This is a journal of my vegetable gardens. Skippy was my first dog and he thought the garden was his, even though I did all the work. But Skippy always stood by me and was a great friend. Now Suzie and Charley follow in his footsteps and garden with me. We're located near Boston (USDA zone 6A). I have a community plot, a backyard vegetable garden, fruit trees and berry bushes, chickens and bees. I use sustainable organic methods and do my best to grow all of my family's vegetables myself.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

New Year's "sort-of-resolutions"

I've made a list of things I'd like to do better, or differently, in my garden this year. Not necessarily "resolutions", but things to try to do. And not too many things. Three seems like a good number.

Label plants better: I think this has been on my New Year's to-do list for several years now. One problem is that I like to use compostable wood labels, but they, hmm, compost, in garden soil during the season. I'm going to use plastic this year. I'd really like to know what's in my garden.

Save more seeds: This "resolution" is an incremental one. I don't want to save ALL my seeds, just a few more. Saving seeds is easy for many plants, saves money, and in the long run can produce strains that are better adapted to my garden. It also gives that sense of satisfaction and connectedness to food and garden. Vegetables to save seed from should be OP (open pollinated) varieties - meaning that they breed true if they are not cross pollinated. They should also be varieties that I love to grow every year. I save a number of flower seeds, but not many vegetables. Here's my list to try for: (* means one's I already save)

     Basil: Superbo
     Beans: Maxibel, Jumbo, Shung Wang*, Wax pole*
     Corn: Baby Golden Popcorn
     Peppers: Thai Hot*, Joe Parker Numex  
     Soy Beans: R Swain Green
     Tomato: Opalka, Polish Linguisa, Mortgage Lifter

This list has 12 varieties. Three that I already save: two pole beans and a pepper. Ten additional varieties. Beans, peppers, soy beans, and tomatoes are easy to save since cross pollination is rare. Corn bees will be easy for me - even though they cross pollinate I'll only grow one variety of each.

Prepare my soil better: Good soil is the most important thing for a vegetable garden. Mostly this requires soil tests (every 4-5 years is good), addition of appropriate amendments, and usually lot's of compost. But it's easy to skimp on compost if time is short. I'll make it a priority in the spring to test and appropriately amend my soil.

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