Garden Plan for 2012

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Ok, so after the bombshell that was my last post, let’s go back to normal topics for this blog.  Every spring, I get the itch to grow things.  It normally doesn’t start until after the farmer’s market opens, where many of the farmers offer young plants, enticing me with their fresh green leaves.  The last couple of years I’ve overextended myself.  I tried to grow more kinds of veggies than I normally like, herbs that I’d never used fresh, and just not keeping up with the maintenance.  This year I decided to try and keep it simple.

Above is a sketch of what I’d like to do for my “garden” this year.  I don’t have a backyard, so it’s all in containers that will be by the front and back doors.  I’ve limited myself to tomatoes and herbs mostly.  The spillers are probably going to be a small pickling cucumber plant (for homemade pickles!), and maybe a strawberry plant or two.  The cucumber will depend on if I can find a container friendly variety from the local nurseries.  Now, I may end up overextending myself again.  I’ve never grown cucumber before, and my success with strawberries has been, well, non-existent.   But I wanted to try and make the pots look nice (as they’ll be sitting next to my front door), so I needed some more ideas.

The formula for making a pretty container is to use “a thriller, a filler, and a spiller”.  A thriller tends to be a plant that is tall and catches attention.  A spiller falls over the side of the pot.  And a filler bridges the space in between.  Now, you don’t have to follow this, of course, but I thought I’d try.

The mint is in a separate pot for three reasons.  First, mint can take over a container very quickly, so it’s best to give it a boundary.  Second, it will add a different point of visual interest in that pot, mainly because…Third, last year my basil plant got huge!  It just kept growing and growing, and got taller and taller!  I couldn’t eat basil fast enough to keep up.

The rosemary pot I will be keeping in the back.  I’m going to try and shape it into a topiary.  Supposedly rosemary is very good for that, and the spilling thyme around the base will make it look not so sad while it’s being shaped.  Plus, thyme and rosemary like similar environments, so putting them in the same pot makes sense.  The stevia and the lettuce may need to be in separate pots.  Last year, it got so hot the lettuce really couldn’t survive outdoors, even in the shadier back area.  Stevia, on the other hand, loves the heat.  So I may need to have my lettuce pot indoors and leave the stevia on its own outdoors.

The other thing that I’ve learned over the past couple years is that the plastic pots are awful here.  They get blasted by the sun, and all of them have that awful “water saver” thing that just ends up grimy, gunky, and a home for spiders.  So this year I’m throwing out all my plastic pots and getting some in a different material.  Probably terra cotta, even though I hate the feel of it.  I’m also getting fresh potting soil, as my stuff is at least three years old and is probably full of weed seeds, diseases and who knows what else.

So that’s my plan.  We’ll see once April gets here how well it goes.  What’s your plan?  Do you have a green thumb, or are you like me and tend to kill plants?

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