Indoor Gardening

Let’s see, it’s the middle of March, which means only two more months or so until real gardening can begin! Right now, we’re making do with our little indoor garden (which I rearranged onto a different shelf after taking this photo). There’s my geranium, which will be two years old this summer — I cut it way back a few weeks ago, and it seems to be filling in nicely from the bottom now. It’s quite a trooper! We have our mini bulb garden that was super cheap at the grocery store, but which has the biggest hyacinth I think I’ve ever seen. There’s M’s potato plant; we planted a chunk of baking potato that had sprouted a while back. It’s growing pretty nicely right now (in the green watering can planter), but having grown potatoes outside, I’m not sure A) how long we can sustain a full-grown potato plant indoors and B) whether any potatoes will grow in our smallish container. We’ll see! We also have a couple of pineapple tops that I planted ages ago, which seem reluctant to commit to either dying or growing. (There are lots of other indoor plants, but they’re not part of our “garden”.)

And we’ve (I’ve) got our summer gardening dreams! I’ve ordered a bunch of strawberry plants, and I want to build a sort of enclosed bed for them, so the critters can’t eat all our berries. I’m thinking I might put clear plastic on the sides (to maybe lengthen the growing season a little?) and hardware cloth on the (hinged) top, to let in bees. I’d like to do sometimes similar for the blueberry bushes I’ve ordered, but since they’ll get taller, that might be harder.

I’m going to overhaul the layout of the garden this year; I still haven’t settled on something I like enough to keep the same season after season. But I’m thinking long rows, covered with landscape fabric to keep the weeds down. Mainly, I’m excited because M is really old enough to “get it” now. She has ideas about what she wants to grow in the garden (good luck with those bananas, M), and she might actually be a help (more than just cute “helping”) this year. Gardening has been hit or miss over the past five years — misses on the years I’ve been too pregnant or busy with babies to get properly organized. But I think this year might be a hit!

Garden Dreams

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2016-02-04OLDtomatoes

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I’ve got lots of plans for my future garden(s), but with a due date at the end of May, the odds of my planting ANYthing this year are slim. Maybe some flower seeds, if I can get them in before Baby Sister arrives. But I didn’t grow anything the summer after M was born, and she was a good seven months old by the time that rolled around. With a newborn? Forget it. But I might as well dream about what I’d like to do, since it’s not like I’d be doing it in February, anyway.

— Not directly garden-related, but I’d like to get two piggies (I’m thinking American Guinea Hogs) for pasture and ground management. They’d do a good job of clearing down some of the weeds in the fields, and I’d like to use them as live tilling machines, too. If I had pigs, I’d change my fenced garden layout to just be straight rows. The planted rows would be covered with landscape fabric to keep the weeds down around the plants, and the rows in between would just be mowed for walking. Each spring (or fall), I could take up all the landscape fabric and let the pigs bring everything back to blank-slate status.

— When we had a blockage cleared from the well pipe this summer, we discovered an additional outlet at the edge of the pasture (ie, saw water suddenly geyser-ing out!). It was capped temporarily and then, before the ground froze, we had a spigot put out there, one that shuts off below the frost line. So now there’s running water available in a ‘new’ spot. Perfect for when there’s one day animals back in that pasture, but I also like the idea of putting a secondary garden out that way — maybe just squash or potatoes, something I wouldn’t worry too much about the deer eating.

— I’d love to have more fruit! Of any kind, really. I miss my productive raspberry patch that I had in Minneapolis (I brought a lot of the canes up here, but most didn’t survive, although they’ve come back / spread a little more each year). I need to figure out a way to let berry plants grow while stopping the weeds that otherwise quickly choke them out. Raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries would be wonderful. It would also be fun to have a mulberry tree or two, although I’d really have to fight off the birds for those. I hope the two plum trees I planted last year will do well in the future. And if I could just figure out how to install a few thirty-year-old apple trees, I’d be set. I’m afraid that waiting thirty years might be the only way to achieve that!

— I’d like to experiment with growing a large crop of broccoli and freezing a lot of it. Broccoli is the vegetable we eat most often, and good-quality, organic stuff can be hard to come by around here. I also want to get serious with row covers for broccoli, as it sort of loses its allure when there are eighty-zillion little green caterpillars to pick off.

— In general, I just want to grow enough of certain things to get us through winters. Being able to make all our own tomato sauce and pesto would be great. There will be years of (possibly endless) experimenting with what works, though. I was really happy with my sunflower crop this year, but they all went moldy within a couple weeks of being cut and put out to dry. Obviously I did something wrong, but I didn’t realize it. That sort of thing is discouraging, but it also makes me want to get it right next time.

Okay, northern hemisphere folks! I know we’re all dreaming about our garden this time of year! What are your grand plans?