I originally blogged this post in February 2012 and have gone back to the information recently so what perfect inspiration for a throwback Thursday?.
I haven’t been blogging very much in the past couple of weeks. Things have been busy! Work is busy, kids are busy and life is busy…you know the drill.
A good three to four feet of snow is piling up on the ground here in Western Qc. One of the latest chores is scraping some of the load of snow off the roof. This is definitely a country chore. My husband, a townie, had never heard of the concept of having to take snow off the roof. However, having grown up in Northern Ontario, I remember my father periodically scraping the snow off the roof. This chore was no more exceptional to us than taking out the trash. It sucks but it needs to be done or you have a mess on your hands.
Now, naturally, all this snow inspires me to contemplate our next gardening season. After all, the best garden is always the garden you are planning!
As I mentioned in a previous post, I have received my seed catalogues and have thoroughly thumbed through them. One is quite dog-eared by the bath-water-wet hands!
I recently conversed with by bbf (Hey you! You’re awesome!) about her new garden in her new house and gave her a few tips. I was surprised how quickly I rhymed off some of the info. It seems that those soaks in the tub have helped all that garden information sink into my brain! It occurred to me that this would make some good information to pass on in a blog post.
My biggest and best tip is soooo simple yet soooo important: Grow what you like.
I know it sounds silly. But every person who has planted a garden will tell you that they planted something because they WANTED to like it. It always turns out to be a disappointment. For example, I would really love to like radishes. They are simple to grow, you can plant multiple crops over the season, they look cute AND planting radishes with your cucumbers helps with pest control. But you know what: no matter how much I WANT to like them. I. just. don’t. They taste like pepper to me and I really cringe at the texture. If I do manage to get a chicken coop and egg chickens this year, I may throw some in and feed it to the chickens. But otherwise? complete waste of manure. And I don’t mean that in a tongue in cheek way, manure IS a gardener’s gold.
All that to say. Grow what you either like to eat, look at or smell. Gardening is hard work and takes commitment. Don’t waste your time with something that doesn’t give you joy.
A few more practical tips are:
Either get indeterminate tomato seeds or plant a few one week and then a week or two later, plant more. Otherwise they will all ripen at the same time.
Cucumbers are easy but sprawl. Peas grow up usually, not out, so you could put those in the garden along the edge (where they won’t shade other things) and put the cukes by the fence where you can tie them up a bit and keep them off the ground. Just a thought.
Leaf lettuce and herbs are super easy. Lasagna gardening is great for these because they require no weeding with that method and since they don’t root deeply – you don’t have to make a really deep layer bed.
There are lots of different kinds of beans. Some are better for eating and some are better for canning/freezing. Bush beans ripen all at once, usually used for freezing or canning. Pole beans produce continuously, usually better for eating as the season progresses.
Radishes are really easy. Plant them in combo with cukes and they help with the bugs that like cukes. They will probably be the first thing to harvest along with lettuce.
Carrots needs GOOD soil and not clay or rocky or they will be all crooked or you just may not get any at all. If you don’t have good soil, consider the container varieties. Cute and they taste good too.
Green onions are easy but need thinning (so do carrots).
Garlic is a bit harder. More rotting issues. Should usually be planted late fall. You might be able to do it early spring if you get the right variety.
Raspberries come in canes and produce fruit on the second year. They take a bit of pruning, training, etc so look for an easy to manage types. I think there are a type or two that MIGHT fruit in the first year, but they are always best in the second year.
Rotate crops. Don’t grow the same crops in the same place every year. This helps control diseases and different crops suck different nutrients out of the soil. Rotating helps to avoid depleted soil.
Hmmm. There is definitely some kind of life lesson somewhere in that soil sucking part but I am too busy up to the top of my winter rubber boots in snow to make a snarky comment. I am counting on my sister to come up with a zinger for me. Like any good sister should; she regularly contributes sarcasm and good photography to my blogging efforts.