Still, I am looking ahead to spring by starting my garden plan. Fun, fun, fun! I have decided to plant two more perennials - blackberries and kiwis. I am going to plant two or three varieties of thornless erect blackberries. I chose thornless erect varieties to avoid trellising, to make weeding out the volunteers easier, and to make picking more enjoyable. No doubt there will be some sort of trade-off in yield or size or something, but it seems like it will be worth it. The local extension service recommends Navajo and Apache for our area.
I have not yet decided on the kiwis yet. I would have to trellis them, with a big strong trellis, and I'm not looking forward to that. There are two kinds I am considering - the regular fuzzy kind found in the grocery store (I believe they are hardy in my area) and the smaller, sweeter kind that are about the size of grapes. Any advice or recommendations on either?
I am also considering a persimmon and/or 2 semi-dwarf pears for the front yard strip between my neighbor's driveway and my own. The persimmon is supposed to be a very carefree plant, few diseases or pests. Haven't decided yet. I will probably order my blackberries and kiwis from Burnt Ridge Nursery or Raintree Nursery, and I should probably do so soon since planting time for perennials here is March.
I have gotten my Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds catalog and my Territorial catalog, and I will try to limit my seed buying to those two companies, in the interest of minimizing seed shipping costs. The Baker Creek catalog is amazingly beautiful - almost like a magazine and much nicer than their website. I also like Horn Seed, my friendly local supplier just a mile away, and they have bulk items like potatoes, onion sets, transplants, and cover crops when I need them. I bought a Southern seed package from Baker Creek last year, so I actually have most of the seeds I need. My seed collection from the past three years, double bagged in plastic Ziplocs, is now taking up an entire fridge crisper.
This morning I drew out the borders of my (backyard) garden on graph paper for Spring and Summer versions of my garden plan. I decided what to plant based on successes of previous years - what grows and yields well, plus what we will eat and what seems worth it in our small garden (200 square feet?). Here's what made the cut:
- Tomatoes, of course, about two regular plus a Cherry,
- Green beans - bush - I was so impressed with the Royalty Purple variety from last year!
- Green beans - pole - I swear I will make a decent bean teepee this time around,
- Asian bean - Chinese noodle - they look so cool I have to try them,
- Butternut squash (squash bug resistant!) on a trellis,
- Onions to edge the garden, (supposed to be good companion plants),
- Okra (Burgundy - they get to be 11 feet tall around here)
- Parsley, basil and dill (the rest of the herbs are in a perennial section of the garden)
- Sweet potatoes - new this year, but we eat a lot of them
- Malabar spinach - I'm going to try it for summer salads
And in the front yard, I'm going to plant Bell and jalapeno peppers again - but more of them - and zucchini - to try to outwit the dreaded squash bugs that infested my back yard garden last year. Wish me luck!