Even though it’s still cold out, I am starting to plan my gardening projects for the coming spring. I don’t currently have space to start seeds so will have to get creative.
I love veggies! Especially with this no sugar way of eating, growing my own veggies will really help with the grocery bill. This year I plan to utilize the chicken yard for a vegetable garden and composting as we do not plan on having chickens again until spring 2016. Even though there is a lot of real estate in there, I want to keep it small by utilizing vertical space as much as possible.
My plan is to create two raised beds with a walkway in between. Nothing fancy but just a delineation of gardening space. The chicken yard is quite big and I am actually hopeful we can have a veggie garden and raise chickens harmoniously next year. I have been reading up and there are advantages to this. Their poo is great fertilizer, they eat lots of bugs and you can feed them your not so good produce. If we do this I may have to put chicken wire style fencing around the beds but we shall see what happens. It will depend on how many chickens we end up with too.
Growing up we had a compost bin behind our garage and a compost can under the sink. Instead of a pile I think I want to do a couple of garbage cans with holes in them. These will reside in the chicken yard as well.
If gardening in the chicken yard becomes permanent I would like to set up a drip irrigation system for watering. In fact, I would like to do that throughout the yard. But that will be in a few years.
Potatoes: I came across this really cool way to grow potatoes that won’t take up a lot of room – literally a 24″ square about 33″ tall. I haven’ decided if I will do one or two varieties.
Peas: I am not a huge pea fan. I do like pea pods for stir fry and to dip in ranch dressing. B loves peas so I will grow some for him. This will also be a climber along with the beans.
Spinach: This is not a tall growing plant but I don’t think I need a lot of ground to plant some. Just need sandy soil. I have a yummy recipe for wilted spinach salad [again when I am eating sugar] that has bean sprouts and water chestnuts in it.
Broccoli: B and I eat a lot of broccoli [its our go to veggie] so a small amount of space will be devoted to this plant.
Carrot: I love carrots and really enjoy the different colored organic ones in the store, especially the eggplant purple ones that are white in the center. I learned a secret to cooking really good carrots. If you add a bit of raw ginger to the water it brings out the natural sweetness.
Tomato: I had a Topsy Turvy a few years ago and tried to grow tomatoes on the patio of my condo. It was not too successful as I don’t think I received enough sunshine. I would like to try this way of growing tomatoes again. I also came across this article on how to grow them in a 5 gallon bucket which also does not take up a lot of room.
Beets: I grew up loving beets and when I was married no one in my family liked them so I never made them. Fast forward to current day and I have been enjoying them again. I have learned how to cook them instead of opening up a can which was the way I always had them as a child.
Bell Peppers: I love a good scramble with eggs, meat, cheese and veggies! Bell peppers always make it in. I actually enjoy bell peppers enough [except for the green ones] to eat them raw with some hummus. I believe these can be grown vertically too.
Zucchini: Another great scramble veggie which you can apparently grow vertically as well.
Cucumber: I really enjoy making Tzatziki and cucumber is a main ingredient. I also like to cut it on up for my water. This could be another vertically planted veggie.
Garlic: B and I use a LOT of garlic when we cook and I have heard its not that hard to grow so I am going to give it a whirl this year.
When I was younger I always wanted to buy plants that had flowers. As soon as the flowers were done blooming I became uninterested in the plants. As I have gotten older I have come to appreciate plants for their greenery. We have a couple shady areas of the yard that I want to tackle this year.
Woodland: This is a small mounded area under some trees in between the garage and the house and behind where we park our cars. I want it to stay looking as natural as possible and I want it to define the bed like the photo below. What you see there is mostly different varieties of hosta. I’m uncertain the bush in the back.
Because hostas are not evergreen I plan to plant a ground cover [such as Vinca pictured below – also known as Periwinkle] underneath to fill in during the winter months. It blooms in spring but the leaves are evergreen.
There are some ferns there now and I will add more evergreen varieties but will add some hostas.
I grew some in pots at my condo and come back year after year and I don’t really need to do much to them. I will also plant some Bleeding Heart. It comes in a vine version too!
Lastly I will plant some Solomon’s Seal, Podophyllum and Elephant Ear. The other shady area I want to tackle is behind the house. We have a large group of Rhodies [about five different varieties] that are really tall and that side of the house does not get a lot of sun. I will probably continue what I have in the woodland area for consistency.
I really enjoy cooking with herbs and their scent in the garden. One of my favorite salads is a Caprese [tomato, basil & mozzarella] and I can grow two of the three items in my yard. I also want to have Rosemary, Chive, Chamomile and Lemon Balm.
I am uncertain exactly where I will put a cutting garden yet. I want to grow lots of fun tall cutting plants such as Hollyhock, Delphinium, Larkspur, Clematis, Trumpet vine and Ranunculus.
Other: Other things I would like to plant this year is a Gardenia and a Peony. The Gardenia may have to live in a pot and come in during winter. We have some blueberry bushes that I will pants strawberries at the base of and we need to move our raspberries. I also need to move our Crocosmia [which attract Hummingbirds].
It’s gonna be a busy season!