Nitty Gritty 2010
I wish that post title meant I am attending a Nitty Gritty Dirt Band concert, but alas. All I dare ask of my concert-going life anymore is that Willie Nelson live long enough for me to see him live. Live, Willie, live!
Nitty gritty is the garden, and this post has the details. I know you all looooove gardening details.
My garden this year is a melange of approaches, all vying with each other for greatest success at lowest cost. Here are the three:
- Raised beds, following the Square Foot Gardening approach, but with less vermiculite than called for because, oh please. 1/3 vermiculite is way too much. These cost a lot, but will probably be comparatively low-maintenance and high-yielding.
- Regular , in-the-ground bed, with soil amendment, and weed barrier over top. No other mulch. I want the soil to dry a bit between rains and I want it to be as warm as possible, too. I plan to actually plant this bed in a sort of square foot manner as well. This cost much less than the raised beds.
- One regular bed with no amendment at all (also known as the lazy and cheap way to plant). This one was an afterthought and isn’t really comparable to the others since it won’t get as much sun and is right near the house. And it will have only potatoes and whatever herbs occur to me. This was free.
Protection from critters will involve only companion plantings (not exhaustively planned, though), regularly-applied stinky repellent, regularly applied cayenne pepper, bird netting where expedient, and chicken wire hats for plants that are small enough.
Cold protection will involve floating row covers, covers over frames (hitherto known as chicken wire hats), and maybe a milk carton or two.
Variety selections this year are much less likely to be heirloom than last year. A friend put is succinctly last year when he said that “heirloom just means old-fashioned and not as good.” Or something like that. That isn’t totally true but, well, it’s not totally untrue either.
Three tomato varieties are started and growing under a fluorescent lamp by my feet as I type — Latah, Oregon Spring, and Big Beef. Also, some hot peppers, some brussels sprouts, and cilantro, basil, and parsley. And marigolds and zinnias.
Swiss chard, spinach, turnips, beets, and peas are in the beds outside — at least the first sowing of each of them. And potatoes.
Nothing out there in the beds has shown its green leafy head yet.
It turns out that H likes coleslaw, so now I need to plant some cabbages.
I built a compost bin last week. State land regulations be damned. I know how to compost. I can’t imagine it will attract bears more than the dumpster. The squirrels like it, though.
Little C may be my most serious garden pest. When he’s not trying to drink the water from my rain bucket, he’s climbing in the beds or digging out soil to drop into the rain bucket.