This year, we have the chance to do what we were too late for last year. That is the May planting. In the southern Appalachian region, early to mid-May is the time when all the below-50 degree weather is behind us.
This year, we’ve added a fourth 4X8 garden bed to our yard to make room for everything, which still doesn’t appear to be enough space!
From seed, we planted a variety of greens, peas, green onions, and cucumbers. From plant starts, we planted sun gold tomatoes, Brandywine tomatoes, purple Cherokee tomatoes, orange bell peppers, red bell peppers, lambsquarters, stevia, strawberries, and something called “moon and stars watermelon”. We also decided to try a raspberry bush this year.
Some things we are doing this year to hopefully avoid the failings of last year:
- We put a fence around our new small raspberry bush so that it does not meet the same fate of our blue berry bush which we tripped over several times.
- We are using tomato cages this year instead of stakes. Last year, the stakes worked OK, but we often accidentally broke off major parts of the plant when we needed to re-stake part of it. Of course, it didn’t matter in the end since all of our tomatoes succumbed to blight.
- We planted everything at the right time! Last year, we planted our summer vegetables much too late (July). I’m told that could have contributed to our tomato blight as well as the pickleworm problem we had with the cucumbers and squash.
One reason we ran out of space in the garden (we’re hoping to also plant some cantaloupe) is because some of our fall greens from last year are still producing! Greens has been the biggest success in our garden, which is great since it’s also the largest component of our regular diet.
We are still learning, and appreciate any advice you want to share with us. We have better expectations for this year than for last year. And hopefully we will learn lessons this year that will make the next planting even better still.
I heard recently someone say that it takes 3 years to really figure out what you’re doing. We’re on our way!