I know not everyone has the pleasure of gardening this time of year, but here in Northern California it is the best time to start the spring vegetable garden. Now I am no expert when it comes to gardening, but I have had a little bit of luck the past few years and thought I would share with you some tricks of the trade that has worked for me. Every year I always learn something new and this year it’s going to be a new learning experience. Why? I am actually growing corn and snap peas by seed. I never grow anything from seed for a couple of reasons. One something always digs up my seeds, my guess it’s neighborhood cats and two, if they are already started it’s just easier to plant in the ground. I will let you know how my corn and snap peas grow. In all honestly, I am not expecting much from corn.
The first thing I do every year and it’s the worse thing ever, it’s pulling weeds. I highly, highly recommend grabbing a little shovel and digging the weeds up. You want to get the roots, otherwise they will come back. I spent about 2 hours digging up the weeds from my garden bed. Once I did that I took a shovel and flipped the dirt. Here is my garden when the dirt was flipped.
It’s a nice workout on the legs flipping! Once I flipped it I could see what was in my soil, I saw some worms, so I know my soil is good. I did add Scotts Garden Organic Miracle Grow vegetable Soil to the dirt, than I flipped it again and then took my rake and smoothed out the soil. This is the garden after I fertilized it and smoothed it out. Notice the one plant in the garden? That is my Oregano. It seemed to survive and came back this year. Oh and that little orange speck, that’s a Marigold that came back from last year. I left him in there.
I started this garden this weekend, because when I came home from my trip from Bakersfield, my Husband bought vegetable plants for the garden. I think it is his way of pushing me to do it. It wasn’t exactly what I had planned, but I am pretty happy now. I ran to Lowes and picked up a few more plants to add to my garden. Once your garden starts, it’s hard to plant more. However I am still looking for Serrano Peppers. My garden has the following in it.
- 12 Jalapenos
- 2 New Mexico Big Jim Chili Peppers
- 1 Poblano Chili Peppers
- 6 tomato plants ( Big Boy, grape tomatoes, Roma, Bush Goliath, 2 German Johnson Heirloom Tomatoes)
- 1 Artichoke
- 4 Burpless Cucumbers
- Snap Peas (seed)
- Sweet Corn (seed)
- 1 Sage Plant
- 1 Thyme Plant
- 1 Oregano
- 2 Basil
- Plant tomatoes and basil near each other. The flavor of the tomatoes will intensify.
- Never plant you plants in the same spot as the previous year. I know this is a pain in the butt, but it prevents any diseases in your new plants.
- Do not plant tomatoes where you had potatoes. It can cause blight in the tomatoes. A horrible disease.
- Plant Marigolds around your vegetables. Insects will go to the Marigolds and leave the plants alone, plus it helps keep neighborhood cats away.
Can we get along? What to plant together…
- Beans, beets, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, corn, cucumbers and strawberries make good neighbors — as long as you plant the onions, garlic, leeks and shallots elsewhere.
- Peppers do well with carrots, eggplant, onions, parsley and tomatoes, but do not plant kohlrabi anywhere near them.
- Keep lettuce away from cabbage and keep onions away from asparagus, beans and peas.
- Spinach gets along with everyone.
I am growing an artichoke for the first time this year. I am kind of excited to see how it does.
This year we also put in drip lines. I have been begging for drip lines for years and now I finally have them. I don’t like to water with the hose because the leaves can get burned from the sun. Once the garden grows, well hopefully it will, the drip lines will be covered by my plants.
This is my garden set-up this year.
I planted all my peppers together in full sun. This was where I had the tomatoes last year and they did very well. I planted the tomatoes towards the back of the garden and on the side where I had my peppers last year. They are going to grow big and to be honest 6 tomato plants is too many. My Husband bought them, not me! I would have been happy with 2 or 3. My Husband also got a Big Boy Tomato plant and a couple of years ago I had one and it grew 6′. I hope this one doesn’t do the same. I planted my cucumbers towards the front of the garden, since they are my Husbands favorite and they tend to get lost in the back of the garden. I planted my artichoke in the middle of the garden so I can keep an eye on it, plus it can grow up to 3′. Last but not least, I planted my herbs towards the front for easy clipping. Ok, not last, I forgot my seeds. I planted the snap peas in front of the trellis and the corn is lined up against the back wall. There is a lot of plants in such a small space. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.
I love planting vegetable gardens because it feels good to pick organic fruit and vegetables straight from the garden. It’s less expensive than going to the grocery store and much more convenient. If you do not have room to plant a garden, grab a few pots and add some herbs in one and a tomato plant in the other. I guarantee you will love it!
One thing I failed to tell you is that we planted our garden in the front yard. A couple of years ago I bought a 2′ fence, placed it around my vegetable garden in the backyard and my dog Sampson, got in the garden and was munching away on everything. It’s not worth the hassle, so we cleared an area in the front of the house. It’s perfect because it doesn’t get a lot of wind, it’s mostly full sun and when I walk up my path to the front door I can see how my garden is doing. Plus no dogs to worry about.
I know this is not a recipe, but this is what I did this past weekend and lots of recipes will come from my labor of love.
Do you plant a garden? If you have any tips, please share them. I’m curious to how to get rid of ants in the garden. Any ideas, let me know!
Have a great day!
P.S. I bought this basket at Lowes and popped it in a pot in the front yard. I think it’s pretty. I needed some color!