With spring break here, I thought this would be the best time to get started on our 2016 garden. By this time, I’ve usually got greens growing and stuff well underway. It’s been a bit of a busier year, so I’m just happy we got out there at all! The good news is that over the years, I’ve slowly added more perennials such as lavender, thyme, comfrey, and a smattering of berry plants so at least there are some green things and blossoms happening.
I thought I’d share with you what we’ve decided on growing this year, and why. It’s definitely scaled back from prior years, but I’m happy with our choices.
First, here’s a look at our plan (mind you, this is not to scale and I’m not a graphic designer!):
As I mentioned recently, we ended up placing a much-needed shed in the back of our garden. This meant having to remove two of our raised beds. Eventually, the plan will be to remove all the beds to create one, much larger growing space. However, it’s not in the budget this year so I’m making due with the reduced growing space.
The truth is, the reduction is forcing me to take a good, hard look at my growing choices.
Here’s what I came up with:
- We’re growing what we’ll actually eat. I hate beets and I hardly ate them the year we grew them. Same goes for rutabaga. I gave consideration to what I like to cook with and what I routinely buy at the store.
- I’m adding a lot of shade friendly edibles. The truth is our garden area has gotten shadier! Our neighbors on two sides of the fence have taller plants and trees growing that create a fair amount of shade in the garden. On one hand, it’s a bit upsetting because everyone knows you need full sun for the best possible garden. However, I’ve learned to be creative. Herbs and greens (think lettuce, kale, spinach) will appreciate and even thrive in the shadier spots come summer.
- We’re using a whole raised bed for flowers. Frivolous? Maybe. But my daughter just loves flowers. Loves. And she is one of my best garden helpers and flowers are her favorite thing to grow. The longer I’m at this gardening thing, the more I realize – a garden isn’t just there to save you money on food, it’s there for enjoyment. (At least, this is the case for me!)
Yesterday, we set out to plant the greens, carrots, and some herb starts I bought at Watson’s. Incidentally, I spent a total of $42 this year on seeds and plant starts. I may well spend a similar amount in a few weeks on some annuals (flowers) for some of the front beds and empty planters.
We also did some general tidying-up. Here’s my daughter “cleaning up” the raspberry bed. I had to move the raspberries from one of the back beds when it needed to get moved. I was pleased to see that they survived the move and are popping up! I also cleaned the hummingbird feeder and bird bath to make way for our bird friends.
What’s next on my to-do list?
- Continue the garden clean up. I still have some random planters and garden equipment that needs to be sorted and put away.
- More planting, next month. Once the danger of frost has passed, I’ll transplant my tomato, and direct sow our warm season fruits and veggies (beans, pumpkin, zucchini, and cantaloupe).
- Add annuals. Probably about the same time as I plant the warm season stuff, I’ll purchase and add some bright colored annuals to our front yard.
For more gardening posts, please see my gardening page!
Now it’s your turn: are you doing any gardening this week?