Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Garden

I'm VERY excited about my garden this year. Even though it was only a month or so ago that I was complaining that the stupid garden wouldn't die. Can you believe that John and I just finished up the last of the tomatoes this week? Craziness!

So this year I decided to do a TON of research on veggies that do well in the heat. Last year my biggest struggle was keeping the stupid plants alive during the opressive heat. Because it was so hot NOTHING was producing so it was really hard to be motivated about it.

I'm also building a small raised bed (4x4, maybe 4x8) in the backyard. We're going to have to fence it in to keep the dogs out and John's going to put in some paving stones so when it's muddy I can still get back there. Plus we're going to put it right smack in the dog path - dog owners you know this - the route your dogs take every day that causes no grass to grow and turns into a giant mud pit when even the tiniest bit of moisture is in the air. Hopefully the paving stones will help with muddy paws. I'm still going to do some things in containers, but will probably put them out by the raised bed. I have Square Foot Gardening on hold at the library. If I get it in the next week or so I may give this a try.

Another thing I'm trying this year is companion planting. There are plants that are beneficial to one another if grouped together. A big thing that I want to try this year is adding nasturtium around the squash plants since it deters vine borers. Every time I planted new squash plants they were attacked so I really want to see if this will help ward them off. Marigolds are also supposed to be beneficial, but they do attract spider mites which killed my cucumber plants. So I might do marigolds on one side of the bed with nasturtium on the other. You can also eat both the leaves and flowers of nasturtium and make some great salads. I may also throw in a couple of sunflowers since the bed will be right next to the fence. Lavendar is also a great deterrant (fleas, which we currently spray the yard for) and I may try them in contrainers around the yard and see what that does rather than spraying. Sunflowers, lavendar, and marigolds all keep alway whiteflies (which went after my tomato plants, but never caused damage) and aphids which got my pepper plants in the end.

So what am I growing this year? Well I did some research on different seed sites as well as through the Aggie Exentension program to see what grows well in the Texas heat. Here's what I've decided on:

Contender Bush Bean - I rather not have to string up beans so I went with the bush variety. These are also early producers so hopefully they will produce before they succumb to the heat.

Rio Grande Roma Tomatoes - these are determinate meaning they set all their fruit at once. I'll probably do two rounds of these and make tomato sauce one round and salsa the next.

Atkinson Tomato - these will be my big slicing tomatoes and are indeterminate.

Emerald Giant Bell Pepper - I chose this variety because while my pepper plants did well last year, I never got big bell peppers. Hopefully these will give me the size that I'm looking for.

Shishito Pepper Rare Seeds sent me this as a bonus with my order. I'm only doing one plant since I know nothing about it.

A note on the above seeds - they're all heirloom variety which means they aren't modified in any way to be disease resistant. It's not that I was looking for that particular attribute with the seeds, but these were the varieties that were recommended, the price was right on the seed packets and so that's what I ended up with.

Jalepeno - I'll probably just buy a small plant for this. It'll be great for when I make salsa.

Salad Bowl lettuce and Black Seeded Simpson - these will be in containers or around the tomato plants. I'm going to start them a week apart so that I can pick from one plant one week and the other the next. I'll probably do a fall planting as well.

Cucumber Bush Champion - I wanted a bush variety last year and couldn't find one. I'm starting this from seed so we'll see how it goes. At least I won't have crazy cucumber vines everywhere again. This is a slicing cucumber.

Butterstick Zucchini - this produces squash on a zucchini type plant. We'll see how it goes. It got some great reviews.

Zucchini - I'm growing this again (the green kind, not the yellow), but haven't been able to find seeds that I want. I may just try with the kind that I already have. These did better than my squash plants and were probably held back by the vine borers.

Onion - I have no idea what variety they are aside from white. We'll see how they do. Just thought this one would be fun.

I am thinking of strawberries. They have a little package in stores right now of ten plants. I've just read that they can take a few seasons to really produce and they need a lot of room. Maybe in our next house - you know the one that will have a big yard.

So there are the garden plans for the year! I really like the concept of square foot gardening and it would allow me to fit a lot more into a small space. We'll see how it works out!

3 comments:

  1. I wish we'd had squash/zucchini in our garden last year but we didn't. So many things to do with that!!! Good luck Faith and keep us posted!

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  2. You've got me inspired to redo our garden. I may have to check out that book too! Good luck!

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  3. I want to garden so bad . . . I'll be lucky if I get flowers in this year!

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