Thursday, February 7, 2008

Taters, Maters and Other Aters...

No silly... I'm talking garden planning! Along with a big house, I bought a BIG yard last summer with plenty of garden space to supply the whole neighborhood's produce needs. Not that I intend to dive into that gung ho, mind you!

What I have now (under about 6 inches of snow) is a prepared plot about 30X40 feet. There's a little "thicket" of raspberry bushes in one corner but otherwise it's all open space. And yes, I do intend to get that thicket thinned of its dead wood and plant the new growth canes into a row. There is also an apricot tree and 3 kinds of grapes other places in the yard. And with additional and separate spaces to make great flower gardens, this big plot can be all herbs and vegetables. So the big question right now is, what am I going to do with it?

My friend, Jim, from work is a master gardner in his spare time. He's already got tomatoes up and growing in his basement!! After grilling me about the soil condition (I dunno) and the sun exposure (seemed pretty sunny whenever I looked last summer) and what kind of amendments I planned to use (huh?) and a bunch of other things, he told me to start thinking about what I want to grow. And when I had decided on what, I should take a piece of graph paper and draw it out. Then he'll help me change it around so plants with like water needs and compatible sun situations can be grouped near each other. That then becomes my plan.

Okay... so I know I want to grow some red potatoes and some tomatoes. I also want to plant some onions and a jalapeno pepper (think salsa fresca!). And I'd like some tomatillos to experiment with some cooking ideas. Somewhere, either here or in one of the flower gardens, I want to plant perennial herbs like taragon, sage and oregano. Some of the less long-lived ones like parsley, cilantro and basil would also be nice. And I want rhubard and horseradish (yes... I realize it is tear inducing pungent).

So what else goes in a garden? Should I plant radishes, carrots, beans, corn and lettuce? What about a cucumber vine? How much can I realistically take care of after I come home from my day job? How much do I want to commit to?

And there is one caveat. This is all dependent on getting an in-ground water supply from the house out to the garden plot 'cuz I ain't gonna be dragging hose!

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