Friday, April 9, 2010

Gardening for Dummies-by Dummies...

Ok so I'm not a dummy, I rock at Jeopardy.  But I will admit to knowing absolutely NOTHING about vegetable gardening until I planted my first one last year.  Call it good dirt (even though it looked terrible), call it good location, or call it dumb luck but last year's garden was a huge success.  I spent the whole "off-season" thinking and planning for this year.  (See below, last year's garden!)
So I thought I would write just a bit about prep and planting for this year.  (Short disclaimer-you can read all you would like to about scientific gardening, soil tests, planting dates and the like in some wonderful publications from your local extension service.  I'm not them.  There is basically no science to my ramblings, like I mentioned above-dumb luck, and some crossed fingers!)

My first goal was to tackle some of the problems umm, aggravations of last year's garden.  First decision, not to grow corn this year.  This was slightly heartbreaking due to the fact that it honestly was the most fun plant to watch grow and produce.  But it took up about a quarter of my garden space and only produced around 24 ears.  It can also be purchased at my local farmer's market for around 25 cents an ear, corn.  (One of my proudest photos ever-last year's corn!)
Next issue, the weeds.  Now call it a sick hobby but I really didn't mind the weed pulling, something about sweating it out, listening to some music, making the garden look pretty...but they look terrible and you have to stay on top of them.  So this year I am adding some mulch (purchased on sale a couple weeks ago for $1.12 a sack.)  I'm adding mulch around the perimeter and I will mulch around some plants once they sprout.  This should also help with moisture control. (Note mulch perimeter.) 
Last issue for this post-picking the green beans.  I decided last year to plant bush type green beans as I did not want to have to think about how to string up, hold up, or support pole type plants.  A good friend told me I would never plant bush beans again.  He was right.  Picking bush beans just plain sucks, stinks, umm is hard on the back.  So I knew from very early on I would need to construct something to hold up the plants.  I also knew this had to be installed at time of planting as to not disrupt the seedlings once they sprouted.  So may I present to you-the green bean labyrinth.
  • an intricate combination of paths or passages in which it is difficult to find one's way or to reach the exit.
  • a maze of paths bordered by high hedges, as in a park or garden, for the amusement of those who search for a way out.
  • a complicated or tortuous arrangement, as of streets or buildings.
  • any confusingly intricate state of things or events; a bewildering complex. 
The green posts came from the fencing department and already have pre-drilled holes.  I would have preferred they be about 2 feet taller but these were the tallest that already had holes.  The wire is actually coated speaker wire and came in a roll of 500 feet.  It was a little pricey but amazingly cheaper than just plain wire.  There is one more component needing to be added-the vertical stringers.  Once my seedlings are up and thinned I will add rows of vertical string between the wires to help support the plants.

So call this the first installment of Gardening by Dummies...I'm also including a garden tally for what I have planted so far (by the way, constant checking of the garden to see if something has sprouted is normal-this is called seed stalking.  I have been told checking every hour does not help the seeds grow any faster.)--
  • Green and White Bunching Onions-One pack
  • Squash-Zucchini, Black Beauty-Two packs
  • Cucumber-Tendergreen-Burpless-One pack
  • Cucumber-Boston Pickling-Two packs
  • Squash-Yellow Summer Crookneck-Two packs
  • Carrots-Petite n' Sweet-Two packs
  • Green Beans-Stringless, Blue Lake, FM1K Pole-4 packs.


  1. Great info Janet! Love the photos from last years garden. And the prepped garden looks fantastic!