Monday, March 14, 2011

This Year's Garden Plan

Flowers emerging from the leaves.
Mt. Vernon, VA

Spring is in the air, robins are hopping around, and crocuses and daffodils are showing their faces! Hooray! I've tried to ignore the growing itch, but I couldn't. Every spring I get that urge to plant something that is so hard to ignore. But we've got some challenges this year.

1. We rent our townhouse.
2. The yard is slightly sloped.
3. Drainage is not very good.
4. We got attacked by caterpillars last year and I'm afraid for this year!!
5. This year is supposed to be the worst ever for stink bugs. (Where are the natural predators, I ask you?? Are stink bugs invincible?)

So, here's the solution I've come up with:
1. Build 2'x2'x1' planters that can be set on cinder blocks or blocks of wood.
2. Try out the amazing square foot gardening method designed by Mel Bartholemew so I can grow twice as much in a much smaller space.
3. Do not use mulch! (Black walnut wood is poison to tomato plants and I strongly suspect the stuff I got from a large home improvement store, which I will not mention, had that wood in there. My poor tomatoes!)

My plan is to line the bottom with gardening fabric, drill small drainage holes, put down a thin layer of sand, then some top soil and leaf compost. Woo! I am so excited!

Today, my kids and I made a trip to a locally owned plant nursery. They had the best deal on dirt and compost I have ever seen, considering I usually buy the bagged stuff from home improvement stores. Not only that, but I was pleasantly surprised with how helpful, friendly, and informative they were. They even had a pet rabbit my son loved looking at. Just another affirmation of how buying locally can be so much better! They weren't working for some corporation. They were working for themselves and they were locals and knew their stuff. I will definitely be going back there for my other gardening needs later on.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good luck with the new system. We all want to know how it goes. I won't be growing much this year because we'll be away from home about 3 times for over a week and it's so hard to just let it go to drought conditions after you've worked to get it growing. So I will enjoy yours vicariously.

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