Tuesday, December 18, 2012

If I Knew Then What I Know Now

So sorry to have been gone so long.  In the last post, I said I had been "under the weather."  Well, that's about like saying the Wicked Witch of the East was 'under the weather' when Dorothy's house fell on her!  While I bear no resemblance to any witch of any compass point, I could consider the name change of "Pitiful Planter of the South" or "Maven of Malaise."  Hmmm...whining is not attractive.  Let's move on...

The title of today's post is...If I Knew Then What I Know Now...
There were a few things I got right from the get-go.  There are plenty more that have been tweaked or outright abandoned.  That's the joy of this hobby / job / lifestyle.  There is always something new to learn or imagine.

  So here are some Things I Would Not Change.....
  1.  I would set up my garden in permanent beds and aisles.  If it is at all possible, I recommend the same to you. Even though weeds have gotten away from me once or twice in seasons past, having the permanent area allowed me to prioritize what to clear and gave me access all through the garden.  Having 100 square foot beds allowed me to plan easily for crop rotation and the number of transplants needed.  Including irrigation as we made the beds has been a huge advantage as the garden has grown.  Watering the garden consists of turning on the water - selecting a zone - and setting a timer.  I have 3 zones, so the entire garden is watered in an hour and a half.
  2. I would still choose to start my garden small - but mostly smart!  Year one I sacrificed one of my 100 square foot beds and planted asparagus crowns (along with some parsley).  I knew I wasn't really going to get asparagus for a few years - each year the beautiful ferns come back, but the shoots are not fat or plentiful enough for harvest. But boy! The wait is worth it!  This year all of us enjoyed full servings of fresh, flavorful, yummy asparagus.  It takes 2 bunches purchased just to give each of the Mavens a few spears - that's $7 in veggies alone!  Not going to happen too often, right? This year was celebrated as week after week we savored this special spring treat. Now, with a little fertilizer and weeding, I can expect decades of spring yumminess. Here's the other first year crop I would recommend:.....Peppers!  Green peppers. Hot peppers. Poblano peppers. Banana peppers. Any kind of pepper you like.  Pepper plants are not terribly bothered by pests - each plant gives you more than a dozen peppers and they save you a boat load of money! 
          Regular green peppers are a dollar each - and that's in season!  Red and yellow can be $2 each!  Ouch!  Here's the real joy - peppers can be frozen with almost no prep! Just slice, freeze on a tray to make sure it doesn't make a solid blob and then throw it in a freezer bag!  The next time you need pepper for fajitas ( or about a zillion other dishes ), you simply pull out the right amount and saute away!  I honestly can't tell the difference between fresh and frozen, but ohh, those months with fresh!  Here's a sampling of a batch that became beef kabobs last summer.  Yum, yum!  Okay - if you don't have a garden yet - how 'bout some pepper plants in a pot or in straw bales?
 Goodness, this is going long.  I have a whole lot more that I would keep the same, and a whole, whole lot more I would change!  I'll work on crawling out from under this house, and you work on getting excited about next year's garden!

1 comment: