The year the house was built, in 2015, I put together 4 raised beds and purchased dirt to fill them. I was pregnant and had a 1 year old to take care of, so I just bought a few tomato plants from the hardware store and figured to let them tough it out.
Instead, the poor seedlings just sat there without changing or growing at all for the entire summer. Not even weeds sprouted. It turns out the dirt I bought was terrible.
So last year I planted cover crops and forgot about the raised beds. Late summer a neighbor dumped a load of good compost on top of each raised bed.
I'm hoping that between the cover crops, last year's load of compost, and adding a new layer of compost this spring, the raised beds will be able to grow something in 2017.
I'm keeping my fingers crossed!
For this year I'm easing back into the garden since I'm not totally sure how much time I'll have for it with a 2 and 1 year old. Next year I think I'll be able to do a major garden again, but I couldn't stand to not try this year.
So I just sent in my seed order for this year, and I managed to keep the selection down to a reasonable level, and I tried to stick with crops that don't depend on rich soil to give me better odds of something growing.
Here's what I'm going to try this year:
Purple Teepee Bean,
These are supposed to be super productive, and the purple beans are held above the leaves which makes them a lot easier to see and pick that regular green beans. Cooking them should turn them green which is a plus in my book. Easier to pick, but regular green beans when served!
I love ordering seeds from Baker Creek, and just can't resist the tidbits of history they include in their seed descriptions. For this beet they say "... a wonderful heirloom from Denmark, this one is famous for slicing with its long, cylindrical roots. This tender and sweet variety is also known as “Butter Slicer” because of its wonderful texture." They had me at 'butter'. Yum!
Need I say more? A classic. I hope it grows!
Baby Oakleaf Lettuce,
This is supposed to be a more compact version of regular oakleaf lettuce with dense leaves that do well in warm weather, critical when you live in the South. They say it "performs brilliantly under cut-and-come-again management", so I'm giving it a try!
Little Gem Lettuce,
This is supposed to be a mini romaine lettuce that performs really well in hot weather. I mostly use romaine lettuce for my salads since it holds so well in the fridge. I love the idea of having a salad drawer full of crisp mini heads of lettuce, just right for a lunch salad!
Golden Jenny Melon,
I tried to stay away from crops that need rich soil, but I couldn't resist melons. I just had to try for some, and this one is supposed to have shorter vines that won't take over an entire bed and produce smaller 2 lb melons. The online reviewers also loved it's flavor, one person saying it was "amazingly sweet". Mmmm.... I drooled over the catalog just imagining it.
Early Prolific Straightneck Squash,
Another classic. Since this is a new garden I hope I'll have a few years before the squash beetles find me!
Mexican Sunflower - Goldfinger,
We saw this plant at a local museum and each time we were there it was always COVERED with butterflies! My kids loved it, and would stand there and watch for a long time. Through the power of Google I think this is the plant we were seeing, so I'm going to try planting some of my own this year.
One more flower to draw beneficial insects and also provide cut flowers for the house and/or the kids to play with. Beautiful!
Have you put in your seed order yet? What are you going to grow this year?