Monday, September 20, 2010

Winter Garden Prep

Our summer garden never really turned out, I'm sad to report. We had a sorry excuse for a harvest. But I became hopeful again this past weekend after spending some time with a few master gardeners, learning how to best prepare for a winter veggie garden. The key is not only great soil, but SUN! Even during summer, our little plants were not getting enough of it. I found myself thinking, real estate agents had it right with their mantra about location, location, location!

The speaker at this gardening seminar spoke so highly about growing lettuce and how it's her favorite thing to grow because she eats so much of it, so naturally since I'm also a voracious salad eater, I was inspired to get out and plant lettuce right away. Armed with 5 seed packets of different varieties, I made little rows in my rectangular container, and planted. I also planted: 2 kinds of Swiss chard (neon yellow and red), the lettuces (Bibb, Boston, a reddish hued one, lamb's lettuce otherwise known as Mache, and arugula) as well as radishes. Tonight, I'm going to plant beets and turnips. By the weekend I want to plant beans and peas again but since these require some supports, I want to put those in place before I plant the seeds.

I made sure to put my containers in a location that would receive at least 6-8 hours of sun. After having spent the better part of the day yesterday watching my garden and logging how many hours of sun each area gets, it's no wonder nothing grew. I was able to find a few choice spots that DO get 6-8 hours and this is where the containers are going.

I thought this whole "container veggie garden" idea would appeal to people who, like me, don't have wide expanses of land just sitting there ready for planting or who don't want to rip their exiting gardens up just to try growing veggies. Containers can be easily replanted and moved if needed. They can be placed on shelving for a more vertical garden (like on a baker's rack set on a patio or some other shelving system).  I also like the idea that the care given to each container can vary based on those veggies' needs. For example, some may need more fertilizer, less sun, more water, etc. than the others, so having more control over the growing conditions of each veggie seems very exciting.

I'm going to try this. According to the packets, I should have lettuce in 45-60 days. I'll keep you posted.

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