Wednesday, March 3, 2010

2010 Gardening Goals

I've been thinking about this a long time. What to do differently this year? How much to enlarge our garden? So, over the last 9 or 10 months, I've compiled a list of goals for this year's summer growing season.....

1.) ENLARGE! I've asked my Dad to help build another several raised beds. He has agreed. Our backyard has been flooded for, well, since last October or so. Because of this, we will be working very last minute to get these beds ready for planting. My last frost date is April 15th so only about 6 weeks left. So much to do!!!
2.) I want to grow a pumpkin plant. I had no idea how early you have to plant pumpkins. I've been doing some research lately and I understand I'll have to plant my pumpkin(s) in May. Wow. This is just another romantic notion that I've planted in my own mind and I can't get rid of it. So I'm planning to build an A-frame trellis to hold my pumpkin plant. And I've read several tips about different things to use for supporting the pumpkins once they start to grow. My personal favorite is nylon stockings. Wow. Yes, now that's a good use for those...
3.) Butterfly garden. One of my favorite parts of gardening is the ladybugs!!! And the bees! And the butterflies. I just adore them all. So I have decided to build a small little flower garden to attract even more of these little cuties. More to come. I still have to research this one a bit more! The bees already LOVE my basil plants. And the ladybugs just invited themselves as soon as I planted my garden (thank goodness). But I would love to attract more butterflies...I know my daughter would have the best time watching them and chasing them around.
4.) Tea herb garden. I've mentioned before how much I loved making and then drinking fresh mint tea infusions last year. So I am expanding my tea herbs. Chamomile, for sure. And lavender. And we'll see what else. But I am really excited about this one!!!
5.) Fresh flowers for cutting. There is not much better in life than fresh cut flowers in my house. But, several years ago, I learned how the flowers you buy in the market/at the store are often grown in what used to be rain forests down in Central/South America. And that just broke my heart. I felt so guilty. Yes, they'd make me happy while on display in my house. But there's too much destruction and unhealthiness behind them. I can't enjoy them anymore. So what better solution than to grow my own. I'm hoping I'm successful and I can post some photos here to show you how beautiful they've turned out and how they lend such beauty, fragrance and freshness to our home.
6.) Start a strawberry patch. I can't describe to you the disappointment I felt when I learned that it takes 3 years or so to cultivate good strawberries. That is a LONG time, my friends. But it's never going to happen if I don't start now. Have I mentioned how we already have a tiny little strawberry plant in the middle of my herb garden? Yes, it was planted several years ago. We've eaten maybe 3 strawberries since I planted it. I always thought it was rabbits eating the fruits (we have a lot of rabbits in our neighborhood!) but the more I read the more I believe it could actually be birds. All I know is someone else eats them before we do. I've tried putting dog fur around the base of the plants (to scare away the rabbits) but it didn't work. ??? Who knows. This year I will probably be much more protective of this plant since I now know that this year will probably produce the first REALLY GOOD berries. More to come.
7.) Continue composting. I just recently shut off new additions to my first compost pile/attempt. It's a large one. Just last week I purchased some rabbit pellets (a big bag) to add to my pile. So I'm guessing that one should be ready in a few months. My real issue is that we produce a LOT of kitchen scraps (being vegetarian at home, we are peeling a veggie or fruit about every 10 minutes or so) and I have a hard time finding enough "brown matter" to balance out. I can't tell you how many times this fall/winter I had to borrow my husband's car (okay, okay...SUV) to pilfer bags of leaves off of my neighbors' curbs. During the spring and summer, I'll have to work a little harder to find "brown matter" (I don't use grass/lawn clippings because it smells way too bad - don't want to piss off my neighbors!). So composting will be an ongoing goal to work out the right balance of ingredients and timing things so that the compost is ready when I'm ready to plant. I may just take another class so that I can lob about 5,000 questions at the teacher. Hee hee...

So that's it for now. I don't think I've forgotten anything. But I'll be updating my blog with my progress on these items as the next few months go by.

Oh, I forgot one thing:
8.) Get a picture of Hubbell snacking in the cucumber plant.

Okay, all done.

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