I’ve written quite a bit over the last 2 years about my garden and specifically about the no-dig gardening method. This year the plan is a little different. I’ll still have a garden, but it will be smaller and use a more traditional planting method.
While I certainly believe the no-dig method works well, this year I decided to only use my two smaller garden beds (plus a piece of the larger one) and fill them with soil and compost instead of the hay, alfalfa and compost I used previously.
The first reason for this change is that our trip to Japan delayed the planting to early May (as opposed to March last year), and the second is that I just didn’t have the energy to build and maintain a larger garden this year. But rather than forgo it alltogether, I thought “smaller is better” and decided to plant what I considered the bare minimum and only my favorites. Considering that last year’s garden had its fair share of failures, if everything I planted grows, I may end up with a similar yield with less time and expense.
This year I am trying to learn from my experiences of the previous years. Due to my delayed planting season and smaller space, I’m not re-planting any of the failures, only the successes. Last year I planted 9 tomato plants, including numerous heirlooms. But out of those only the Champion and Celebrity varieties (both non-heirlooms) and Brandywine (heirloom) tomatoes did well. So this year, I planted two Celebrity and one Champion tomatoes and to get a little headstart, I bought plants in 1-gallon containers. Unfortunately, I haven’t able to find any Brandywine plants this late in May. I may plant one more tomato in June just to prolong the season.
In addition to the 3 tomato plants,I have one zucchini (really, what more does a family need?), one yellow crookneck squash, two Japanese eggplants, 5 (don’t ask) globe eggplants, and a dozen basil plants. That’s enough to keep us in tomato salad, ratatouille, and pesto well into the fall. In all, I’ve spent under $100 in plants and soil.
In addition, I was able to re-use the plastic coated chicken wire I bought last year (to help keep out the little monsters), as well as the tomato cages I built. Speaking of my monsters (and no, these are not Lady Gaga’s followers), I’ve added an extra layer of protection by lining the bottom edges of the inside of the boxes as well as covering the tops.
Do you have a vegetable garden this year? What are you planting? Are you “going big” or doing anything to make the job easier on yourself?