(1) We got married in Austin, TX on February 27
(2) We both started new jobs last fall
(3) We weren't really growing anything, which is both a symptom of our busyness and a cause for lack of blogging
All valid excuses, we'd like to think, but now we're back with a vengeance. As much as a vengeance as one might exert for gardening, that is.
Last year was all about learning. Perhaps it's obvious to some of our readers, but to those we fooled -- we were blindly finding our way last year. We had the books, we had a lot of good advice from family and friends, but mostly, we were throwing a bunch of seeds in the ground to see what stuck.
A few things we learned last year:
(1) The seed spacing suggested on seed packets is there for a reason. When you put plants too close together, they don't reach their full potential, and they may even rot.
(2) Some crops just aren't worth it. For example, our carrots were no better than the carrots we buy at Alameda Farmer's Market. Those carrots cost next to nothing most of the year, and for the time and effort it took to grow a few 3" carrots, we could have bought a bushel. This year we'll be focusing our crop selection more stringently.
(3) Get someone to water your garden while you're away for a week, or install drip irrigation.
Our action plan based on this new knowledge:
For (1), there was a quick fix. Today when we planted, we fastidiously placed our seeds 1/2", 1", or 2" apart as stated on the seed packet.
For (2), more thought was required. The criteria being considered during crop selection were:
- Frequency of consumption at Chez Thunderwood
- Cost at competing groceries/farmer's market
- Differential in taste/quality between home-grown and grocery/farmer's market
The carrot fell down on all 3 criteria - because we don't eat it often, it's cheap to buy, and it taste the same. Arugula, on the other hand, wins on all 3 - we can find a use for it at all 3 meals, it's $2-$4/bunch, and it really tastes amazing straight out of the ground. Assuming that other greens would equally qualify, we went all out on greens and herbs. Our crops for this year:
- Green and red leaf lettuces
- Bibb lettuce
- Romaine lettuce
- Radishes (these were particularly good last year)
- 2 tomato plants (down from something insane like 10 last year, none of which flourished)
- Tons of herbs: rosemary, thyme, spearmint, tarragon, plus our existing oregano
For (3), we will be taking volunteers for tending the garden should we go out of town. No plans to for now though - we're very happy to stay home and watch our garden grow.