A Year in the Garden: The Plan

May 5, 2010 § Leave a comment

“Whatever you think you can do or believe you can do, begin it. Action has magic, grace and power in it.” —Goethe

I bought a book called Golden Gate Gardening, which is all about how to grow edibles and flowers in the Bay Area’s multitudinous micro-climates. It tells you, among other things, which vegetables are likely to succeed or fail in your specific San Francisco neighborhood, how to renovate your soil and how to deal with pests (who knew that you could trap earwigs with beer?).

It even tells you how to build something called a sheet compost pile — including the fact that you can activate it with your own urine! My husband has been incredibly supportive of my gardening project, but when I told him this, it was clear he thought I’d gone to the crunchy-beyond-belief dark side.

In short, this book inspired me to create a real, long-term plan for the garden:

June-September 2010: Preparing

  • Pre-sprout the weeds in the future vegetable beds (pre-sprouting, I learned, is where you dig up the weeds and their root systems; water; let weeds grow back to a few inches high; weed again; and repeat, the point being to exhaust all weed seeds lying in evil wait in your soil)
  • Get the soil tested by a lab to determine what amendments and fertilizers are needed
  • Renovate the retaining walls and structure of the yard

October-December 2010: Renovating Soil & Starting to Plant

  • Plant favas as green manure in existing vegetable beds (meaning that when they’re 8-10 inches high, I’ll dig them in and let them rot to add “organic matter” to the soil — a term that shows up in many gardening tomes)
  • Plant early spring vegetables in the new raised bed we’ll build: favas to eat, garlic, shallots, maybe rhubarb
  • Start some seeds indoors (broccoli, perhaps)

January-March 2011: Fertilizing, Planting & Hopefully, Eating!

  • Fertilize the soil in early January
  • Plant wintry greens: collards, kale, Swiss chard, arugula, leeks, maybe Chinese broccoli
  • Plant asparagus starts to enjoy in a year (ever since I read Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, in which she described the mysterious-looking plant, I’ve wanted to grow asparagus…plus, I’m already dreaming of spring panzanella with asparagus and leeks and home-made garlic croutons, grilled asparagus, blanched asparagus with a poached egg and prosciutto, shaved asparagus salad with parmesan….I’m hungry)

April-June 2011: Planting & Hopefully, Continued Eating!

  • Plant colorful summer vegetables: beets, tomatoes in pots, summer squash, mesclun, maybe carrots, radishes and small hot peppers

A year in the garden to see what can happen and how it all tastes!

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