What better time to start thinking about the garden, right?
Well, just when thoughts of sifting compost and digging in the dirt seem the farthest away, a few seed catalogs magically appear in your mailbox to kick-start those daydreams again. Today we received Johnny's Selected Seeds (Maine) and Territorial Seed Company (Oregon). I'm sure there will be others, but while we start flipping through the pages, let me lay out a quick 2009 wrap up and 2010 game plan:
2009 can be summed up in one word: Terrible. While we started seeds in February, my schedule between work and school delayed not only the bed prepping, but the transplanting and seed sowing process entirely. Aside from some lettuce, a few cukes, and bush beans, all else was a wash. The highlight of the season was our new strawberry and asparagus beds.
I'm optimistic that 2010 will be more productive. Here's the high-level plan:
- Optimize the Raised Beds. With 262 square feet of formal raised bed space, I want to do a better job at maximizing the growing space. To accomplish this, we're going to do two things: Stick to a more "square-foot gardening" approach and focus on crops that can produce a lot in a little space. No more frivolous corn stalks here. We'll leave that and some other things to our local farmers.
- Get Serious About the Fruit. First, we'll rip out the existing blueberry bushes. My error in planting them two years ago was putting in four of the same low bush variety. Very little growth has occurred. This year, we'll replace them with a mix of high bush varieties that have staggered fruit production. Beyond blueberries, I hope to get some more raspberry canes in and begin to reap some of the benefits of the strawberry patch we put in last spring. All this is with an eye towards a decent round of canning. I doubt we'll get there in 2010, but we'd like to remove an existing tree or two in the middle of the back yard to eventually make way for some dwarf apple trees.
- Extend the Season. Last month, I picked up some used greenhouse panels through our local freecycle program. I want to use these to build some cold frames to enable us to grow greens and maybe a few other things throughout the fall and winter.
[Photo Credit: Our six-year-old son, Will, took this shot of a dragonfly hanging out on the cuke vines over the summer. I just love it.]