Tuesday, May 30, 2017

2017 Garden Expansion Overview -- Plants and Strategy

Now with all the field work out of the way, here's what's going to be growing out in the backyard.

I've designated 3 different zones with the landscape fabric. One is spaced with 6" centers, while the other two are spaced with 8" centers.

The 6" zone is for the small, leafier plants. I've planted Swiss Chard, beets, kale, and bush beans. Assorted throughout this area are several garlic bulbs from some old garlic in the kitchen. The big plant in this area is an old onion found deep in the fridge. It's really liking its new home! Eventually when winter comes around, this area will be where spinach, bok choy, and other cool weather greens get planted.

I've split the latter two zones into two areas. One is designated for peppers, the other tomatoes. These areas are both trellised with a fancy PVC structure.

To catch up on the summer growing season, I went out and bought a 6 pack of cherry tomato plants and a 6 pack of pepper plants. For the tomatoes, these are a variety of different cherry tomatoes of different colors and shapes. Since it was not obvious which plant was which upon transplanting, I've designated each with a letter for the time being. This will help me to keep track of any cuttings I take from the plants, or if I decide to breed the plants before I can ID them. Thankfully, 5 of the 6 plants are indeterminant cultivars, so yanking the cuttings won't curtail production.

As a full 8" grid of tomatoes is too dense, I've left some space to interplant in between each of the vines. This area will be occupied by basil and garlic. So far I've found that the resident slugs and earwigs really enjoy the basil. Tomato varieties this year will include Sweet 100, Red Grape, Red Cherry Large Fruited, San Marzano, and Beefsteak.

In the pepper area, I've started with 6 Fresno plants. I really liked this variety from previous years, but none of my seeds would germinate. I couldn't find any seed for them in the local supply store, so I decided to buy a few plants. I'd rather settle with something of a Fresno heat than roast my mouth with something like a Bhut jolokia. The spiciest I'll go with this garden for now is Serrano.

Once all my starts are up to speed, this area will be mostly planted with Anaheim peppers. Fresno, Anaheim, and Serrano will make up the bulk of the pepper varieties. Interplanted here will be basil, Swiss Chard, and Buttercrunch lettuce (if it can survive the heat).

There is the one back area, where I've planted some "orphan plants". I got some free plants from a giveaway prior to having the fields fully setup, so this is where they ended up. There are a few tomato plants (Roma & grape tomatoes) and a tomatillo plant. I have little hope in getting any tomatillos from it due to they fact they can't self pollinate.

That's all for now. The plants need time to grow. Next time I'll cover the vineyard more in depth.

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