Thursday, May 28, 2009
When engineers garden
"2009: Best Garden Ever" is well underway in my backyard. I fought the urge to map it all out on CAD and bring in a surveyor friend to lay out the rows... after all, it's only 15 x 15. Plotted it on graph paper instead. But I will have as-built plans, after last year's "where did I plant that one thing again?" experience.
Other lessons learned from last year:
-two feet between tomato plants is NOT enough. Especially next to a fence, when it rains a lot, when there are slugs, or all the above.
-leave lots of room for zucchini. And watch them, they're sneaky-fast: today's cute little squash can become a pithy baseball bat overnight. I hear that squash blossoms are yummy when battered and fried, but I have yet to catch one at the right stage.
-exercise caution when making your own soaker hose. Holes too small = dry dead plants, but holes too big = swampy mess.
New garden experiments:
-plant parsley, basil, and cilantro between tomato plants. The first is reputed to be a good companion plant for tomato, the second tastes good with tomato, and the third I just like. Especially in that salsa they make at Baja Fresh, mmm.
-sprinkle marigolds thinly along edge of tomato row, and don't let them take over. Last year's marigolds had Napoleon complex.
-put green beans and eggplant next to each other. After the peas die out, that is. And make sure they have good tall supports to climb on, lest they invade neighbor's fence again.
-speaking of climbing, shoulder-high tomato cages are not tall enough. I don't know what kind of tomato crack is in my otherwise disappointing clay soil, but those puppies grow up the inside of the cage and back down the outside. This year I'm thinking Tomato Trellis... but so far lacking time and construction materials.
-weed-block paths between rows with newspaper and mulch = recycling AND good for the soil.
Lessons already learned this year:
-cover strawberries with netting or prepare to share with the birds.
-you can eat chive flowers, but your breath will be Fierce for hours afterward, so plan your social life accordingly. Altoids won't help.
Happy gardening, y'all!