Tuesday, May 7, 2013

3 Goals for 2013

The rubble of last year’s vegetable jungle has been cleared out, thanks to the diligence of my twelve-year-old.  I bribed him with nothing whatsoever.  He loves a good bonfire and was scraping up kindling.  Boys can be so handy that way. 

This year, I plan to grow a quaint and refined, yet wildly productive garden.  I’ve been told more than once that failure to plan is planning to fail.  I wouldn’t necessarily call last year’s garden a failure, but it wasn’t anything I would’ve allowed refined gentlefolk, such as yourselves, to rest your eyes upon.  No, that was a sight only for those bound to me by blood or property line, both relationships being rather bothersome to dissolve. 

In spite of its disheveled appearance and torrid bug affairs, our little vegetable plot was very fruitful.  It provided bushels of fodder for this column.  It taught me more about cucumber beetles and humility than I thought I needed to know.  It helped me sweat off my summer Dairy Queen indulgences and soak up some vitamin D.  And the produce?  Tastier than money can buy, cheaper than the lowest loss leader and seasoned with a depth of flavor that can only be realized when you have watered the soil with your own sweat. 

So, I’m excited to see what I’ll discover in the dirt this year.  My goals for 2013 are:

#1:  Squeeze blueberries in.  I have NO idea where I will fit these large shrubs into our outdoor square footage, but it must be done.  Last year’s snap-happy spring was a coup against fruit production, and my annual blueberry binge was overthrown.  Major, major bummer.  I usually put away 14+ pounds of those sweet indigo morsels, and I don’t mean ‘put away’ as in ‘freezing’ or ‘canning’.  If my skin is tinged blue at the end of July, it isn’t because I’m hypothermic.  Managing unpredictable frosts is a huge challenge for commercial growers.  The home gardener, however, has a fighting chance.  It’s one thing to toss some blankets on 3-4 shrubs.  Protecting 300-400 poses a serious dilemma. 

Strawberry magic waiting to happen
#2: Kick my strawberry procrastination.  As a landscaper, I found people always wished their trees were planted twenty years previous.  As a remedial gardener, I’ve always wished I planted my strawberries two years previous.  This defeatist attitude has led me to plant none, and each June rolls around to find me berry-less once again.  I’ve mooched off of family and friends and paid for U-Pick.  Time to give myself a fruity savings bond.  In two years, I’ll cash it in.

Goal #3: Give my tomatoes room to breathe.  The tomato debacles of 2008-2012 will not be repeated this year.  In the spirit of change, I was researching fresh, new ideas for tomato structures.  One site recommended planting them along a wall of livestock panels, which I thought was brilliant.  Their spacing, however, sounded a little problematic.  Along a 16’ panel, their plan called for 18 plants, 9 on each side.  Maybe this worked for them.  Maybe they pruned their tomatoes every 4 hours.  No maybes for me: that won’t fly in our garden.  I’m planning on spacing my tomatoes 8’ apart, which sets me wildly at odds with their schematics. 

Have I gone off the spacing deep end?  Possibly, but I am trying to assure the twelve year old that we won’t be scuttling through a tomato jungle to harvest this year.  He’s already spoken with me about the number of tomatoes I’m ‘allowed’ to purchase, etc, etc.  Little does he know, his grandma gives me most of my tomato plants for free, and this week she unloaded a few (three times his quota) on my porch.  Gardening insanity runs in the family.  One day, he will understand (it’s a genetic certainty), but for now, he can look forward to a humdinger of a bonfire next spring!

What’s on your list this year?  Tell me on the Design to Grow Facebook page or at www.designtogrow.blogspot.com


Lisa Maynard said...

LOVE your statements about "putting away blueberries"!! Priceless and we are totally with you on that :)

Casa Mariposa said...

I'm not sure I qualify as 'refined gentlefolk' but thanks for the compliment. ;o) This year in my garden I want to figure out how to grow my white ruellia without killing them over the winter or inspiring them to lie dormant until they feel it's safe to emerge. I am confounded by their moodiness and am bent on enlightenment. Unfortunately, my money's on the ruellia.

Design to Grow said...

If ladies who garden in high heel thigh high boots aren't refined, then who is? Not familiar with ruellia...I'll be checking it out. I'm guessing it isn't hardy to zone 5.

Lisa, we can start a blueberriholics annonymous group together. Glad to know I'm not alone! :)

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