Tuesday, February 17, 2009

How Green is my dirt patch

In my desire to make January into April, I have started to think about the design of Garden 2009. Last year, Garden 2008 was a strip of ground ten feet long by 2 ½ feet wide. The plants and I needed more space, which I thought I had achieve by adding a few feet at the far end, but it was not successful. I learned that the garden doesn’t want to be longer it wants to be wider.

Its not really about ground space, its more about breathing space. Last year everything was crowded together and it had a negative impact on output. There wasn’t enough air circulating, too many plants in too small a space meant too much shade so there wasn’t enough light to go around and they had to fight for the avail be nutrients in the soil.. Which reminds me, the soil was really good at growing leaves, not so good at growing fruits. This year I’m going to get in touch with my county extension service and see what I need to do to make the soil I get from the city more fruit friendly.

My thoughts on getting more space for my plants are to reclaim a 7x7 square of yard directly in front of the existing garden space without unseating my semi-attractive patch of semi- blooming iris. It would take up most of the remaining sunny area of the yard without depriving Dogger of her  favorite pooping patch. The down side being that the new square would be right in the middle of the seasonal creek that develops in the spring during the rains - but the existing garden space already is part of the flood plain and it did all right, in fact I think the smaller tomatoes produced better than the larger tomatoes that were planted further down the strip away from the better part of the flow and the cukes that were directly in the stream did better than both of them. The peppers didn’t seem to be negatively effected by the extra water either.

Garden 2009 is made up of better, higher quality, neater peppers and tomatoes and I do not want them to get stressed and since there is only one of each variety, I don’t have a lot of back up and I need to give my plants as much of a chance as I can. I am hoping that you get what you pay for. I paid, I want to get.

It’s the journey not the destination... Size doesn’t matter... Its not about winning...

The addition would be a lot more garden to garden, which would mean more work for me. The garden in its current incarnation is very easy to garden. It’s small, narrow and easily accessible. I can see all of it and things and it was hard for nasty beasties to hide from me, All said, as convenient as it is, the space is too small and it isn’t big enough for what I want to do or to allow plants to do what they need to do. We both need more space.

This year I also have much higher expectations for my plants. Last years plants were el cheapos made up from what I could get from Wally World and what I got from the farmers market. I was pretty impressed that they formed fruits at all. This year, just doing their jobs won’t be enough. I want them to produce! I’m wanting more than six or seven large tomatoes over the season. I know that’s not good enough and they did not do as well as they could have. I am of course blaming them for my poor harvest, it couldn’t possibly me having a black thumb. I watered them, fought their enemies, I gave them nice fertilizer and designer dirt and I expected more. This year my goals are more fruits through more light, more air and less nitrogen.

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