Saturday, March 13, 2010

The garden begins!

Today we tackled our garden design in earnest. First, we visited Logan's "One Stop Garden Shop" to pick up our "Plant a Row for the Hungry" starter kits (we chose lettuce, mung beans, and cowpea 'Purple Hull Pinkeye' as our free seeds) and to brainstorm our garden plans over lunch. To Virginia's surprise and delight, Logan's was selling rhubarb pips (we can grow rhubarb in Raleigh?!), so rhubarb was instantly added to the garden plant list. Peggy picked up some leek seedlings as well as a sparkly purple dragonfly spinner, "to keep the birds out of the garden."

Back at the garden site, we looked over the treated lumber kindly donated by Jane (the remnants of a previous porch enclosure and an old sand box) and chose several pieces that seemed like good candidates to border our raised beds. After hammering out the many, many nails embedded in said lumber, we had enough wood to build one 12x4 bed (for the veggies growing primarily above ground) and one 4x4 extra deep bed (for root veggies - this one we will secure with mesh on the bottom to prevent invasion by burrowing rodents). The sand box will serve as our new herb garden. Peggy supplied four tall wooden trellises for our climbing veggies - our plan is to lean them against each other at either end of the large bed. That way, they will act as supports for the garden fabric that we will use to protect our newly planted seeds and tiny seedlings. There was some debate about whether the trellis teepees will allow enough sun to reach all of the plants underneath them, and whether the tomato plants will have enough room under there, so we will have to see how this idea plays out. They do look good, though. Oh, and if Peggy places a dowel across the two teepees, she will have a place to hang the dragonfly spinner...

The next step is to cut the wood and build the planters - this should happen next week. Then we buy the soil, fill the beds, and start planting!

Here is the list of plants that we have chosen for our first year:

Herbs: basil, chives, dill, garlic, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, and thyme. These will be grown from seedlings, if possible.

Vegetables from seed (already on hand, having been purchased from The Natural Gardening Company): bok choy ('White Stemmed'), butter lettuce ('Buttercrunch'), carrots ('Scarlet Nantes'), green leaf lettuce ('Green Salad Bowl'), bunching onions ('White Lisbon'), green beans ('Emerite'), kale ('Lacinato'), parsnip ('Javelin'), radishes ('Cherry Belle'), romaine lettuce ('Jericho'), snowpeas ('Oregon Giant'), spinach ('Bloomsdale long standing'). We will also try the cowpeas from Logan's, of course.

Vegetables from seedlings: cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, hot peppers, leek, rhubarb, summer squash, sweet peppers, tomatoes, and zucchini.

Yep, we're ambitious!

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