Sunday, January 30, 2011

Garden Helps

I am not a natural vegetable grower.   I grow weeds well.   I grow herbs well.  I grow some flowers well.   Until 2 years ago, I didn't grow vegetables. [My husband did - a few tomatoes....].    Two years ago, we figured out that our property really did have an altitude problem.    We're in a hollow.  The gardens are in the bottom of the hollow an on terraces up the south end.   The house and studio sit above them.    Our little hollow was collecting the cold air and frosting things out in bizarre ways.   Also, we live in the clay and limestone capital of the word [and I am not kidding].   Drainage was a problem, even on the terraces.

After we built the studio, up behind the house, we realized that the area next to it could be drained and then we could build raised beds full of sand and manure and grow veggies there.    It was backbreaking, but it worked.  I'll post pictures when it's not covered with snow.  

Once we had the beds ready, it was time to plant.   I had a lot to learn about vegetables and luckily our local library has a lot of resources.    Here is my favorite book on growing vegetables:  The Kitchen Garden, by Sylvia Thompson.  [Link below]   Just the right balance of chemistry, lore, basic information and hand-holding.    I actually bought it.

My other favorite tool these days is Clyde's Garden Planner, which is a handy-dandy little slide-rule sort of unit that lets you select which garden area you're in according to when your last frost is, and then tells you when to start planting seeds indoors and outdoors for all sorts of veggies.    On the back, you can see when to plant your fall veggies [radishes, greens...] by when your first frost is.    Here's a picture of mine.  It gets just as much use as my gloves.

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