I am sitting in my living room, looking at a beautiful sunrise and the fresh skiff of snow on the ground, thinking about my garden. We are still months away, but now is the time to start planning. Our first seeds will be planted next weekend, and earlier start than we have ever head, but learned we will need to do to give some of our seeds enough of a start to grow big in the summer months.
We normally go around to a few stores in town to get the seeds for the year, however this year, I decided to order directly from the seed supplier we always search out. It gave us the opportunity to ensure that we get the plants that we want. We will still need to collect a few seeds or starters from in town though, like our potatos. We tend to buy “West Coast Seeds” brand as we are a short distance away from Vancouver, and most of their seeds are for the BC region. We have also found them to be very successful in our garden.
In order to ensure I didn’t get overzealous with buying too many new varieties of plants than we have room for, I did up a little map to get us started for this year. Likely, we will have more space than I have anticipated, but we can adjust for more plants next year. This mapping also helps us companion plant as much as possible, which has been working really well for us the last few years.
On the right side of the yard, where we have been able to grow the last 2 years, we have made some adjustments to rotate some of our crops and also accommodate some of our permanent crops.
Last summer we added asparagus to the narrow end of the bottom garden bed. Another couple years and we should hopefully have a nice crop growing there. We may possibly add some basil or other herbs to the areas between the rows this summer.
Next to the asparagus, we planted some garlic in the fall. We are excited to finally have a garlic patch and are looking forward to this being a regular fall crop that we plant. Hopefully from our own cloves each year.
Next to the garlic we will have both green and red cabbage. We have done red cabbage for a few years now and love it. This year we decided to add green cabbage as we like it in salads and other dishes throughout the summer and fall. I may even try my hand at some homemade sauerkraut
We are going to attempt cauliflower again this year. We didn’t even really have a chance last year because out of 2 seed attempts with 16 seeds planted, I only had 1 plant actually come up. After the first batch didn’t produce anything, I went out and bought a new seed packet and only had 1 develop. It unfortunately never got past the 6″ height and so didn’t develop a head. I purchased some new seeds with my order this year, so we will see how those go.
We loved the broccoli plants, and are doing those again this year. Although you only get one large head, the amount of smaller flourettes that come off for the entire season was more than enough for Kurt and I to enjoy.
At the end we are going to do a pea wall. I shouldn’t affect the amount of sun that the other plants get. We haven’t had peas since our raised beds so it will be nice to have them again as a snack during the summer months.
In the upper bed, we will have our tomatoes and peppers in the same area. We will be mixing in some new soil to ensure good nutrients for the plants. It just seems like the perfect placement for them, so we will leave it be. We will be doing the romas, cherries and big beef again this year. For peppers, we will be doing the sweet peppers, hungarian, and probably jalapeno this year. The cayenne has been great, but we don’t use enough of it, and I now have at least a years worth dried and stored.
Next, where the corn was last year, we are going to do an arch with our cucumbers & cucamelons, and an arch with our squash. Under the cucumber arch will be the celery, more spaced out than in the past for hopefully larger stems. Under the squash, we will place our zucchini…I think. I am still debating that one. I may move the zucchini to the other side of the yard next to the beets. If I do, then I may grow some lettuce under the squash arch.
Next to those 2 arches, I am going to try my hand at some ground cherries. I enjoy them when I have had them as a garnish on a dessert, so I figured I would try growing some this year. Plus, I have heard it makes some great jam.
Since we will have all the walls done on the left side, we are excited for more growing space. So here is what we are planning for that area.
On the bottom level we are going to move the rhubarb into the wide corner position. This will move it out of the way of the path that goes down the side of these beds and will provide us access from the fence side of the garden beds.
Beside the rhubarb, we will create a strawberry bed since our tower needs to go. Partly because it is falling over, but also because that is where our gazebo is going to end up going. We will put down fabric and have holes for the berry plants in the hopes of keeping the weeds down. We may add a little straw or something along the base to keep some of the pests away as well. I know you can use straw to help keep weeds down, but we seem to have very persistent weeds that find a way through and take hold.
Next to the strawberries, we will create an onion patch. We are doing the borettana, cabernet, and shallots again. This year we are going to add some leeks. Those are seeds that we started a little late last year. This year those seeds are going to be planted in the next week. This should give them a much better start and hopefully some bigger onions. I may possibly add some bulb onions as well if I find a good variety in town.
Beside the onion patch will be the potato mounds. We have always done potatoes in some towers, but found they only really grew in one band anyways, so rather than taking up space with the towers, we will do the mounds. It will be a new learning experience. As usual though, we will use a mixture of straw and dirt, partly to help with the weeds in that area, but also because we have found the straw provides some nice areas for the potatoes to grow nice and big.
Lastly in that bottom bed, will be our corn at the end. We are going to go with Kandy King again. It was a really nice corn to eat. And since we aren’t being garden dopes and replanting corn in the same spot again (duh!), we should hopefully have a better crop.
In the upper bed, which is a half-size, we are going to do our root veggies. We will be doing carrots, radishes, and both red & golden beets. Next to it will either be the zucchini plant, or we will add a couple pumpkin plants. The plants themselves will be planted at the opposite end so as not to disturb the plants when picking our beets. We will also keep an eye on how they spread to ensure they don’t take over the root vegetable patch. If we go this route, it will not be the most ideal setup, but we hope we can make it work. If not, then worst case scenario, the pumpkin plants come out and we find something else to go there.
I’m glad that we get to start planting a few things next weekend. I think it will help with the impatience of wanting to get gardening again. Though, our living room is once again going to be taken over by little greenhouses and plants! I’m ok with it though. It is all for delicious food.