Planting Day 2014

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I planted my garden on May 31st! Erin asked me to Spare No Details, so here’s all the gardening info you could want!

What I’ll be tending this year:

5 tomatoes – Roma, sun gold cherry, beefsteak, Mortgage Lifter, Better Boy
5 peppers – red bell, green bell, Big Bertha, Yummy Snacking, jalapeno
4 squash – zucchini, yellow straightneck, spaghetti, eggplant
2 kinds of basil – regular and Greek
2 regular cucumbers
Oregano, parsley, dill, and Mexican tarragon

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I’ve been gardening since 2007, which was my first full summer in my house. I started with herbs in pots on a baker’s rack, and a small patch of vegetables on the northeast side of the house. Not much happened with the in-ground plants. In 2009 I moved the vegetable patch to the south side of the house, expanded it, and tilled some fertilizer into the ground. The plants did slightly better. In 2012, my dad built me a raised bed out of leftover shelving in my shed. We filled the bed with a “pro mix” blend from the Bartlett Nursery. I had a decent harvest of tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers, but again, it fell a little short of my expectations.

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THEN CAME 2013. My dad went back to the nursery and talked to the owner about how 2012 went. The owner replied, “What you need is some private stock.” He drove Pops to the very back of the property, where some men were silently shoveling atop a huge mound of rich oak-leaf compost (at which point my dad started hearing banjos). They piled some onto his trailer, along with a bag of Wholly Cow manure, and instructed him to make rows with the compost and place a handful of Wholly Cow into the bottom of each hole before planting. I did exactly that. The results were insane. Victory at last!

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When my dad went back on Saturday for another season’s worth of private stock, the owner told him that another layer of it would actually weigh down the soil. Instead he gave him a blend of private stock and pro mix. He said that next year, we can make rows with pure pro mix and won’t need the stock at all. Judging by how healthy the soil looked after it was tilled, I believe it! But I never would have known this, so I’m sharing for everyone’s benefit.

I feel really good about my selections this year. I’ve been gardening long enough now to know what works, what doesn’t, and what I actually use. Believe it or not, I consciously underbought. I typically buy more herbs, and duplicates of many vegetables as insurance. But this year, I decided that if a plant doesn’t make it, I can just buy another one (or try something else). In the meantime, the thriving plants will have more space. I also chose seedlings that looked a little more mature to compensate for the late planting. The Roma tomato already has a tiny tomato on it!

I did some rearranging. The tomatoes are now on the wider end of the bed (which also leaves the cucumbers more light). They’re spaced further apart (look at me, preparing well for success!), and instead of using cages, I’m going to set up a Florida Weave support system. It’ll be more supportive and easier to manage as the plants grow.

I water with a soaker hose on a timer, which has proven to be the most effective and low-maintenance method. Last week the plants sat together in a wheelbarrow that collected a lot of rain. So they were a little drowned when I planted them (as you can probably tell from the pictures), but they’re already perking up.

Stay tuned for garden updates throughout the summer! Yay!

About Brenda W.

Christian. Memphian. Reader. Writer. True blue Tiger fan. Lover of shoes, the ocean, adventure, and McAlister’s iced tea.

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2 Responses to Planting Day 2014

  1. I’m so jealous! I don’t have a garden going. My roommate (who actually owns the house) says I can plant one if I want to, but the yard needs so much work that there’s no way I’d have time to actually get anything growing this year.

    • Brenda says:

      Well, a lot of plants do well in pots, and it’s never too late for those! There are several kinds of tomatoes that are bred to grow in a pot – more than the kind that hangs upside down. Herbs do great in pots too, individually or grouped together. Mint is great to have during the summer, but I never put it in the ground because it’s so invasive. (So is lemon balm. Learned that one the hard way. :P)

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