Kurt and I always like to spend a day or two in the very late winter deciding what we are going to plant for the upcoming gardening season. We do this late in the winter so that we have plenty of time to get our seeds started in the house before needing to be transplanted outside. This year that was especially important since we plan to grow as much as possible from seed this year.
In past years we have purchased most of our plants from a somewhat local nursery. This year we got it in our heads that it would be interesting to see if we could start almost everything from seed. I noted this in my recent post “Planting Days” where I gave an overview of all the plants that we have started in 3 indoor greenhouses.
I think part of the reason we chose to do this is because we had such a successful year in our new garden beds last year. This year we want to step it up and see if our success can start almost at the beginning. Maybe next year we will be able to start everything from seeds that we collect this fall, not even having to purchase seed. But I am getting ahead of myself.
I have a map that I drew out in the early days of owning this house. I add to it every year our developments from the previous year. Once we had built our new garden beds, this map made it very easy to plan where our plants will go. We did a lot of companion planting last year because we finally had the space to be a little more selective about what when where, as well as more room to grow more varieties of vegetables, herbs and flowers. Kurt and I are able to draw and erase, and re-draw where we want all of our plants to go. Both of us are detailed people, so maps like this are great tools for us to wrap our heads around it all.
Now, as you can see from the map, I have added some extra areas of the yard that are not yet finished, but should be by late-spring. Those areas are going to be some tester areas this year, with hopes of good crops. It will be a quick turnaround from finishing the walls to getting soil in the beds and then planting some of the plants we have listed such as raspberries, blackberries, peas, blueberries, herb gardens, etc. But we think we can do it, even if this year is just getting some plants in the ground with time for them to get themselves established.
The area on the left side of the map is going to be our new wall area. We see a lot of our berry bushes going there, our rhubarb will be transplanted into one of those beds as it seems to do really well on that side of the yard. I would also like to designate a garlic patch and an asparagus patch. My co-worker may have some asparagus extras that she is willing to part with. It will be a few years before those are ready, but the sooner we can get them in, the sooner we get to enjoy them.
Above our garden beds and the main path that runs through the yard, there are some odd sections that we are going to put to work. First is the original walls that we built, which are hulking lunkers. But between then is a beautiful, straight bed that will make a perfect area for something….possibly strawberries? We aren’t sure yet what will go there, but plan to cap the ends, put up some small fences to keep the dogs out since they have been using that as a main path for the last 5 years, and see what we end up putting in there.
Below that little bed, and above the path is a large triangular area. We are going to put in a little kicker wall to divide that space so that we aren’t having water run-off or any chance of the soil moving. The top part will be for some wild flowers that attract insects such as bees, butterflies and garden friendly predator insects like lady bugs. We will also add a little water spot there that will have a dripper so that it over-flows into the flower beds (watering the flowers) and putting fresh water out for the insects each day. Below that flower patch will be a herb garden area. In fact, the herbs may end up taking over both the top skinny bed as well as the bottom triangular bed. I look forward to herbs that re-seed themselves or come back every year like our thyme plant does. My mom has a beautiful chive patch that comes back every year, so that is our goal with those areas.
We will likely move our potatoes to the new area on the left side. We are undecided if we will continue with the towers or if we are going to move to a traditional mounding style of growing them. I guess we will see late this spring when we are designating specific areas to som of the plants that we are adding or moving from the flat area at the bottom.
Now, the very bottom of the yard, which is mostly flat, will also be going through some development. We plan on flattening it out to as level as we can get it. This may include building a bit of a retaining wall close to our fence (maybe 2 stackstone bricks high) as there was more of a slope to the back area than we thought. There will also be a raised path at the base of the right side garden beds as that side slopes more aggressively towards the fence. We will then add some irrigation, and seed the area (possibly get sod, or move the lawn from the front down to this back area) so that it becomes another grassy area. I am also thinking possibly a clover lawn, but we will see when we get there. On the left side at the base of the new (soon to be) garden beds, we are planning on putting up a gazebo. We will need to create a cement pad for it first, likely with a mold. We don’t want a large flat slab, but something with character and texture, that will keep the grass from growing in that area. The actual gazebo will not be until next year when we have that area fully prepped.
I could keep going with the work we plan on doing, but for now those are are goals for this year. Finish the garden and plant areas. Then we will work on the recreation/relaxathon areas. We aim to keep the momentum up and get a lot completed!