Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Master Plan 2011


Instead of rows this year, I'm doing beds and making them densely packed.  I'm also doing a smaller garden this year.  A total of 4 beds side by side, 2 feet wide by 12 feet long, with 3 feet of hardwood mulched path between each bed and around the garden.


This year, instead of soaker hoses, I'm using sprinklers.  The soaker hoses break and leak too easily, don't lay exactly where you want them, and only water a narrow area.  Some parts get soaked, some stay dry, and it takes just long enough to water that you forget to turn the water off in time to avoid flooding the garden.  Soaker hoses beat hand watering, but I wanted to try an alternative this year.  Since a single sprinkler doesn't quite cover the full garden area, I'm using 2 sprinklers.  One between the first two beds and the other between the last two beds.  It seems to be quick, easy, and effective so far, with the only downside being that the placement of the sprinklers needs to be adjusted based on wind speed and direction at watering time.


So I thought the fence didn't do much last year because the rabbits could squeeze through and hop over.  However, since the peas, spinach, and lettuce have already been decimated this year and I've been forced to replant, I am seriously rethinking my no fence decision.  Stay tuned.


In Bed 1 we have a double row of peas (1/2 pound Early Frosty, in keeping with tradition) climbing a 12 foot long section of (ironically) rabbit fencing.  On either side of this double row is spinach, planted about 4" apart in each direction to fill the bed, and with beets and turnips interspersed.  I planted this year's Bloomsdale Longstanding (one packet was not enough) on one side of the fence and last year's Melody Hybrid on the other.  Beets are Baby Ball and turnips are last year's Purple Top White Globe.

In Bed 2 we have half the bed devoted to zucchini (Garden Spineless) to be interplanted with nasturtium, and the other half of the bed reserved for bush lima beans.  I went with Fordhook 242 (1/2 pound), although it was a close call between those and the Burpees Improved Bush variety.

Beds 3 and 4 each have two rows of corn (Argent, rows 1 foot apart), intermingled with head lettuce and leafy greens.

Bed 3 includes Paris Island Cos Romaine (transplanted) and Swiss Chard (Large Ribbed Dark Green, direct sown).

Bed 4 includes Buttercrunch (transplanted) and Mesclun Salad Mix (1500 seed packet containing arugula, endive, buttercrunch, black seeded simpson, grand rapids, and prizehead lettuce), with a few feet devoted to last year's collards instead of mesclun.

And in the flower bed out front, surrounding the trees, I planted strawberries.  24 plants of the Everbearing Quinault variety.  Purchased cheaply as roots from Wal-Mart.

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