Sunday, January 27, 2008

2008 Garden: Planning Stages

It's that time of year again. The snow still blankets the ground, the compost bins are frozen solid, but we've started making plans for this years garden. It really began a few weeks ago when the first seed catalogues arrived but now we are moving full steam ahead. Our seed orders are placed and some of the seeds have already arrived.

Almost everything this year was ordered from Dominion Seed House or Terra Edibles. What wasn't ordered from these two suppliers are left over seeds from last year's garden. Dominion Seed House delivered everything except the live plants almost a month ago. We placed the order with Terra Edibles last week so we are still waiting for those seeds to arrive.

I love the taste of fresh from the field corn and even though I swore I wasn't going to plant corn again, I have to try one more time. I've been doing some reading on the Three Sisters method of planting corn, beans, and squash in the same bed and have decided to give it a try this year. Instead of squash we're going to try a variety of melon suited to our short hot summers. That pretty much takes up most if not all of one vegetable bed.

The other beds will be planted with two variety of beets, a spring and fall crop of spinach, and several varieties of snap and dry beans. I haven't quite worked out where everything is going to be planted yet and I suspect I won't truly know until we turn the soil and begin planting seeds. The blue barrels we used for potatoes last year will be home to sweet potatoes and possibly cabbage if there is enough room for both. We have herbs slated for the various growing flower boxes, as well as a box or two of Scarlet Creepers, a heirloom variety of climbing flat bean that can be eaten green as a snap bean or allowed to dry as a whole bean.

We also decided to add three variety of apples to the yard. One dwarf "Honey Crisp" and two columnar apple trees, a "Crimson Red" and an "Ultra Spartan". None of these trees are supposed to get larger than 6 feet and the columnar apples grow their fruit along of the column of the main branch making it perfect for planting nearer the house. At least that is what the catalogue says. I guess we'll see once the live trees are shipped to us in May or June. I do know I am looking forward to growing our own apples though it may be a year or two before we get fruit.

Finally, we decided to try sowing Morel Mushrooms in the wild area out back. If the mushroom spore take and the growing conditions are good we'll have a small colony of Morels that we can forage from, throughout the summer months, in about a year. This is something new of us and we are not sure exactly what to expect, but it will be fun finding out about growing mushrooms. If this experiment works out perhaps we'll look at growing other kinds of edible mushrooms next year.

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