A long winter’s nap

This post is not about knitting.  One of my purposes in naming this site Entangled was that I cannot easily compartmentalize my life.  Things overlap and tangle together.  Knitting will be my mainstay here but I will not stop other bits from creeping in.

This one is about gardening, which I am as passionate about as knitting.  I’ve only been knitting for 6.5 years but I have been gardening for 15 years or more (veggies for 7 or 8 years).  Not that I claim wisdom, I just like to get dirty and figure things out as I go.

I have a fairly large organic vegetable garden.  Four raised beds that are 3’x24′ (288 sq ft).  We only moved into this house 11 months ago so the garden is brand new.  There are almost no plants around the foundation so I tossed vegetables in there when I ran out of room.  We hope to get around to real foundation plantings in 2009.

Here’s what I planted in 2008 (* means it was new for me this year):

  • cabbage*
  • broccoli*
  • kale*
  • onions (from seeds and sets)*
  • spinach
  • carrots, several varieties
  • arugula*
  • mustard*
  • potatoes (All Blue*, Russian Banana fingerling, Onaway*)
  • peas, snap and shelling*
  • peppers, hot, med, and sweet
  • chard
  • beets
  • cutting celery*
  • parsnips*
  • tomatoes, several varieties
  • tomatillos*
  • leeks*
  • beans, pole* and bush
  • squash, winter and summer
  • cucumbers, pickling variety
  • sunflowers
  • sweet potatoes, garnet
  • scallions*
  • herbs: basil, parsley, thai basil, rosemary, french tarragon, etc etc

Each plant has its own story but today is for overview.  Perhaps the individual stories will trickle out over the course of the long, dark winter.

My star of the year was the cucumbers.  I have tried them twice before and had the plants die.  This year, they went into the cabbage/broccoli bed somewhat late in the season (sometime in July?) and omigod, went gangbusters.  Because, of course, they are related to the mighty zucchini.  I look forward to growing them again next year.  If I get them going early enough, I will probably do two crops because, also like zucchini, the vines just wear out.  Some consider this a blessing but I am up for the challenge.  I have no shortage of pickle-lovers in my life.

My big disappoint of the year was the squash, particularly the winter ones.  Something killed the vines but I was never able to identify what.  I’m guessing vine borer.  I was using row covers but I guess I will do that more religiously next year.  And longer.  And not reuse that bed for any curcubits for four years.

I love to spend my winter dreaming about next year’s garden.  I read books, draw plans, write lists, order seeds, and come April or May, when it starts to get busy outside, I toss all that paper in the corner and fly by the seat of my pants.  I figure the planning is a survival tactic.  In Michigan it is cold Oct-Dec, then snowy or icy Jan-Mar.  One does what one must.