Saturday, March 05, 2005

This Year's Garden

Today we are planning the garden and starting seeds. I've got 48 square feet planted in various varieties of garlic in hopes that the Law of Large Numbers will ensure that I'll have an adequate harvest, and I'm also going to plant the usual suspects (basil, yellow pear tomatoes, and zucchini).

I made the mistake of promising the kids they could each grow one of whatever they wanted in the vegetable garden this year. Princess, of course, wants to grow Blue Ballet squash; she grows it every year, and we cook it at Thanksgiving and decorate it like a turkey. Sonshine, however, said he wanted to grow potatoes. I asked him why potatoes, and he said because he likes them. I researched a couple of varieties and I decided on Yukon Gold. I thought the early harvest would be great for Sonshine (who got really impatient last November when he tried to plant a "popcorn tree" by burying unpopped corn kernels).

I've never grown potatoes before, so I hope they're easy. I've heard you can grow potatoes in stacks of old tires. We are going to need new tires on the van soon, so I thought maybe I'd ask to keep our old tires to grow potatoes in. The other option I'm considering is building some wooden frames out of 2x6's or some such thing, to stack over the garden bed and gradually fill with dirt. If I do that, I might also be able to grow leeks next to the potatoes. I love leeks. I grew them one year, but I just mounded the dirt up on them as they grew, and it could only get so high. I thought maybe if I put the dirt in higher and higher frames, they could get fat and plump and white.

I am also planning to work on the tulip bed. Last fall I wanted to surround it with cinder blocks (the poor man's rampart blocks), dig up all the old bulbs, and plant new ones. I got all the cinder blocks and all the bulbs. But I only got half the cinder blocks laid, because we had a really wet October and it was difficult to work on the muddy bed on the few days I had to work on it. And I didn't get any of the new tulips in, so I gave the bulbs away. I traded last fall for some xeriscaping perennials that I also wanted to plant in that bed. I was disappointed that I didn't get them in last fall, but now I'm glad I didn't because somebody came through with a snowplow right over the garden bed to plow a path to the fire hydrant. The plants would have been razed to the ground.