Garden Plan 2015

Someone asked in email about my current plan for this year, so here's the link:
Main Garden Plan 2015
of course this does not show anything for  small side garden, community garden or the CSA farm planting

SpringFest 2015

Snow is still on the ground, and to add to that frustration we just got alert for another snow storm that suppose to arrive tomorrow afternoon and dump anywhere between 3-6" of snow. Fun. Not.

But on a happier note, I went to the local SpringFest flower show that was all about flowers, designs, gardening and with promise of good things to come in next few weeks. So here are some snapshots of what they had in case of displays, flowers for sale, landscaping, innovative designs like vertical gardening as well as plenty of info and activities for everyone from kids to seniors.
There were also plenty of boutiques and antique decorations, giveaways like various flowers and veggie seeds, wine and jam/jelly tasting and of course lectures.
I was there as one of the helpers from Master Gardener group, and was on "seed docent" role - giving away seeds and answering any questions like "do deer eat them" or "will they grow in shade". It was fun actually to see how many people were interested in planting something for first time.

Planning a Garden

The work for the gardeners starts early in the season, even if it's still winter and the ground is covered in snow. First of all, detailed planning is an absolute "must to have" for a productive garden. As a gardener, we always want to plant more and harvest more, but if you don't plan carefully you might not get anything. Because if you plant sensitive plants too early in  a season, you're likely to lose crops to hard frost. Plant too late, and long-term vegetables like melons, winter squash, tomatoes and peppers will not have enough time to ripen in time. That's where the gardener's calendar comes in handy.  There are many resources available for the gardeners, from the Almanac to the web-based applications and simple spreadsheets. It's all about what works for you to organize it.  Some applications allow you to create a layout to see it visually what you can plant in the amount of space available in your garden, and also will show how many specific types of vegetables can fit into that space. It calculates based on the typical description of the selected vegetable - something that comes indicated on any seed packet you buy in store. Here is an example of my plan from last year, that shows the layout, what is being planted and provides information on when to plant each variety.

So as you can see, from the gardening perspective once it's all set in place and laid out, it's very easy to follow and keep it on schedule. It shows that should be planted inside, and what can wait to be sown directly outside. This way you won't miss planting time and minimize any risks in your gardens. But then of course, Mother Nature has plans of her own and we all must bow to her whimsy - like having 2 feet of snow on the ground in March :)

Tomato choices

It was finally time to chose tomatoes to plant, and after going through all my tomatoes I can clearly see that I have way too many seeds. So the full list is: 

TOMATO Amana Orange
TOMATO Ananas Noire or Black Pineapple
TOMATO Anna Russian
TOMATO Azoychka
TOMATO Black Cherry (from Dave)
TOMATO Black from Tula
TOMATO Black Giant
TOMATO Black Prince
TOMATO Bull's Heart
TOMATO Burpee Heirloom mix
TOMATO Carmello
TOMATO Chocolate Cherry  
TOMATO Chocolate Stripes
TOMATO Cosmonaut Volkov
TOMATO Early Roma
TOMATO Giant Oxheart
TOMATO Giant Pink Begium
TOMATO Grafted Brandywine Cherokee Purple
TOMATO Grafted Sweet Aperitif Sunsugar
TOMATO Grandma Oliver's Green
TOMATO Great White 
TOMATO Isis Candy Cherry
TOMATO JUNG Heirloom Mix
TOMATO Large Barred Boar
TOMATO Marmande
TOMATO Martino's Roma
TOMATO old German
TOMATO Orange Fleshed Purple Smudge
TOMATO Pink Brandywine
TOMATO Purple Calabash
TOMATO Red Brandywine
TOMATO Roma Organic
TOMATO Russian Rose
TOMATO San Marzano Lungo No. 2
TOMATO Sarah Black
TOMATO Sugar Sweetie (Cherry)
TOMATO Sungold Select II
TOMATO Super Beefsteak
TOMATO Super sweet 100 Hybrid (cherry)
TOMATO Sweet Million Hybrid (cherry)
TOMATO Ten Fingers of Naples 
TOMATO True Black Brandywine
TOMATO Vinson Watts (from Dave)
TOMATO Yellow Pear (cherry)
The ones I put in "bold" are my choices to plant at home garden - only 15 varieties.  Items that are crossed out are "give away" to others as I haven't been very happy with these varieties. The rest will have to be planted in community/farm areas as I simply won't have enough space at home. Hopefully this year will be good for them and no blight will demolish them as in the past. 

