The West Street Community Gardens have been tilled and staked off. To all those eager gardeners out there, sowing can begin!
With this year’s garden design in mind, I plan on visiting my plot — J-5 — this weekend to rake compost, build a fence and instill good vibes.
Last year, my salad garden was a success; I had plenty of lettuce and cucumbers and a good amount of tomatoes. My herbs were fantastic. My peppers were perfect and there were mountains of green beans (enough to give away by the Ziploc-gallon-bag-full).
But don’t get me wrong: there were some serious flops. My beets, carrots, pickling cucumbers and pumpkins failed miserably. C’est la vie. But since I’m still a relatively new gardener with stars in her eyes, I vow to make these vegetables grow this year.
Since I learn by doing, here a few new techniques that I will employ this year:
Start seeds early
Last year, I ended up buying a lot of established plants at local stores and farmers markets because I didn’t start my seeds early enough. I’m going to give it a shot this year. I’ve started a few peppers and herbs, and lots and lots of marigolds and zinnias.
Use compost frequently
I’m going to use all the money I save by starting my insect-friendly flowers early, on more compost. I’ve been composting my leftover food all fall and winter, which will give my soil a great start. Another round of natural mushroom compost (which I found up the street at Lowe’s) and my plants should thrive.
In addition to the initial offering, I will spread compost again here and there to keep my soil and plants healthy — something I didn’t do last year.
Spread straw right away
While I fully enjoy spending a day in my garden, I do not enjoy spending that time pulling weeds. I bought straw and covered my plot with the stuff last year, only I was about 1 ½ months too late in doing so. My weeds were already almost full-grown; all I did was cover them mildly, giving them a bit of shade.
As soon as I sow, the straw is going down. I will win the weed war this time!
Carrot seeds are basically microscopic and I find them incredibly hard to keep track of when sowing. So I bought carrot seed tape — the ingenious idea of some gardener tired of uneven rows and varying seed depths. This time around, I think my carrots will have a fighting chance. So will my beets, thanks to my Beet Tape. I went a little wild and bought Lettuce Tape, too. Could there be such thing as Pumpkin Tape??
Enjoy the weekend and happy planting!