Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Starting to Think About the Garden

So maybe this is a little preemptive but we had a garden planning session this week. It's probably the bout of warm(er) weather but I started to feel anxious that we hadn't ordered any seeds yet. So we ordered...lots of seeds. In all we spent $30 including shipping. This may not sound super frugal but if you figure how many plants we could have bought with this had we waited till spring and bought baby plants it wouldn't have been many.

So here is the run down of what we bought and where:

From Seed Savers Exchange:

1. Ground cherries (a.k.a cape gooseberry): These are totally weirdly awesome fruit/veggie things we discovered at our local farmer's market. They are reminiscent of tomatillos with their papery husk but taste very citrusy, kind of like pineapple. And for those of you with a very good memory I posted about them last summer and even threatened to grow them.

2. Tomatillos: We love salsa verde and tomatillos are just so expensive at the farmer's markets we figured we should just grow our own.

3. Double yield cucumbers: One of the only things we were successful growing last year was cucumbers so we decided to test our luck with this variety that is supposedly "remarkably productive".

4. Dragon carrots: I really don't care for carrots, especially cooked but I can never resist a purple vegetable so we'll give these a go even though our root crops are usually wildly unsuccessful. (Our radishes are generally inedible.)

And from the Bountiful Garden's catalog (website here):

1. Lemon cucumbers: Cucumbers that look like lemons? How could I resist that!? Plus they are supposedly excellent pickles and rust and drought resistant.

2. Pak choi (a.k.a. bok choy): I love bok choy, especially in wonton soup.

3. Southern giant curled mustard greens: We needed some quick greens for the areas of the yard that get good sun early but get too shady in the late summer. This plan might theory. We'll see.

4. Spearmint and peppermint: We are mint fiends. We put it in various Asian foods, I make mojitos with it and we drink unholy amounts of mint tea. We have a little in the yard but we're going all out with a whole bed this year. Mmmmm...mojitos.

We even walked around the yard and planned out what we'd put in existing beds and where we could fit some new beds. There was a lot of discussion so I used my master draftsman skills to draw up a plan so we wouldn't forget our ideas. It may be a little technical for you but it gives you a general idea:

I know that was a lot of information to take in so here is a close up of one corner in case you'd like to copy my technique:

For those of you not familiar with technical abbreviations it says (from top down): all mint bed/early greens, early greens, all cucumber. Don't be intimidated by my skills, you don't need to be so proficient in planning to design your own garden beds.

So now we need to get to work making lots of little pots out of newspaper to start seeds in. Look for a post on that soon!


  1. Just remember that mint can be invasive so wherever you put it there will be lots of spreading and hard to get rid of if it takes over. :) But the mustard we had reseeded itself really nicely. We used carpet between cinder block raised beds and the mustard seeds fell on the carpet and flourished. No idea on how unhealthy the carpet is but we've been eating it for the past year with no problems. :) Have Fun!

  2. Great selections! I love bok choy too!
    Hi, I came over from Warren's blog.
    I'm starting my seeds in eggshells this year. It's something I learned from a gardening show.

  3. Thanks for the tips!

    Ahliah: We were thinking about mint's invasiveness so we decided to put it in a raised bed and we'll try and stay on top of weeding it (drying what we pull up).

    YD: Good idea about the eggshells, we eat a TON of eggs so I might just have to try that. I assume you put the shells back in the carton after you fill them? Seems like that would be the most convenient way.