Thursday, January 28, 2010

Planning my summer garden

So I'm taking you on my stumbling adventure of gardening. This year I think I'm really going to get into it. Maybe it's the homemaking blogs I've been reading. Maybe it's the fact that we actually own our own house now. Maybe it's the fact that both of my kids have hollow legs. Whatever the case may be, I'm once again getting excited about gardening.

When we moved into our home, we also acquired a beautifully landscaped backyard. The lady that lived here before us took wonderful care of it (now that we have a digital camera again, I'll post pictures soon). The landscape changes with the seasons. As the daisies die down, new flowers sprout up. It's amazing. I hardly know what to do with it.

But we also knew that moving in we wanted to use the space that we had to grow what little we could. So I'm planning around what we already have to make an edible landscape, of sorts. I don't have plans for a huge crop. I know I'm working with limited space if I want to keep my landscaping. And I'm such an amateur gardener, I don't have plans to pull up all these gorgeous plants on a whim.

These are a few things I'm planning:
* I don't have a large space for tomatoes, but we love them. I feel like half our produce budget goes into tomatoes. Ok, maybe that's an exaggeration. A third. But when we inherited some plants from our neighbors last summer we had some success with them. And with our hot summers, they're one of the things that actually grows around here. So I'm planning to try some hanging planters and probably two plants. Enough to not get in too deep if they die, but enough to be worthwhile.

* There's a huge decorative planter on the side of my yard. HUGE. I was talking to a friend the other day that said peppers were pretty hardy. It's seems like the perfect place to put in some plants. We eat a lot of red bell peppers and jalapenos would be nice for canning. I should be able to get several plants in that spot. Good sun and still close enough to the faucet to be watered.

* I didn't like the daisies that came up in the spring. They kept falling over when we had heavy rains. They were just too flimsy. So we took them and put in two strawberry plants and they did ok. No berries last year. I think we planted them too late in the season. But they stayed green, despite our hot weather. My plan is to put in at least 2-3 more plants. It's a small spot, but they're green and should produce just enough fruit to keep the kids and I happy. As I'm doing my research, I'll be looking for the "Surecrop" variety.

* I want to put in some lettuces where I took out a couple of plants last year. But with lettuce I could really do some more research. Ideas?

* There's also a small spot near my rose bushes. This spot isn't very large, but ideal for some climbing varieties. There's some in ground soakers and plenty of sun. I'm not much for beans, but I was thinking about putting in some cucumbers there. I tried last summer without a lot of luck, but read that they can be taught to climb and thought I might give it a try.

* Finally, I'd like to do some herbs, but I have no idea where I'd like to start. We love basil and oregano. Probably just in the kitchen or just inside the laundry room. But I haven't done much research on this end so I have a lot to learn in the herb department.

I could go on and on. Raspberries, some day a pear or plum tree, maybe some melons. But for now, this is what I'm sticking with. My gardening experience is growing every year. But slowly. And with a limited budget and two little ones, I'm taking it one step at a time. I'll have to get the lettuce in soon as our summers are too warm. So that will be my first experiment in the new year.

I'll keep you updated. Hopefully I'll have some beautiful photos to post as well. Are you planning a spring or summer garden this year?

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