December 31, 2012 by Kriscinda Lee Everitt
Today—after a few days of relentless snow—Big A finally has the time/car to go get some good winter tires. With the stupid shape of the mouth of the driveway at the road (a sudden steep, short dip down, then levels out) even a few inches sends us sliding back down and into the neighbor’s yard. Saturday, both of our neighbors came to the rescue with their snow blowers—one early in the morning so Big A could get out of the driveway and off to work, and then the other during the day so the drive would be clear and he could get back in. While we have been very unlucky in some ways, we’ve been very lucky in others.
That said, while there is a foot + of snow burying everything, now is as good a time as any to start obsessing over the garden. Or, as we will be calling it: Whateley Farms.
A couple of weeks ago or so, I blogged about being excited about the upcoming growing season and ordering seeds and such. In that post, I thought maybe we’d be able to get eight 4’x10′ or 12′ beds in the garden plot behind the barn. Ha! I have since measured that space—also, Big A and I decided to go ahead and expand it—and we’ve got about eighty-six feet by thirty-seven feet to work with. For someone who’s only ever had a small bucket garden at an apartment once, that’s a lot of space!
I sat down with a sheet of graph paper and plotted out our garden. I figured out where, how many, and how big the beds can be and what will go where. We have space for eight 4’x8′ beds, thirteen 4’x12′ beds, two 2’x12′ beds, four 6′ triangular beds, and two 2’x2′ boxes. Also, at one end we’re making space for a kiddie pool to grow watercress in and on the other end we’ve got a 12’x12′ area as a little hang out space—set up a couple of chairs, a little table, and it’s evening wine-/beer-/whisky-drinking time amongst the greenies!
I’ve gone through my seed catalogs and we’ve decided what we want to order and grow. Ready for this?
- Cherokee Trail of Tears Pole Beans
- Henderson Bush Lima Beans
- Country Gentleman Corn
- All Blue Potatoes
- Detroit Dark Red Beets
- Calabrese Broccoli
- Red Acre Red Cabbage
- Catskill Long Island Improved Brussels Sprouts
- Scarlet Nantes Carrots
- Straight Eights Cucumbers
- Boston Pickling Cucumbers
- Black Beauty Eggplants
- Red Russian kale
- Sylvetta Arugula
- Prize Choy
- Bloomsdale Spinach
- Forellenschluss (“Speckled Trout”) Romaine Lettuce
- Yugoslavian Red Butterhead Bibb Lettuce
- Peil de Sapo (“toadskin”) Melons
- Moon and Stars Watermelon
- Green Arrow Peas
- Chinese Five-Color Hot Peppers
- Royal Black Hot Peppers
- Sweet Banana Peppers
- China Rose Radishes
- Black Beauty Zukes
- Yellow Crookneck Summer Squash
- Waltham Butternut Squash
- Connecticut Field Pumpkins
- Radiator Charlie’s Mortgage Lifter Tomatoes
- Amish Paste Tomatoes
- Old Fashioned Red Cherry Tomatoes
- Mammoth Sunflowers
- Lettuce Leaf Basil
- Holy Basil (please sing to Dio’s ‘Holy Diver‘) \m/
- Cat Nip
- Bouquet Dill
- Echinacea Purpurea
- Creeping Thyme (obviously, please sing to Metallica’s ‘Creeping Death‘) \m/
- Greek Oregano
That’s a lot. But, I think if I plan well, we can pull it off. Some of the herbs will go in pots on the porch off the kitchen, or in both areas. As in, maybe a couple of lettuce basil plants on the porch for easy access, but I plan on definitely having quite a few plants in the garden. That said, the holy basil (\m/) is, apparently, self-seeding, so we might try strategically placing it around the property and just sort of let it go. We can harvest it like we will the other things around the yard, like the asparagus, the blueberries, etc.
Not on the list (because I wanted to surprise you) are…wait for it…peanuts! Carwile’s Virginia Peanuts, to be specific. We might be too far north to pull it off, but I thought we’d give it a shot anyway! I’m also planning on getting seeds for Mixed Color Broomcorn (sorghum), which I haven’t decided yet where it will go, and some Nankeen Cotton. I’m going to grow my own cotton! I’m hoping to nurture enough plants to begin lining the driveway going up to the barn on one side. And I’m planning on spinning it and using it to make things.
We’re shooting high right out of the gate. We figure, it’s going to be a lot of work whatever we do, so we may as well go all out. That way, we can reap as much as we possibly can from our labors. Some of these won’t take, I expect that. Some plants will go like mad and others won’t. Starting from seed is a real chore, but it’ll be worth it later when I can say, “These plants didn’t come from Home Depot.” Many are heirlooms, many are organic. And I’m not spraying them with anything but homemade, organic fertilizer. Even with whatever might fall by the wayside, this is going to be a whole lot of good, tasty, healthy produce, and I plan on filling that massive chest freezer downstairs to the top.