We’ve been a bit slow in getting out the spreadsheet (really high-tech graph paper) and figuring out what will go in each square foot of the raised beds and how many crops we can rotate through each square if we’re really organized and diligent. (I was a bit ambitious last year.) Once again, we’re following the square-foot gardening method, planting more intensively per foot and replacing vegetables with others as they’re harvested. As usual, it’s a bit of a juggling act.
Peas were a big hit in 2008; three rows of them, then, alternating with the beans we also liked. The rest of that bed, which was overflowing with tomatoes last year, will be filled mostly with three types of basil, leeks that we’ve started under the grow lights in the basement and some greens that will get the cold-frame treatment. Can’t talk the Brit out of one square of cucumbers; watch for the glut just from that. Hopefully we can time them with the first tomatoes so a lot of them can be turned into gazpacho.
Another bed will have a mix of greens, beets, coriander, some of that rainbow chard, a couple squares of marigolds and nasturtiums to keep down the unwanted kind of bugs. Okra can get another chance since there are seeds left over from two years ago. The new crop to try will be zucchini. Good thing I have a recipe for chocolate zucchini bread. Even three or four plants could produce plenty of baseball bats if we don’t keep an eye on them.
Tomatoes shouldn’t follow potatoes, which makes it hard to grow any potatoes if two of the five beds will go for tomatoes. Scratch them, even though we liked last year’s blue potatoes. Peppers also should be kept away from tomatoes. And they like to hold hands (touch). Put four of the yellow seedlings from our friend among the bed full of strawberries and two rhubarb plants; by the time they really grow, strawberry season will be over.
As for those tomatoes…the big wave of planting will begin around April 1. I’m sure I’ll have a few spares to share.