Back in early January in my post called “Do Less and Do it Better” I described a new perspective I was going to attempt adhere to in the upcoming year. I used this perspective to encourage myself, not to abandon new projects and ideas, but rather start a bit smaller to avoid that overwhelmed and burnt out feeling. One of the examples I gave in that post was that of my past attempt at veggie gardening. Last year I filled my little 4′ x 12′ garden plot with so many different types of fruits and vegetables that it looked more like an overgrown mess by the end of the year than anything harvest-able.
I wanted to post a quick follow-up to that blog post as I have now had that same garden plot planted for just about a month – with MUCH less. Before beginning this year, I decided to seek the advice of those who have the knowledge I crave. What better person to find than one of my most favorite growers at my local Farmer’s Market, Louise! Since I often purchase her produce later in the summer because of the great quality and prices she has, I decided I’d try her plants this year. (Yes, I decided to forgo the “starting seeds” thing for this year and just concentrate on the “growing plants” part.) I explained my situation (the fact that I’m a horticulturalist who knows little to nothing of growing my own produce and the fact that the plants I attempted to grow in my less than 50 square foot area probably could’ve covered my entire backyard) and she was more than happy to share some tips with me! A few things she suggested:
- If purchasing tomato plants (as I did), bury as much of the stem as possible when planting. This concept was extremely foreign to me as I have always followed the same rule of the green thumb as planting everything else: try to situate the base of the plant at the same height in which it was growing prior to being harvested. Nope! Louise told me that by doing this, the entire stem will turn to root and have that much more capabilities to suck up nutrients and water!
- Space my tomato plants at least 2-3′ apart. This meant I really only needed (3) for my entire garden bed area! I think last year I put in at least (15)… 🙁
- Since my garden is along a fenceline, Louise recommended I make the most out of my space by planting something which climbs along the back, behind the tomato plants. She suggested cucumbers so I went with it.
- This left me with space for one more plant. I decided on a bush zucchini which Louise told me can easily be supported for easier harvesting by a peony ring as it gets larger. Sounded easy enough to me!
I am happy to report that so far, I’ve only lost (2) of the (5) cucumber plants I purchased and everything else is still green and growing beautifully. Considering the Milwaukee area hasn’t seen rain in over two weeks now, I’d say I must be doing something right. Although my sprinkler sure is tired!
With hands in the dirt and head in the clouds,
P.S. Have any veggie or fruit gardening tips to share? Do so below in the “comments” area! We’d love to hear them and share them with other readers!