Friday, December 31, 2010
Ending The Garden Year - Starting the Garden Year
We are shrinking our gardens substantially this coming season and my goal will be to become the most efficient gardener I can be. I don't know about everyone else, but Rob and I really suffered in this past summer's heat. With luck, this coming year will reward us with beautiful, gentle summer months but, regardless, I find I just can't work in the heat like I used to. (How on earth we worked in hot high tunnels in the summer months when we had our plant nursery, I can not now imagine.)
So, most of the 12 4'x8' raised beds will be taken out. After ten years, the landscape timbers have gradually softened and rotted away on the bottom. Rather than rebuilding, we are removing. I've gotten good enough at timing my crop rotations that we are really using only about half of them for veggie crops - the others are "permanent" berry and asparagus plantings which can now go in ground.
I've refined my veggie gardening to those things that I really, really feel I grow better than my farmstand neighbors and those things, like fresh tomatoes and lettuce, that are simply The Best when picked from one's own garden just before eating. As for the rest of the crops, like corn, potatoes, melons and.... zucchini... neighbor-friends that I enjoy are supporting their families and putting their kids through college on those veggies and I am now happy to buy from them. And have you noticed what a new wealth of vegetables varieties the local farmstands and farmers markets now supply? It's the result of new, imaginative shoppers who are supporting our local farmers as they expand into more varied "gourmet" varieties of vegetables and fruits! How cool is that?
All annual plantings possible - well, reasonable - are moving into the gardens around the house. I'm even relocating a couple of raised beds smack into the ornamental gardens. I've been teaching and practicing this technique for several years but am finally making the full commitment.
If you haven't been inspired by reading (or looking at the pictures - we all know how gardeners are) in Rosalind Creasy's Edible Landscaping books, you'll get inspired by this short article: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/home_blog/2010/11/rosalind-creasy-edible-landscaping-1.html
This is the author who first got me planting cabbages in the flower bed.
I also love this book: Edible Estates: Attack on the Front Lawn. What a hoot! There are so many wonderful edible gardening books - I practically force them on any newbie gardeners who come to the Pungo-Blackwater library. And if you haven't checked the local libraries in the last few years, you will be awed by the number of gardening, homesteading, chicken-raising, home power and all kinds of self-sufficiency books they now stock (or at least that the VB public libraries carry). Popular demand, once again!
Anyhow, enough rambling. What are you going to change in 2011? New varieties? New gardens?
It's all amazing fun, isn't it?
Happy, happy New Gardening Year!
PS - And this year I really AM resolved that I WILL get my sugar pod peas in early enough but not so early that they don't start well. You can be my witnesses..... Every year it seems I'm frustrated in one direction or the other - if only our spring weather would be consistent ...... :D