Monday, January 12, 2009
Help me plant the farm
Okay, I’m faced with a blank canvas here. I’ve dabbled in veggie gardens in the past, but last summer I had so much fun with “the farm” that I’m prepared to go whole-hog this year--from seed-to table, as Michelle would say. ;-)
There is just one problem: the seed catalogs are in and I am overwhelmed with choices. So I’m turning to you, my good gardening friends, to help me plant this year’s farm. What do you recommend? What are your favorite, must-have, can’t-live-withouts? Can you help a fellow gardener out?
Here are the parameters:
The canvas is not large (see the photos.) The best stretch of land is right down the middle, with one large planting bed (the one surrounded by stones). There will also be two raised bed boxes—the one that is already there and full of garlic, and I’ll move the cold frame to the other side of it after I harvest my carrots.
I have room at the far end for a tripod bean structure (that Christmas tree you see in the photo is destined to be recycled into one leg of the bean pole), and I plan to build a pergola for sitting, and that can also support a climbing plant. There is a trellis in the shade (not shown, but to the right in the photo). I have space along the fence to the right, but it is in shade all day. However, the light is so strong here, and the heat so fierce, that some plants may tolerate the shade.
Another planting parameter has to do with the climate, which is hot and dry. My ornamental garden is xeric, and I’d like to be water-wise in the vegetable plot as well. All plants will be on a drip system, and I’ll use as much harvested rainwater as possible.
I don’t use pesticides on the ornamentals if I can help it, and not at all on food crops. Last season I had a squash that had a bad case of powdery mildew, and I’d like to avoid that again if possible. So disease/pest resistance is a priority.
Given all this, what would you plant? I should let you know that I’m not wild about broccoli, cauliflower, or zucchini, since they all seem pretty bland to me.
I’d also like to stick as close as I can to heirloom veggies, but I’m not a purist in this (or anythings else, for that matter).
Other than that, I think I’m open to any suggestions, wild or mild…
Oh, and of course I’ll let you know how it all turns out!