As has become our tradition, we spent Mother’s Day in the garden. Grant and I had prepped the beds a few days before – Grant dumping in compost and broadforking (I need to have Grant write a separate post about his broadfork – I think he has a crush on it by the way he talks about it) it into the beds, me evening things out once he was finished. On Mother’s Day, we planned and planted the seeds and the starts that we had started.
We rotated beds based on last year’s notes, so that we weren’t repeated the same things in the same beds (yay for remembering where I actually put my notes from last year!). Our starts didn’t do great this year, so we bought a few at Urban Farmer Seeds, the farmer’s market, and at the master gardener plant sale. We always have some “renegades,” as Grant calls them come back from last year’s compost. We’ve found that those things make for the best producing plants. I imagine it’s a survival of the fittest thing or something (especially after this year’s winter).
Even though I have no artistic ability whatsoever, I like to draw out our plan for the beds. I usually go through about three or four drafts because I screw up as I go. I like to draw out the general, big picture plan for the whole garden first, and then I get down to the nitty-gritty with what goes in each square. I’ve found My Square Foot Garden to be an invaluable resource. I have the book too, but I find My Square Foot Garden’s website so quick and easy.
We like the square foot method for our beds, but I don’t like stringing the beds because the strings seem to get all tangled as the plants get big. This year, I grabbed a few of those paint stirrer sticks from Lowe’s when we were there buying stuff for our new tomato watering system (post and details coming soon). I would have grabbed a few more, but the man working there gave me a bit of the stink eye. I had just bought some spray paint to use out at the Project Eden Gardens, so I held that up to him to show that I wasn’t just stealing paint sticks without buying anything even though spray paint obviously doesn’t need stirring. Anyway, maybe just grab a handful the next time you paint something so you won’t get in trouble. Grant dabbed a little wood glue on each corner, let them set out for the evening, and then we used them the next day. I really liked this method, but I would like it even more with an even four squares to use.
We’re using these tomato cages because they worked so well last year, but we’re spacing them a little better this year. We’re hoping to get more production out of them by giving them a bit more space to breathe (and so they have to share less when it comes to the nutrients from the soil).
I planted our potatoes in pots again because I liked that method so well last year. I need to get my hands on some larger pots though, so that the potatoes have a bit more room. I figured I could transplant the potatoes into them once I find some, so I went ahead and started with the pots from last year.
We’ve noticed that we have so many frogs and strange insects in our yard. Our hypothesis is that it’s because we don’t use any chemicals in the yard/garden. J definitely enjoys exploring the many critters that we come across!
What are you doing in your garden? Any news strategies or tricks for this year? Share them in the comments!