Wednesday, March 19, 2008

If I were to make a garden.......

If I were to make a garden, another garden, a new garden.........these are my thoughts for the start of spring. Every year as I do my annual pruning and clean-up in my yard my thoughts travel to where I would place something new this spring. Last year saw the building of a large structure in our back yard that will be a quiet and lovely space to wile away the evening time. Made of rough wood, it resembles a large open pergola. Very tall, and strong it already has two very nice large wisterias that we planted at it's base last fall. This spring we will add a trellis structure and I will plant another flowering vine that will eventually enclose the area and make a "flower tunnel" entrance.

But back to the new garden. The last few years have kept us so busy at the nursery that we have not had any vegetable garden per 'say here at home. We have had an herb garden every year, if only to have the fresh basil needed for Robert's fabulous pesto sauce. This year I am going to plan out a space for the other "must haves" around our summer kitchen.....tomatoes! and all the other plants needed to make one of Robert's other specialties, salsa. Reality though has finally set in ...and I realize that the nursery will be no less busy this season, but if I make my new area easy to maintain and water I can have the success I am looking for. I am going to use 1/2 wine barrels, drip systems and shredded bark on the ground for weed control. My tomatoes are going in the barrels next weekend, surrounded by wall's of water to protect them from the frost. This lets me plant them a whole 45 days ahead of if I were putting them straight in the ground. I am using Harvest Supreme organic soil & Dr. Earth Starter to fill the barrels so I won't really have to even worry about fertilizing them much in this season, and the drips are already close by, as I am going to tap into my existing system in the herb bed. The area is right next to my compost bin so I can't miss it when I go out there every morning to empty the previous nights offerings. It has full sun and is protected by a fence against the hot winds that could dehydrate my plants. Using this system, I should see tomatoes by June!

Only an extremely experienced gardener can plant a whole garden in the mind's eye. For the rest of us, the garden seems to have a mind of its own. That's why planning it out on paper can be such a wonderful idea. By playing around with your thoughts and ideas, you will start to see what is missing. While I was drawing up a sketch of my new vegi area I realized that the barrels were going to be the perfect opportunity to also plant strawberries. They are going to go around the exterior of one of the barrels and hopefully cascade down the sides. Marigolds will go all around the bottom of each one ringing the barrels in color and hopefully keeping the bugs at bay. Plan out your next garden plot now while the air is still cool and the spring chores aren't yet coming in abundance. Happy Spring, Susan

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