“Vegetable gardens, rightly viewed, are much more than food factories. They are magic places, little worlds set apart from other domestic or horticultural concerns, realms of peace and order.” ~Joe Eck and Wayne Winterrowd
I love this thought about veg gardens….‘realms of peace and order’. Although they can be realms of chaos and angst, if invaded by critters who want to feed on it as much as I do. But excluding these invaders or early frost or even drought, I still love to think of my veg garden as a place of solace.
Where pollinators fly about, and leave me special presents of fruit and vegetable. I have learned that nature will deal me all sorts of obstacles, but I have found ways to combat them, and still find pleasure in this miracle place; where seed grows into a juicy tomato or a deep purple beet.
Usually during February, I am buried under many feet of snow, and dreaming of my veg garden. It is a perfect time for me to plan the garden; what I am growing, where each crop will be placed this year, what flowers and herbs will be interplanted, and when I am starting some seeds indoors. All carefully planned to maximize the short growing season, and space available.
This February began masquerading as March. Now we are buried again with 3 more feet of snow, and bitter cold temps dipping to -20F. But this weather will shift again, and warm a bit. such is the winter we are having.
I am becoming a bit anxious to start my veg garden. But I know never be fooled by these early warm spurts. My last frost date is the most reliable factor to influence my garden plans. Although it can never hurt to start cool weather veggies early under a protective cover, if the weather is cooperating. I will have to wait and see what March holds for the garden.
So let’s see what I have planned for this year’s veg garden……
It may be a little hard to read the details, but you can click on the picture to enlarge it. I thought I would focus on what I am changing this year?
- We are reclaiming the back 4×4 ft bed from the blackberry canes. I moved the blueberry bushes and strawberry plants, also in this bed, (not thriving much) to a holding bed. We will line this bed with screening and landscape fabric like we did to the Pea/Bean bed last year (see inset photo). The we will fill it with new organic soil, and plant all our greens, and some herbs early in spring. It will be covered to protect it from early frosts, and to keep out the pesky Cabbage White or Pieris rapae butterflies, who will want to use the kale as a host plant. This will be our first garden chore as soon as the weather allows.
2. The blueberries and strawberries will go into a new bed sandwiched between the reclaimed bed and the large bed near the gazebo. I have to first clear out the few plants and bulbs that are growing in this area. That’s our second garden chore.
3. We decided to grow only 4 bags of blue potatoes, and use the other 4 bags, we used for potatoes last year, for growing more onions this year. We use more onions, and they are so easy to grow. So this year we are growing yellow and red onions in bags and large containers.
4. The best plans are always open to changes. And not one day after I finalized my plans, I found I needed to make changes to it. I was hoping to move the cucumbers (cukes) from the Pea/Bean bed giving the cukes more room in the new portable bed (pictured below) on the patio. But I read that cukes growing too close to potatoes (also on the patio), can cause blight in the potatoes.
5. So not wanting to chance it, I decided to grow peas in the portable bed and only half a trellis of peas in the Pea/Bean bed. That gives me room for cukes farther away from the potatoes. And I might add yellow summer squash here once the peas are done producing.
Also in this bed will be 2-3 tomatillo plants and the green chiles.
5. Radishes will once again be started early in the pea bed before the beans. I am adding spinach to this bed with the radishes. Once they are finished, the garden will be warm enough for bush and pole beans to be planted.
6. You may remember I planted more garlic this year, an extra half a bed (4×4 ft) more reducing our area for beets (foliage picture at top of post) and carrots. And more garlic means more garlic scapes (inset picture) to cut and eat. I will still grow the squash up and over this bed with the extra garlic, beets and carrots; half zucchini and half Delicata squash. And I am planning to try parsnips, thanks to Pam@Pam’s English Cottage Garden, who highly recommends growing and eating them.
7. The last change will be growing celery in the reclaimed Greens bed instead of in the red bucket containers we used last year. I hope by growing them in a bit more shade, we may get a better harvest. I want to use the red buckets to grow hot peppers on a sunny spot on our porch far away from the sweet peppers.
I also plan to use my Seeding Square a lot more this year. I really loved the result of planting my seeds in a square. I had a great harvest and utilized precious garden space more efficiently with the Seeding Square. You can now buy the Seeding Square on Amazon USA or Amazon Canada with free shipping.
So that about sums it up for the veg garden plans this year. I think I have it down to a pretty consistent plan now, where I can easily move crops around the beds, and add new veggies to try each year. I look forward to getting seeds started both indoors and outdoors soon. The taste of my own organic produce can’t be beat, and for me is worth the work and care needed to create my ‘realm of peace and order’; aka, the veg garden.
Have you begun to plan your garden or veg garden? What are you looking forward to growing this year?
In A Vase On Monday
My first Paperwhites are blooming, and I thought I would use them in a Valentine’s Day vase. My Belleek vase, with a pale pink heart, is perfect for this arrangement. The Paperwhites pictured here are, ‘Ariel’. Big bulbs, big flower heads, lots of buds and a fast grower.
I reused the boxwood foliage and Swamp Rose hips from my holiday vase. And I also reused red twig dogwood limbs I also previously used in a vase. I cut them down a bit, to fit into this vase, and to frame the Paperwhites.
I am joining in with a few memes this week as I prepare this vase: Cathy@Rambling in the Garden for her wonderful meme, In a Vase on Monday, Today’s Flowers hosted by Denise@An English Girl Rambles and Judith@Lavender Cottage who hosts Mosaic Monday.
Next up on the blog:
Monday, I will have another native plant profile. I hope you will join me.
I am linking in with Michelle for her Nature Notes meme at her blog, Rambling Woods. It is a great way to see what is happening in nature around the world every Monday.
I am also joining in I Heart Macro with Laura@Shine The Divine that happens every Saturday.
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