Jan 26, 2012

Summer Dreaming, Garden Planning

It’s that time of year again. That long stretch of short cold winter days where garden lovers like me keep warm by the glow of seed catalogs that come in the mail, dreaming of summer. I love browsing through them, imagining an even larger yard and vegetable garden where I’d have room for things like pumpkins, butternut squash, soy beans, etc. And who wouldn’t want to plant a sweet cherry tree? Or a couple of small apple trees? Maybe someday...?

It’s hard to decide what to actually put in the vegetable garden this year. For every new thing I add, something else has to be cut. Some decisions are easy - my watermelon growing was disastrous (every beautiful looking fruit was rotted inside), we didn’t like the taste of ground cherries enough, the marjoram was finicky, and we had too many string beans (we don’t need both bush beans and pole beans). But other decisions are much harder. When there’s only one bed for nightshades (tomatoes, eggplant, peppers), and every single tomato plant was so successful that they choked out half the peppers, how does one edit things down to add in something new like a black beauty eggplant?

So right now I have 2 lists. A long dream list for my future backyard that includes everything I’d like to plant, and a short realistic list of the things I’ll probably order this year. Ordering online is actually safer for me, I’m weakest when we go to the local nursery and I see all of the plants alive in person. A lovely climbing rose to be trained up a trellis? Yes please. Peonies? I’ll take a dozen! Unique irises in shades of pink and peach? Load up my car!

Rainbow Swiss Chard, Rhubarb, Blueberries
Here’s what I’m ordering this year:

- A new fig tree (we have a voucher to replace the one that arrived dead last year)
- 2 new blueberry bushes (to replace the ones that died over the summer)
- Gladiola bulbs (I love these and want to add more)
- Flower seeds: zinnias and snapdragons
- Rainbow swiss chard (something fun)
- Rhubarb (for the perennial garden, because I love pies)

Brown Turkey Fig, Gladiolas, Zinnias
I’ve also been given some new cucumber and brandywine tomato seeds to try from my favorite gardening mentor. I really can’t wait until spring!

*Images are from Baker's Creek Heirloom Seeds, Baker's Creek Heirloom Seeds, Burpee, Jung Seed, Burpee, and Burpee.

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