Oh, I love this time of year in the garden. Everything is so small, and we estimate and guess and plan...trying to be sure we don't plant things in the same spot, plant heat lovers in the spots with the most sun or radiant warmth, not plant deep roots in front of utilities, keep short up front and tall in back, place complimentary plants side by side, give each plant enough room, fill in the gaps with quick growers that will be done by the time the big guys are taking the space. We try to plant more, find ways to use the tiny space better.
So much to think about, but in the end we basically put it in the ground and hope for the best. Fertilize, water, weed, protect. Let the plant do its job.
I like posting a list of what we are growing each year. It is to share varieties and names with you all, and also to have something to look back on. As you know we don't have a ton of room - we have a side yard and our garden is primarily strips of soil along the sides of the two houses with landscaping integrated with all the edibles - as well as many pots on our deck and front porch. So this list may look ridiculously big. BUT, while we do grow a lot, remember also you don't have to plant the whole packet of everything. While I have many types of tomatoes on my list, I may only have 2 plants of each. I grow only 1 or 2 of each melon or certain squash (just not enough room for more). When properly stored most seeds will last for a few years, and so I like to keep increasing my seed library each year - so I can learn and experience different plants, find out what works best in our space, and always have something new in the garden.
I started most of these from seed. I direct seed peas, beans, greens, radishes, beets, etc. I traded some of my extra seedlings of certain varieties with a friend - she gave me the paste tomatoes, kale, okra, cilantro and dill, and I had extra squash, garden huckleberry, cucumber, and melons in exchange! Seed sharing and seedling swapping is a great way to get more variety in your garden without having to invest in so many seed packets!
2010 list (so far)::
tomato:: blondkopfchen, lime green salad, tommy toe, green sausage, nyagous, brandywine, cuor di bue, carbon, amish paste, olpaka paste
pepper:: beaver dam, healthy, tequila sunrise, sweet chocolate bell
cucumber:: wautoma pickling, crystal apple
melon/watermelon:: tigger melon, pride of wisconsin melon, golden midget watermelon, charantais melon, ali baba watermelon
summer/winter squash:: summer scallop trio, thelma sanders sweet potato, butternut, fordhook acorn
fruit:: garden huckleberry
pod/soup bean:: purple podded pole, good mother stallard bean, scarlet runner
radish:: helios, cincinnati market, sparkler, french breakfast
pea:: dwarf gray sugar, oregon sugar pod II, tom thumb, amish runner
other veg:: udumalapet eggplant, jewel toned beets, purple of sicily cauliflower, okra, paris market carrots
greens:: kale, swiss chard, gourmet lettuce blend, farmer market lettuce blend, baby mesclun mix, stir fry blend, red malabar spinach, mache, mustard mix
onion:: chives, delicious duo scallions, yellow borettana cippollini onion, yellow of parma onion, elephant garlic, shallots
herbs:: greek oregano, summer savory, stevia, spanish mace, lettuce leaf basil, genovese basil, italian parsley, dill, cilantro, hyssop, marjoram, thyme, lovage, borage, nasturtium, calendula, sunflower, motherwort, lemon bee balm, fenugreek, valerian, mullein, yarrow, toothache plant, feverfew, amaranth, sage, marigolds
in ground from last year:: red raspberries, golden raspberries, strawberries, white currants, chives, echinacea, lemon balm, spearmint, chocolate mint, tarragon, parsley, rhubarb (1 was in ground, plus received gifted rhubarb transplants this spring -- thanks jodi!)
Things I am excited about this year? Crystal apple cucumber. Short season melons and watermelon (tough to grow here). Soup beans. A lot of raspberries (my red raspberry canes went crazy!). Oh, so many more, but those are my top right now.
How about you? What are you excited about growing this year?