Planting Peppers for this year

So the seeds selected for this year peppers are:
Pepper - Aji Angelo hot pepper (C. baccatum) (from Dave)
Pepper - Aji Dulce #2 hot pepper (C. chinense) (from Dave)
Pepper - Alma Paprika
Pepper - California Wonder (sweet)
Pepper - Canary Bell 
Pepper - Chervena Chushka OG
Pepper - Chinese Giant - sweet red
Pepper - Chocolate Ghost
Pepper - Feher Ozon Paprika
Pepper - Golden Star 
Pepper - Habanero red
Pepper - Horizon Bell
Pepper - Italian Sweet
Pepper - Jalapeno Early - chile
Pepper - Jalapeno red
Pepper - Jepeto
Pepper - Jimmy Nardello's
Pepper - King Of The North
Pepper - Orange Bell
Pepper - Pepperoncini Italian
Pepper - Purple Beauty 
Pepper - Quadrato D'asti Rosso  (sweet red)
Pepper - Sweet Banana
Pepper - Sweet Chocolate
Pepper - Trinidad Perfume sweet pepper (Capsicum chinense) (from Dave)
Pepper - Yellow Monster

Think it's a bit much? And you'd be right. As I mentioned in previous posts, this year I'm trying some of the hybrids to see how they perform. For most of these peppers I'm planting them at the farm and the community garden. Only few will be planted at home for eating: Chervena Chushka, Aji Dulce, Sweet Chocolate, Purple Beauty, Orange Bell, Canary Bell and Quadro D'Asti.  These I know I want to keep for home daily cooking and eating. Hot peppers like Trinidad Perfume, Habanero and all halapenos will be all at the community.  Everything else I'll try to fit into the space on the farm. That's if I get to plant there of course as I'm waiting for details on what space I'll get to play with. And if not, I will donate all seedlings to the master gardener "teaching garden" for this year. Time will tell.

Planning for 2015 Garden Year

Happy New Year everyone! No, I didn't vanish off this earth quite yet :) Just took few month to rest during late fall/winter season when there's not much to do in terms of gardening. Given that we're up to our ears in snow and temperatures are below zero at night, we are every day slowly inching toward spring, and I do get the urge to get my paws into the soil or at least start planing for the new season. And first thing to start was to organize my mess of seeds, sort through what's usable and what's need replenishment. 
 Thankfully for me my hubby came to help - he looked at my table with piles of seeds last week and just shook his head. Then last night we got a package with organizing supplies - plastic sleeves for 3-ring binders.

So we sat down and I sorted, while he put the packets into sleeves and books to keep it all nice and clean. We finished 3 full books - one for all tomatoes, peppers, herbs and flowers. One for beans and peas (they do take a LOT of space with bulky seeds). And last but not least, all others in alphabetical order of course.
This way it will be much easier to do my planting - take the book I need to the garden and plan one variety of veg at the time without having a seed disaster all over the place. Plus it's so much easier to find things now - they are "tabbed" by groups so all lettuces and greens are together, all squashes together etc.  Now all I need to do is cross-check with my excel spreadsheet and update full list of what I'm going to plant in my garden and what will be planted at the community and the farm instead. This year I've added few new things that are "hybrids" that I'll be planting at the community - just to see how well they perform, and few newer types for the farm. The owner of the farm already asked if i wanted to expand my plantings since she's not likely to spend as much time as she'd want playing with it so I'm really looking forward to that experience. I want to put most of my peppers and tomatoes into the farm area, because the soil is just so much better. Plus if you read my previous posts on planting garlic - I took one of my long beds away from nightshades to give it a break.

How's your planning going for the new garden year? Stop by and share your comments :)

Planting Garlic

It's been raining for past 4 days and for a change it's a very good thing - ground has been overly dry and many lakes in the area much lower than I ever seen them in the past. But once it stopped, we went to work - got about 60 cubic feet (2.5 yards) of manure delivered on Saturday. So we spread them out in our large garden, my hubby tilled it all with old soil and then we raked it all smooth. Very tiring job spreading it all as it's very dense. But the mix came out pretty good. Hopefully it will improve production for next year once we start planting in spring. For now I redirected one of my long beds - 22 feet long, that I usually use for tomatoes and onions, to another use. I planted over 120 cloves of garlic planted, including:

  • Inchelium Red, 
  • Chesnock Red, 
  • German Porcelain, 
  • Ozark, 
  • Spanish Rojas, 
  • Vietnamese Red
  • New York White. 

I still have few heads of Music and Spanish Roja to put somewhere but not sure if I want it in  my garden. I might put some into the Community Garden for next spring. And yes, it's a lot of garlic, but my bed really needs a break from nightshade varieties. Maybe I'll add some squash later in June once I pull some of the earlier varieties out.

On not such a happy side, while we were preparing out garden for spring, our neighbor decided she didn't want to see our home from her window so she brought a landscaper with an excavator and planted two huge pine trees - they are expected to grow 40-60 feet tall easily. Right smack in front of our garden on the property line.  Effectively blocking all afternoon sun from my garden. I knew she hated to see my garden from the moment we build it (she never hid that opinion) but never would have thought her to be this hateful. Her ideas of "pretty" is combination of rocks, metal constructions and pines.  Really wish she'd move somewhere to the city where there is plenty of each to satisfy her taste, because clearly anything fresh like fruit trees and pretty flowers are not tolerated by her at all. Pity.