Hi, I’m here to discuss my garden again! Sorry I didn’t provide any updates last year, but I have a really good excuse… Last March, my baby daughter was born! Since I was going to miss the early part of the planting season, I decided to let my garden go a little feral. Now that things are a little more routine, and I really want my daughter to grow up loving the outdoors, we’re going big this year!
Getting the Garden Ready
Because we took a year off, there was actually quite a bit we had to do to get our garden ready. Firstly, we had to weed the beds we had! The squirrels did a great job of planting things from the previous year, so we actually got quite a few peas, cherry tomatoes, and cinnamon basil. Potatoes always come back because you always miss at least one when you’re harvesting.
Our strawberry bed also became overrun with wild strawberries, so we spent quite a bit of time thinning out that bed and leaving only the strawberries we wanted.
We also needed to cut down our hop vines from the previous year that had, of course died. Some things, like clover, we kept as a ground cover, and we’ll keep those there until it’s time to plant.
However, due to a large project in our front yard, we had a lot of 1/3 compost mix soil, and we used the leftover soil to top off our backyard beds. Any of the beds we topped off we weeded thoroughly and removed any pine straw that had collected there. Before we plant, we will mix up the soil a little better. Right now, the fresh good soil is sitting on top and the nutrients seep down into the rest of it.
Front Yard Garden!?!
This year, we started a long-desired project of getting rid of our front yard lawn and putting in a garden and various flowering plants. Stage one of that project is adding a new fenced in garden with ample garden beds for sun-loving plants. We’ll be growing corn, watermelon, pumpkins, bush peas, and herbs in that garden.
All I have left is putting top bars on the fence, adding two archways, and adding irrigation. This garden actually has special drainage because water normally pooled in that part of my yard anyway. Once I add irrigation, I need to move the runoff even more thoroughly. When I add the irrigation, I’ll be connecting this drainage to my existing French drain system.
Got to get everything done by March/April!
What We’re Planting This Year
Like I said, we’re planning on going big this year. The front yard garden adds about 250 square feet of garden space to our roughly 800 square feet.
In the front yard, we’re planning on planting the following:
- Bush Peas
- Bush Cucumbers
In the backyard, we’re planning on planting the following:
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Slicer Tomatoes
- Bell Peppers
- Jalapeno Peppers
- Banana Peppers
- Red Potatoes
- Green Onions
- Sugar Snap Peas
- Tom Thumb Peas
- Green Beans
- Buttercrunch Lettuce
That’s a big list, so I need to be organized this year. First and foremost, I need to know when to start each of these plants. Some plants, like radishes, have to be planted where they’ll end up. Therefore, they don’t have a lot of steps.
I’ll also need to create a calendar of when I need to fertilize and treat for pests. I use only organic fertilizers and pesticides so I’m not creating a health problem for myself or any beneficial insects. For example, I use neem oil to prevent aphids instead of a chemical treatment.
I do as many seed starters in my garage before the last frost date. That way, I can plant more mature seedlings directly into my garden giving me a longer fruit bearing season. For example, I plant my pepper plants in January and Tomato plants in March.
Keep in mind I start my seed starters a little earlier so that I can write these articles. Usually my plants are ready to be transplanted well before the last frost date, so I move them in and out of my garage so they can harden but not freeze.
By this point, you should have decided what you’re growing and have all of your seeds. If you don’t, get on that! I’ve gotten all of my earliest seed starters going. I’ve even started some herbs that didn’t need to be started just yet.
January through March you’re going to get as many seed starters going as you want and get your garden beds ready. Unless you have a good reason, you shouldn’t disturb your soil until you’re ready to plant. Certain beneficial insects live in your soil and under your ground cover over the winter. Let them keep sleeping for now.
You should fix any broken beds and determine if you need soil additives. Get everything ready because once planting season starts, you get busy!
In March, you’re going to still be doing seed starters, but you’ll also start planting certain cold tolerant plants outdoors like some peas, broccoli, and leafy greens.
April is our main planting month! Block out your weekends if you have a lot to plant! And let’s hope for good weather!
Not a lot gets planted in May, but you’ll finish up your planting and take care of the plants you’ve put in your garden. Think about adding mulch to retain moisture when the weather gets warmer.
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