at the ends of each row!

Farmer's City Wife said...

I hope I have some successful cantaloupe this year! I really love the stuff but I don't know if they will ever thrive in our area... same thing with blueberries.

I think I'd have venison stew if deer attacked my hard-effort garden ;).

Charlotte B. said...

One of my personal favorites is basil! We like to make pesto with it, but you can use it for other tasty dishes as well. We freeze it during the winter.

Haus Frau said...

No, garlic is not hard to grow at all, which is why I've so far succeeded. ;) I was inspired to try from this article: http://www.organicgardening.com/learn-and-grow/garlic-buried-treasure I used a regular elephant garlic from the local grocers and now have seven starts. :)

Farmer's City Wife said...

Me too! I tried it last year and got about 6 leaves. Blah! But I'm definitely trying again this year :).

Farmer's City Wife said...

Fascinating! I guess I'm too late for this season, but this Fall... :)

Carley Sanchez said...

I can lurk no longer! I would suggest NOT putting your tomato plants in your square foot garden! I did that last year and they 'each' took up the whole 4 x 4 plot, totally killed out a lot of onions, carrots, you name it...things that like sun. I am putting them in an old pot on the patio this year.

You HAVE to do potatoes! When you buy the seed potatoes, you will be surprised how far one can go. I have also used potatoes that were sprouting in the pantry. They say not to do that, because you can get diseases (not human, potato skin, or something), but I didn't have any trouble. As for cost, I think I spent maybe $4 and was able to plant 16 plants. We were able to eat potatoes for a couple months about twice a week. I would like to be able to store more, so I will actually plant them a couple layers deep this year, so I will need more seed potatoes. I think they are my favorite; they come up first and are so fun to dig up...not to mention delicious! Garlic is also really fun, and easy. It also goes a long way.

I have tried a few times to grow watermelon and cantaloupe...unsuccessfully. We just have such a short growing season, you probably don't get frost as early as we do a couple hours east :) It actually frosted last year, at my house, in August! I am still upset about it. I actually had a full-blown tantrum that morning...not my best moment :(

Have you tried saving seeds? I am giving that a try this year. I will keep you posted :)

Farmer's City Wife said...

Yay! Thanks for coming out of the shadows, Carly :-D.

Okay, you've convinced me. I put potatoes on the list :).

And as sad as it is, I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who can't seem to master the watermelon/cantaloupe up here. They do so well in certain other parts of the country ;), but not here so much.

No... I really want to start saving seeds ('cause I hate the expense each year) but I don't know how. Please do keep us posted on that!

Becky said...

I can't believe you are planting...we are still buried in snow. Our cul-de-sac has a mountain 15 feet high of snow in the middle of it. My husband is an avid gardener, and feeds our family of eight from a small garden plot by successive plantings. With a small plot, I would recommend high producers relative to plant size....green beans are great (french or purple are wonderful); swiss chard is a family staple in our house (it produces all summer vs spinach which bolts right away) and is SO nutritious...we eat it almost every meal; beets are another winner...long refrigerator life, the greens are awesome on pizza with garlic and shrimp, and there are so many varieties (pink, yellow, that are sweeter and less "beet" taste if you prefer that); we tried shallots last year and they are my new FAVE; we do a lot of lettuce in the spring, but with slugs I don't recommend that for you; lots of other veggies are great too, like brussel sprouts, melons, etc, but you would have to have some other place for them as they are space hogs. We grow our cucumbers on our metal fence. I am getting hungry just writing this...I am SO tired of frozen grocery veggies by now!

Farmer's City Wife said...

Beets!! Something I never would have thought of! I love the canned ones but have to ruefully admit I've never had a "real" one.
And I've also never had swiss chard. Does it taste like spinach? I really like spinach (raw and cooked). Can you eat it raw or does it have to be cooked?

Becky said...

Swiss chard has a stronger green taste than spinach, but much milder than kale (which we also grow, for use raw in salads when the shoots are tender and small, and for an awesome barley/sausage soup I created). Many recipes recommend sauteing the chard with garlic, but I tend to like my vegetables as close to natural as possible, with no added fat (sweet corn the exception, oh my). I cook it in about an inch of water, added more leaves as the ones in the pot wilt. My kids also love it chopped and added to chicken soup. It complements tomato based meals like spaghetti. Harvest it by removing the large outer leaves, rather than cutting all the leaves of a plant. We have tried many different varieties, if you decide you want to try it, I can recommend some. Happy planting!

Farmer's City Wife said...

Thank you so much for the information! Come to think of it, I think my father-in-law does grow swiss chard in his garden. Space is severely limited this year in our garden, so I'll swipe some from him this year and if I love it (which by your description it sounds like I will) we'll make room for it next year :).
I never would have thought of adding it to tomato based stuff, but golly you're making me hungry now!

Becky said...

Speaking of slugs....if we must......I used to have the nasties invading my lettuce and probably even ate a few along the way, until my husband made a couple of changes in the garden. Maybe some of what we did will apply to you, maybe not. He used to use grass clippings between the rows to keep down weeds, but besides making me practically insane from trying to get all the grass off the lettuce, it was a nice summer retreat for the pesky things. So we ditched that idea, and also moved the lettuce to the other side of the garden, because the original spot was next to the row of hostas (oh, a slug's Old Country Buffet!). I haven't had a problem since. So maybe there is something nearby encouraging your little uninvited guests to linger on?

I realized I didn't fully answer your swiss chard question, even though I was plenty long-winded: no, you can't eat it raw. Well, you can, and do if you are one of my kids roaming the garden, but I wouldn't recommend it personally.

Farmer's City Wife said...

LOL! Good to know about eating Swiss chard raw, and that hostas are a slug's delight ;).
Maybe we do have a slug-attractor nearby. They just seem to love strawberries and tomatoes. I think a better staking-system (so that no tomato touches the ground) might help us with the tomatoes, and maybe picking the strawberries immediately (rather than letting a few over-ripen) might help a bit. We'll reinvestigate and post updates this Summer :).

Thanks for your helpful comments, Becky!

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