Accidentally Cooking

Documenting my mistakes in the garden, kitchen and pantry

2014 Garden Plans

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Last time I posted a retrospective for my various projects in 2013. Today I’m going to outline some of my plans for 2013, especially as regards my garden.

Last frost date in my area, according to the farmers almanac, is around April 22nd. Several seeds will probably start in mid-February, onions go into the ground around the beginning of April, tomatoes and many other plants get transplanted out starting late April or early May. Most of my catalog seed shopping will need to be done in the next few weeks, and I’m trying to go to some new companies, and look at some heirloom seeds of seeds of particular interest.

This year I’m going to get serious about crop rotation and start a pattern that can be followed in future years.

Bed 1

Last year Bed 1 was newly dug and filled with tomatoes. This year, I’m going to try a few new things there, especially things that can get two plantings (spring and fall).

I’d like to try Carrots again. I’ve found a few varieties in my catalogs that I want to try, but I need to winnow them down because space is limited.

Broccoli and cabbage might be interesting. Broccoli will certainly get eaten more, between the two.  I have no particular interest in other Brassica varieties, like cauliflower, Brussels sprouts or kohlrabi.

I’m looking for some kind of bean variety (or several) to plant. Peas are probably no-go, and most dried bean varieties really aren’t popular around here, and I probably couldn’t get them in sufficient quantities anyway. Green beans or snap peas might be cool to try.

Lettuce or spinach might be nice to try again. I will start these indoors first and transplant them, because the last time I direct-sowed them and the results were terrible.

Many of the crops I’ve listed can be good for two plantings: spring and fall. That kind of setup appeals to me.

Last year I had tomatoes planted in all three of my beds, which makes crop rotation plans…difficult. Bed 1 had the most tomatoes, so this year it will have none. Next year I’ll move my beans, leaves and brassicas to bed 2.

Bed 2

The middle of the three, and the first one I dug back in 2012, is falling apart and needs to be rebuilt. I’m going to try to reshape it to be closer to 4×8, and fill it up with new soil and fresh compost. I’ll be out with my trusty shovel, Shovescaliber, the very first warm, dry day.

Into this bed I’m going to put a few tomato plants, probably two slicers and two plums. The slicers will be for casual eating, the plums will end up in salsa or bruschetta and will be dehydrated again. We’re not doing cherry tomato plants. I may consider one or two more plants, if I can find a novel variety we want to try.

Whatever space the tomatoes don’t fill, I’ll probably do herbs or something. I’ve done enough hot peppers and have no use for them this year.

Bed 3

I have about two thirds of Bed 3 planted with garlic. The remainder, and any spots in the garlic rows that don’t survive the winter, will be filled with onions. I’m probably going to stick with sweet yellow onions, since they go so well in soup. If I could buy onions in batches smaller than 50, I might try a red onion or something, but with such small space and such large bunches, it’s hard to get much variety.

I’ve thought about shallots, but I don’t have enough space for them without crowding, and I don’t like shallots nearly as much as garlic or onions.

This bed will be empty by mid July. If I can find anything else to put here that I can transplant in around that time, I’d gladly do it.  Otherwise, I may wait till August, and plant a fall crop of something.

Patio

I still have the buckets I drilled for potatoes last year. I will consider doing potatoes again this year if I can get good, professional-quality potato sets for a decent price. I’m not planting some spuds that were leftover from the grocery store, ever again.

I’ve thought about doing cucumbers, but only if I can find a variety that grows nice in pots and is resistant to powdery mildew. I’d consider other curcubits or melons, with the same caveats.

We have a few pots where we’ve done well with herbs. I think I have a better handle on how to care for basil, so I expect to do lots of that. Basil, rosemary, thyme, mint, all of these were done last year. The mint and rosemary, I hope, will come back next year.

Fruits

I’ve got two cherry trees and, so long as they produce this year, I’m perfectly happy with that. A third tree would be nice, of course, but I don’t know where we would plant it (or how quickly my wife would murder me for even bringing the subject up). If she were up for more plants, I could go for a pear tree or a peach tree or….

The blueberries did well last year and I expect an even better crop this year. I’m going to lightly fertilize in the spring, then I won’t need to do much to them except keep them well watered. Since we’re doing the blueberries in containers, I’d definitely consider getting another plant (or two, or ten). Dana has already given me the green light for a third blueberry plant this year, and I’ve got one in mind that I really want to try.

We’ve talked about starting grapes before. I’d do it in a heartbeat if the time were right (and if Dana would look the other way for a few minutes).

Other

I’d really like to make a little asparagus bed somewhere, if I could decide where to dig it. The problem with asparagus, of course, is that it could take a year or two before it was ready to be eaten, and then it could keep coming back for decades.That’s a lot of investment and a lot of commitment. Planning it out and planning it well would be key.

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Author: Andrew Whitworth

I'm a software engineer from Philadelphia PA. Sometimes I like to go out to my garden, or step into my kitchen and make a really big mess of things.

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