Monday, March 9, 2009

How Does Your Garden Grow?

I grow a few vegetable plants every summer. In years past, my "garden" consisted of tomatoes (slicing, Roma, and grape) and peppers (green, red or yellow, and hot). Every few years I mix it up and add something else. One year it was zucchini, and last year eggplant. About six years ago I got really exotic and grew garlic. I also keep pots of chives, basil, oregano, and parsley on the deck so I can get to them easily when I'm cooking.

It's nice seeing the plants grow and harvesting the results of my work. I've been thinking about expanding my selection of plants, so today I planned a new vegetable garden.

I found a plethora of sources of information about garden planning; books from the library, magazine articles, and Google searches provided more information than I could ever possibly read. However, all of my sources agreed about a few things:
  • It's important to plant things that we actually like to eat.
  • I should organize the garden on paper first and
  • Plan on doing successive plantings of cool and warm season vegetables
The research suggested that a "small" garden would be 12 feet square. When I actually paced that off in the back yard, it seemed way too big; I don't want to spend the entire summer messing with plants! After some thought I decided to keep my plot in its current space, but triple it in size. That will minimize the amount of sod I have to remove and the amount of "West County clay" soil I have to improve. The rows will run north and south (east and west is generally considered more ideal) because of the slope of the yard. The plants I've grown there have traditionally gotten enough sun, though, so that shouldn't be a problem.

My plan is to start out the season with snow peas (growing up a trellis next to the deck) and lettuce. I may plant some carrots if the ground turns out not to be too rocky. After the weather warms up, the cool-weather veggies will come out and I'll add tomatoes, peppers, ONE zucchini plant, and perhaps an eggplant if they have them at the greenhouse. If the trellis turns out to be sturdy enough, I may try some beans.

I don't have to worry about Bambi lunching on the lettuce, but it's a yearly battle to keep the rabbits and squirrels from eating their fill, so there will be a fence around the whole thing!


  1. That is so cool! I have been wanting to plant a garden myself but it will be a box garden since we are in an apartment.

  2. You are making me miss my old garden...this will be my first summer entirely without it. We generally planted a buttload of tomatoes [yes, it's an official gardening term] and peppers and stuff like basil - nothing too crazy. Due to the pollution in Toronto we never had bugs...and the raccoons and squirrels are too well-fed from other sources!

  3. I plant a garden every year, but I find my soil only allows tomatos, cucumbers, and corn to thrive. (I know the corn is ready when the local racoons eat it and leave the empty cob on the back step.)

    This year I want to start improving the soil so that I can grow other things (like carrots).

  4. Good luck. Now that we are in a condo, I think I will do some big pots. I'm not sure what grows well at 6,500 ft, so I'll make friends with the local nursery. Update us on how yours is doing...