Thursday, February 9, 2017

2017 Seed Inventory

Somehow this task escaped us last year, but usually once the garden planning is done, we go through our seed inventory and decide what we need to stock up on. At this time we also choose new varieties to try or seek out more of the same if something did well.

Once the seeds are ordered and arrive in the mail, we sort them by type and store them in a plastic box in the fridge, where they keep very well in the cool, dry conditions.

For reference, here’s what we chose for 2017:

Pole beans: Cherokee Trail of Tears
Pumpkin: Small Sugar Pie
Squash: Butternut JWS 6823 and Spaghetti Squash
Cabbage: Red Express and Hybrid Storage Green
Cucumber: Northern Pickling and Marketmore 76
Peppers: Ace bell pepper, El Jefe jalapeño, Baron poblano
Eggplant: Galine
Cilantro: Cruiser
Head lettuce: Green Forest and Buttercrunch 
Corn: Sugar Buns
Broccoli: Arcadia
Parsnips: Javelin
Cauliflower: Snow Crown

Cherry tomato: Sungold
Zucchini: Dunja or Fordhook
Cantaloupe: Sweet N Early or Earlichamp
Green beans: Blue Lake 274
Peas: Penelope
Vine tomatoes: Rose, Black Krim, Ukrainian Yellow, Moskvich
Kale: Dwarf Blue Curled

Beets: Merlin and Chioggia Guardsmark
Potatoes: Kennebec and Strawberry Paw
Okra: Clemson Spineless
Swiss chard: Bright Lights
Brussels sprouts: 
Fennel: Zefa Fino
Leeks: King Richard
Roma tomatoes: Amish Paste

Garlic: Early Italian, Kettle River Giant, and German Red
Bok choy: Joi Choi
Mesclun: Sweet Salad Mix, Provencal Mix, and Salad Mix
Snap peas: Shiraz
Turnips: Purple Top White Globe
Carrots: Romance and Napoli
Bush tomatoes: Paisano
Sweet potatoes: Beauregard

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

2017 Master Plan: The Patio Quadrant

The final planting quadrant is also the smallest, because it lacks the center C that the others have in favor of a patio area for picnicking. It also has a full bed of strawberries along with existing perennial plantings of roses, rhubarb and lavender, so there aren’t many areas left to fill.

Across the top row is garlic that was planted back in October. When this is harvested in July, it will be replanted with winter green like arugula, bok choy and turnips. The remaining section has Paisano paste tomatoes. 

Along the right side is a short trellis of snap peas, which will shade a patch of mesclun and other spring greens. Right now this is the site of our winter cold frame of mache and spinach, so our plan is simply to interplant the mesclun with these plants in early spring and gradually remove and replace things they bolt throughout the season. There are also both winter and summer carrots close to the house, where they can handle the shade that creeps in during the fall.

There’s also a note about planting sweet potatoes in one of the beds near the berries, where we last year I had bottle gourds. 

And that’s it! We’ve ordered all the seeds (more on that later) and are ready to start more flats just as soon as they arrive. It’s snowing now and will be off and on for the rest of the week, but spring is on its way!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

2017 Master Plan: The Swingset Quadrant

The section of the garden near the swings is always on the easiest to plan. It’s reliably sunny, but two large swathes are already spoken for, with asparagus along the left side and grapes and herbs across the top. 

To the right will be Brussels sprouts and a row of fennel bulbs, along with a large bed of leeks, which hopefully do better this year. Along the bottom is a trellis of peas and a row of Amish paste tomatoes for saucing. 

In the center C are beets, chard, okra, and potatoes. 

And that’s it! This section is full of big plants, or big patches of some of our favorites, so it’s just not very complicated — which is a nice change of pace.