Let’s get one thing straight. The longer I spend in this garden, the more I realize how clueless I am. How hard can it be to grow vegetables? You drop the seeds in the ground and they grow, right? Let’s hope so.
I finally had the opportunity to start prepping the garden last night. Fortunately there was another veteran gardener working on her area who gave me some good tips. I didn’t realize I had to weed and mulch the path around our plot, but once she told me that’s where I started. I cleaned things up, put down sheets of newspaper, and added wood chips on top to curb weed growth. Based on the amount of wild onion bulbs and weeds I pulled up, I doubt this will leave us weed-free for the season, but it should help.
I was only able to prep the path before the sun went down, so I was out there again at 8am today. It rained overnight so I knew I’d get muddy, but that’s okay. That’s part of the fun. A few hours later our plot looked like this:
I know I’ll have to add a fence eventually, but in the meantime I was eager to plant our seeds. I think I’ll need Will’s help on the fence next week, it seems likes two person job to me. When we do add a fence it has to be metal, or something other than plastic. Apparently animals have no problem chewing right through plastic. Another thing we need to do: add some tall bamboo stakes to keep the deer out. I was worried about our tomato seedling so I added an ugly, temporary cage to keep the critters away.
Okay, back to planting. I got the tomato, sugar snap peas, cucumbers and a row of marigolds in before a torrential downpour and lightning storm rushed me out of there. One thing I’ll never understand or be able to plan for is how many seeds are in each packet. This is a complete mystery to me. There were TONS of snap peas and hardly any cucumbers. How does this compare to the yield when we harvest our veggies? I have no idea. I guess we’ll find out. I decided disburse some marigolds throughout the area the deter and discourage pests, but also because they’re beautiful. If I keep up on deadheading, I should be able to extend their flowering time.
After my weather-forced lunch break, I was back out there in the dirt. I quickly realized I was probably making one of the most common beginner mistakes: overcrowding. When I bought my seeds, I got greedy. I wanted EVERYTHING. I changed up my strategy halfway through and only planted one row of green beans, two rows of strawberries, two rows of marigolds, and had to slightly squish a couple of crops. I planted the zucchini, summer squash, onions, and watermelon as planned. Hopefully it works out.
So what am I going to do with my leftover strawberries, green beans, marigolds, and packet of nasturtiums? Find a place for them in our home garden, of course. I hope it all comes together and doesn’t look too random, but I’m determined to grow grow grow this year!
One thought on “The Community Garden Plot – Part 2”
I enjoyed your post! The best way to learn gardening is by doing, and don’t worry about your mistakes. Even experienced gardeners continue to make plenty of mistakes. A useful guide for estimating crop yields, plants per person, and so on can be found here: http://www.harvesttotable.com/2011/06/vegetable_crop_yields_plants_p/, and another estimate from the LSU extension service: http://www.lsuagcenter.com/en/lawn_garden/home_gardening/vegetables/Expected+Vegetable+Garden+Yields.htm.
I don’t know where you are located, but if it’s in the US, Timber Press has a wonderful series of regional vegetable gardening guides. Look in your local library or bookstore for The Timber Press Guide to Vegetable Gardening in the [insert your region here]. Good luck!