In the midst of all that is happening with the global pandemic, we as humans, must also find some solace and happiness in the small things of life. It just can’t be gloom and doom everyday, all day, and still maintain our sanity and our emotional well-being.
One of my happy places, outside the kitchen, is my garden. I’ve worked to have a vegetable garden the past several years. Even last year, when we essentially didn’t have a back yard, just a large patch of mud and clay, I attempted some tomato and pepper plants. Sadly, they didn’t do well, but we did get a very small harvest.
Over the last few years, I’ve tried several different ways to garden in the harsh weather of New Mexico, where it’s hot, hardly rains, and when it does, its usually a monsoon where it rains so hard in a very short time the roads turn into rivers. The first couple of years was containers, then in two raised stone garden areas, ending with straw bale gardening the last two years in New Mexico.
While at the bookstore this past winter, a book on square foot gardening caught my eye (Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew). The gist is exactly like the name implies, your garden is set-up square foot by square foot. Beds are four feet by four feet, providing 16 squares of gardening space. Each square foot has a different capacity in which to plant. One square might be a pepper plant, another might be sixteen onions, and another nine squares might be a zucchini plant. The book also touches on how to have a second harvest of certain plants to maximize the space and growth rate.
Because we actually have more of a back yard this year, I will have the space to give it a go. My plan is to have three raised bed gardens. One is put together and filled with soil. The second will be assembled tomorrow, with soil added over the weekend. The third is still somewhere out in delivery land, hopefully to arrive soon.
Because we had great weather today, a shorts and no jacket kind of day, I took some time after work to start some seeds: Tomatoes, peppers and onions. It feels like a late start for these plants, but better late than never. My hope is to be able to transplant them by the beginning of May or shortly thereafter.
This weekend, I’m going to start some seeds in the one bed that is ready, and if time allows, get the second one planted as well. I’m going to cover them both with plastic to create a makeshift greenhouse. Should help warm, then keep the soil warm, protect from the birds, and help keep the frost away in case of a late frost.
If all goes well, many of our dinners over the summer will include fresh vegetables. If it goes really well, I’ll have enough to can some of the harvest to enjoy over the winter too.
Where are you with your vegetable garden?