It's time once again to delve into gardening. I waffled back and forth this year over what to plant. Last year I used the neighbor's raised bed in addition to our raised bed. The previous neighbor was quite the gardener, but the guy who moved in last year was not interested, and happily gave me full rights. I filled it with all sorts of yummy things, but made the mistake of not putting up chicken wire, and as a result the rabbits ate most of what I planted. The only things they didn't touch were the tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers. Unfortunately his bed is nearly twice the size of the one in our yard. With all that empty space, weeds started to take over. I'm one of those people that is gung-ho to work in the garden in the spring, but come July and August I just want to reap what I've sown and have a beer. I was lazy and didn't really deal with the weeds. September rolled around and his raised bed was looking a little more Jed Clampett and a lot less Martha Stewart. I felt bad, but not quite bad enough to do much about it.
You see why I was hesitant to ask him to use the bed again this year, and thus the waffling. There's only room for so much in our raised bed, so I had to reign in my giant garden wish list. Choosing which plants to let go was like trying to decide which kid I loved more, so I finally worked up the courage to leave the neighbor a note in his mailbox. I asked him for one more gardening chance and promised to take better care of the space this year. Permission granted, wish list expanded.
I was all set to order my plants from White Flower Farm. I ordered a few things from there last year and was really happy with my plants. All set, that is, until I saw the grand total. Holy schnieke, plants can be expensive. I had to reconsider my wish list once again, or this was going to be a pricey little hobby.
Would you believe that Whole Foods saved the day? I stopped in for something else, and saw a lovely little display of plants out front. Would you believe that every single specific variety of plant that I was going to order from White Flower Farms was sitting right in front of me, for half the price? And would you believe that each and every plant was grown locally in Bloomington? Score one for the environment and one for our budget.
I also picked up a few packets of seeds. I mostly buy plants – I don't have the space or the motivation to start seeds indoors. These seeds from Botanical Interests are my favorites. This will be the third year I've used them and they always do well . . . unless the rabbits get them first. Now that I have the extra space, I plan to do a combination of vegetables and flowers for cutting. I skipped planting sunflowers and zinnias last year, and I missed them, and the butterflies they attract, very much.
I've already planted radishes, two varieties of lettuce (a Great Lakes Crisphead and a Tom Thumb Butterhead), and carrots. We seem to be having one last cold snap, but in the next week or so I'll plant the green beans (Kentucky Wonder) and these beauties:
Sugar Baby Watermelon
Sweet 100 cherry tomato, along with two San Marzano paste tomatoes, and one Green Zebra Stripe slicer.
And last, but not least, two California Wonder sweet peppers.
I might even get really crazy and plant a few herbs. And then, come August, I'll look back on this post and wonder what the heck I was thinking.