Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Planning This Year's Garden

According to The Old Farmer's Almanac Frost Chart for United States, April 22 was the last frost date for our area...which means it's time to get planting! I probably should already have started seedlings for some plants--I'm not very good at knowing when to plant things--but I should be able to plant early crops now, like beets and carrots and lettuce and such.

I've tilled through the garden once during one of the warmer dry spells we had recently, tilling in some organic mushroom compost and tilling under the newspaper shred and grass clippings from last year. The dirt looks better than last year; I hope it is. Enough rabbits pooped in it during growing season that it should be fertilized pretty well.

I have all my seed packets, and then some. I bought the majority of my seeds from four sources this year: Seed Savers Exchange, Seeds of Change, Park Seed, and Ferry-Morse. I tried to select as many organic and heirloom types as possible for variety. So here's the rundown of what I plan to plant this year:

  • FM Organic Spinach, Bloomsdale, Long Standing
  • SOC Organic Red Oak Lettuce
  • SSE Grandpa Admire's Lettuce
  • SSE Flame Lettuce
  • SSE Red Romaine Lettuce
  • SSE Yugoslavian Red Lettuce
  • SSE Bloomsdale Spinach
  • SOC Organic Dukat Dill
  • SOC Organic Genovese Sweet Basil
  • SSE Cinnamon Basil
  • SSE Grandma Einck's Dill
  • SSE Giant Italian Parsley
  • PS Organic English Thyme
  • PS Organic Italian Oregano
  • PS Organic Parsley, Italian Flat Leaf
  • PS Organic Dill Bouquet
  • SOC Organic Peacevine Cherry Tomato
  • PS Organic Kellogg's Breakfast Tomato
  • PS Organic Cherokee Purple Tomato
  • PS Organic Cherry Sweetie
  • SSE Red Brandywine Tomato
  • SSE Martino's Roma Tomato
  • I'll also be planting tomatoes purchased from Richland Community College's horticulture program sale: Beefsteak, Best Boy, and Sun Sugar.
  • PS Organic Peppers, California Wonder
  • SSE Sweet Chocolate Peppers
  • SSE Napolean Sweet Pepper
  • SSE Bushy Cucumbers
  • SSE Double Yield Cucumbers
  • SSE Purple Podded Pole Bean
  • SSE Provider Bean
  • SSE British Wonder Pea
  • PS Organic Zucchini, Black Beauty (and no, I won't be planting 12 plants this year--only 2 or 3)
  • SOC Organic Turkish Orange Eggplant
  • PS Organic Eggplant, Black Beauty
  • PS Organic Radish Sparkler
  • SOC Organic Cherry Belle Radish
  • SSE Edmunds Blood Turnip Beet
  • FM Beet, Tall Top Early Wonder
  • SOC Organic Red Wethersfield Onion
  • PS Organic Carrot Nantes
  • PS Organic Okra Clemson
  • PS Organic Broccoli Raab
  • SSE Petite Yellow Watermelon
  • SSE Sunberry
Edible Flowers
  • SSE German Chamomile
  • SSE Arikara Sunflower
  • FM Organic Sunflower, Mammoth
As you can see, I have way too many seeds as usual. But I will plant a little bit of everything and see what happens! Every year is an experiment, and I learn a little more about what to do and what not to do. For instance, last year I learned that 12 zucchini plants were WAY MORE than a healthy-sized army could consume in a year, so I'll only be planting a few of those.

This year, I'll also plant marigolds and white alyssum to try to keep bugs away from some of the plants, and I'll probably plant some nasturtiums to add to salads. They're quite good, having a kind of peppery flavor.

So, there you have it. OCD kicks in again this gardening season. If you'd like to trade some seed varieties with me, let me know asap before I plant them all!