Spring’s a-comin’!

Hard to believe, as I sit here swathed in my thickest wool sweaters, sipping piping hot miso soup and staring out at the slick, white, 3″ block of ice that is my back garden. And yet, while right now the temperature is hovering at around 24 degrees, the weather service swears that by tomorrow it will be up to 50 – and even better, it will stay up there for the forecast-able future!
Cherokee Purple Slicer Tomato
So I’ve been rushing to get my vegetable garden planned. Unlike last winter, when grad school had me bored into a blind lethargy, I haven’t been able to focus on how sloooooowly the winter days pass, and so I only just ordered my seeds yesterday, about a month later than I usually do. I ignored all the regular catalogues that I usually get, and focused on buying solely from three organic, heirloom seed catalogues: Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, Seed Savers, and Seeds of Change. (All of which could stand to learn a bit about how to streamline the online ordering process from their biggest commercial antagonist, Burpee: but ah well.)
Sugar Bon Pea
I have about 1,000 square feet in my community garden vegetable plot, not counting paths, compost areas, and tool storage, which take a pretty hefty chunk out of that square footage. Still, let’s say that I’m left with about 500 square feet of actual growing space: it’s still way more than I’ve ever had before. In my own obsessive-compulsive way, I planned the plantings up to this Fall – rotaion and succession and everything – down to every 3″ square piece of viable dirt. (Turns out I’m going to need to start 337 seedlings indoors this spring, starting March 16th. And if every seedling pot takes up 3″ square, that translates into a lot of office-floor real estate. I’ve come up with a layered PVC frame that I’m going to make, and suspend fluorescent lights from, to take care of part of the space issue there.)
Delicata Squash
I’m going to be planting a lot. A LOT. 20 tomatoes (10 Amish Paste, and 10 Cherokee Purple Slicing). 500 Sugar Bon peas. 200 beans (50 Dragon Tongue, 50 Kentucky Wonder, 50 Lima, 50 Shirofumi Soy). 44 stalks of Black Mexican corn – an open-pollinated Aztec variety. 10 sweet Perfection peppers, 2 Anaheim chile peppers. 5 White Wonder cucumber vines – for slicing and pickling. 9 Delicata winter squash vines. 15 Genovese basil, 5 Thai basil, 4 Dill, 4 Chives. 9 heirloom lettuces. Close to 40 Tashkent marigolds, as a natural pest repellant. And I already have 20 asparagus, 2 rhubarb, and 12 Heritage raspberries waiting for the warm weather to get their grow on.
Dragon’s Tongue Wax Bean
I’m also growing tons of flowers this year; some, like breadseed poppies, as an actual harvest crop. Some, like zinnias, just serve as a natural insect repellant and keep the beds filled between summer and fall crops… and the armfuls of bright bouquets they will provide are an added bonus. -grin-

But in answer to your incredulous snorts, no, I am not entirely deluded about the amount of vegetable matter that two solitary humans can cram into themselves in a single season. But I have reasons for planting so much. 1) if I don’t fill the beds, Nature will, and I don’t like what she offers. I don’t want to face any more of those evil Gill-over-the-ground runner-plants again. And 2) it gives me an excuse to buy a nice pressure canner and continue to provide for my small family long after this year’s growing season has ended.


“All-Blue” potato
So all those plants will be quite an adventure in organic gardening; I suspect that my main difficulty will be just trying to get them all watered right (did I tell you there’s no running water out there? We have to cart it out ourselves, or collect rainwater). I’m already quailing at all the work it’s going to take, but even so, I can’t wait for it to warm up enough for me to get out there!
Breadseed poppies

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