How Does Your Garden Grow?

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I’m really excited to get planting in my garden this year. I felt that last year, my first year as a gardener, was fairly successful considering our blistering summer, and I know I can do a lot to improve.

Of course, technically I never stopped growing in our garden. The eggplant persisted into November and only died after I had planted broccoli, carrots, Buttercrunch lettuce, and garlic. Even though we had freakishly cold weather (for Austin) the first week of January, our tender plants lasted because I managed to rig up a cover with a fitted flannel bedsheet.

What happened in the garden last year? Like I said, the eggplant performed well beyond expectations, somehow surviving past the harsh summer to really flourish in fall once we got some darn rain. Our Celebrity tomato plant was good, although it grew a little bit out of control. I didn’t get one single zucchini – either because of the vine borers or because I planted late, or both. The pole beans didn’t do too badly, but this year I’m going with bush beans instead. I also tried to grow corn, which is apparently an impossible feat for someone who has no idea what they are doing. I tried to do butternut squash, and although I planted it far too late things were looking well until we had a bit of a cold snap in December and the tiny squashes were kaput. On the herb front, chives, oregano, and parsley did well but the cilantro came and went early and the basil never came at all.

For 2010 I’ve planned to grow a lot! And this year I’ve resolved to take more notes on what I’m doing, so I can determine what goes wrong. I’m hoping to get another raised bed built so I’ll have plenty of space. I want to make sure at least one of the beds is done with the square foot gardening method, because I’ve seen great results from other people who use it.

On the list for this year is:

Celebrity tomatoes
Cherry tomatoes
San Marzano tomatoes
Bush beans
Butternut squash
Brussels sprouts (fall)
Green Onions
Peanuts (!)

Day 13/365: Promises

I’ve also got some blackberry plants that will just work on getting bigger this year. I’m hoping we will be able to get a few tiny fruit from them in 2011.

There are grand plans for our yard as well, but who knows if they will get done. The previous owner had an obsession with landscaping, and while we were impressed with the yard when we bought the house, it soon became a burden to keep up with. We also learned that he did a lot of it incorrectly. There are far too many trees in the backyard, for instance, and more than one of the trees/large shrubs are too close to the house. I’m trying not to think about how much money he must have spent on everything as we plan to rip it all out. (Anyone in Austin want a holly?)

Our garden combined with our CSA almost certainly ensures our eating of lots of plants this year, provided I can figure out a way to get my husband to eat greens. We’ll also be purchasing a quarter grass-fed cow soon, and it’s my hope that we’ll be able to kick most of our grocery-store buying to the curb. I’ve just got to master making sandwich bread and we’ll be set.

What are you growing this year?

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