Gardening - Gathering the Supplies

Today is the day.  The last day of the year.  The day to get my act together for Gardening 2012.  Since I already mapped out my garden, this mainly involved figuring out which plants to order from my chosen seed vendor and ordering my seed starting stuff. 

To rewind slightly, I’ve already planted 30 square feet of garlic.  Lance and I attempted to do this before Thanksgiving but I managed to forget how to walk down stairs thanks to our beautiful new wall and ended up in Urgent Care with a badly twisted ankle.  Art, Lance, and I all finally finished the planting of garlic on November 27th. 

Since I’m planning on doing Square Foot Gardening, I’m planning everything by the square foot.  I have 48 square feet to work with in my garden, 30 of which are taken up by garlic, and the remaining 18 will be taken up by various vegetables and herbs. 

My main trial with garden planning is the whole “need to start seeds inside” issue.  I have cats.  My cats like to eat plants, knock them off counters, etc.  I don’t have a place where I can set up a seed starting rig that would be safe from these kitties which limits my options significantly.  Hopefully House 2.0 will have some sort of garage.  Or spare room.  Or something. 

In the meantime, I needed to explore other options and, after research and talking with my awesome local farmers, I opted to try a mini outdoor greenhouse.  I might try it out inside first, but it will probably end up on the patio in the backyard.  I’m going to start seeds in peat pellets placed in old egg cartons and then transplant them when they’re ready.  Hopefully this will work out well! 

I also went ahead and ordered all of my seeds and transplants for the garden.  It’s quite the list.  I’ll include the number of square feet I’m planning for and any other notes below. 

Aside from garlic, tomatoes are my main reason for gardening.  I’m planning on six square feet in my raised bed plus two extra plants to go into the lovely pots my parents gave us for our new wall.  Tomatoes come in two varieties.  The indeterminate ones grow as vines – I’ve got six of those coming.  The determinate ones grow as bushes – I’ve got two of those ordered for the pots.  Since I’m paranoid about tomatoes, I also ordered six indeterminate transplants, just in case my seed starting fails.  I’m not sure what I’ll do with the transplants if the seed starting succeeds, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.  You can probably tell by the tomato plant names that I started at the beginning of the list and picked the first eight I came to. 

Tomato #1 – Austin’s Red Pear OG
Tomato #2 – Beam’s Yellow Pear
Tomato #3 – Black from Tula
Tomato #4 – Black Krim
Tomato #5 – Black Plum
Tomato #6 – Blondklopfchen
Tomato #7, determinate – Black Sea Man OG
Tomato #8, determinate – Cream Sausage
Tomato Transplant #1 – Amish Paste
Tomato Transplant #2 – Brandywine
Tomato Transplant #3 – Cherokee Purple
Tomato Transplant #4 – Gold Medal
Tomato Transplant #5 – Mexico Midget
Tomato Transplant #6 – Lemon Drop

I’m doing two squares of cucumbers.  I can’t believe I used to hate them since now I can’t get enough!  (The OG stands for organic.)  Cucumbers are planted two to a square foot, so I should have four plants total.  They also grow in vines like the tomatoes do. 

Cucumber #1 – Early Fortune OG
Cucumber #2 – Bushy OG

I’m devoting two squares to lettuce which I hope will be enough.  In theory, I can grow four plants per square so I went ahead and ordered four different varieties. 

Lettuce #1 – Amish Deer Tongue
Lettuce #2 – Green Oakleaf OG
Lettuce #3 – Webb’s Wonderful OG
Lettuce #4 – Forellenschluss

I’m not sure how well the onion attempt will work, but I’ve got one square slated for them.  I can plant 16 per square, which I think might mean I get 16 onions total?  Seems space intensive to grow onions. 

Onion – Long Red Florence

Bell Pepper
These are one to a square so I might not end up with enough.  We’ll see.  This is why the first year is an experiment, eh? 

Bell Pepper – Bull Nose Bell

Summer Squash
I’ve been told that people who grow summer squash always end up with too much.  I’m sticking to just two squares and, therefore, two plants.  One zucchini and one yellow.  We’ll see if we’ve got it coming out of our ears at the end of the growing season.

Zucchini – Black Beauty OG
Yellow Squash – Summer Crookneck OG

Swiss Chard
I love the stuff even though it’s only been a part of my life for the last three years or so.  Apparently my mom loves it as well.  Who knew?  I guess she didn’t want to share it with anyone when I was a kid.  This variety has beautiful multicolored stalks. 

Swiss Chard – Five Color Silverbeet OG

I’ve got three squares for herbs so I’m sticking to the ones I use most – basil, parsley, and cilantro.  I can always branch out into more pots if I need to, but we’ll see how they go in the raised bed. 

Basil #1 – Genovese OG
Basil #2 – Lettuce Leaf
Cilantro – Cilantro OG
Parsley – Giant from Italy

Since this is the first year of gardening, I’m trying to keep the vegetable selection simple and only plant the veggies I know that we’ll use.  In the future, if all goes well, I’ll branch out a bit with plants that are more challenging both in terms of growing and usage.  Until then, I’m keeping it simple.

It looks like I’ll be starting my earliest seeds in February, but I’ll try to make a garden update before then with pictures of my seeds and seed starting rig once everything arrives.