Garden Master Plan 2010

I spent some time the other day drawing out a rough plan of the garden layout for this year. It's nice to visualize how all the pieces will fit together. In the end, it is probably an oversimplified version as there are plenty of things that I'll end up sticking in the nooks and crannies. Overall though, I think that this gives a pretty accurate representation of how things will look this year.

I have to thank my son for allowing me the use of his construction paper and crayons, without which, this post would not have been possible.


Planning Part 1: seeds

Within the next month I'll be putting in orders to various seed companies for the 2010 growing season. Regardless of the frozen tundra outside my doorstep the time for planting will be here before I know it, so I've been working on getting together a list of seed varieties to order this year. During the last few years I've relied heavily on "Johnny's Selected Seeds", a Maine based company that has good varieties for northeastern gardeners with an organic focus. Although there are still a few items I'll be ordering from them this time around, I am planning to get the bulk of my seeds from the "Seed Savers Exchange." Seed Savers is a Iowa company that focuses not only on organic growing but heirloom seed varieties. The concept of heirloom vegetables is a sound one, and they do a good job of explaining the benefits of this type of growing on their company web site.

So, as of February 16th here is my working list for the 2010 season (with an SS indicating Seed Savers Exchange and a JS indicating Johnnys Select) :

- Apollo Arugla- SS

- Amish Deer Tongue Lettuce- SS
- Australian Yellowleaf Lettuce- SS
- Bronze Arrowhead Lettuce- SS
- Forrellenschuss Lettuce- SS
- Lollo Rossa Lettuce- SS
- Pablo Lettuce- SS
- Red Velvet Lettuce- SS
- Reines des Glaces Lettuce- SS

- America Spinach- SS

- Jersey Knight Asparagus- JS

- Charantais Melon- SS
- Prescott Fond Blanc Melon- SS
- Pride of Wisconsin Melon- SS

- Green Arrow Pea- SS
- Tom Thumb Pea- SS

- King Richard Leeks- JS

- French Fingerling Potato- SS
- German Butterball Potato- SS

- Tolli's Sweet Italian Pepper- SS
- Ancho Gigantea Pepper- SS

- Five Color Silver Beet Swiss Chard- SS

- Costata Romanesco Zucchini- JS
- Soleil Zucchini- JS

- Cornfield Pumpkin- SS
- Musquee de Provence Pumpkin- SS

- Pennsylvania Dutch Crookneck Squash- SS

- Amish Paste Tomato- SS
- Aunt Ruby's German Green Tomato- SS
- Blondkopfchen Tomato- SS
- Red Brandywine Tomato- SS
- Cherokee Purple Tomato- SS
- San Marzano Tomato- JS
- Sun Gold Tomato- JS

- Blacktail Mountain Watermelon- SS
- Moon and Stars Watermelon- SS

- Jewel Strawberries- JS

- Victoria Rhubarb- JS

- Genovese Basil- SS

This list is still a work in progress and is missing some items that I may still add (like carrots, beans and additional herb types). All in all though, I think that this will be pretty close to the final selections.

At some point soon I am hoping to do another 'planning post' in which I list some of the projects that I hope to tackle in the yard and garden during the coming season.


Dreams vs Reality

In my ideal garden world right now I can see the firm green flesh of ripening tomatos and smell the sweet tangy aroma as I brush against their leaves.

But in reality, when I look out the window all is see is white...

I guess I still have a wait ahead of me.


Pages of Inspiration

I got a few new books around Christmas time that have been providing plenty of ideas and inspiration for the coming growing season. Two are by gardener/author Amy Goldman. Her books are carefully detailed descriptions based on her extensive growing trials of heirloom varieties in her home garden. The information is thoughtfully laid out, and the photographs are, simply put, spectacular.

The first book is called "The Heirloom Tomato," and perusing it has given me ideas for a few new heirloom varieties to try.

The second is "Melons for the Passionate Grower" and, as you can see, the photographs in it are literally works of art.

The last of my new books is called "Tender: Volume 1" by Nigel Slater. Slater is a british garden writer and chef. He uses this book to talk about his experiences growing and cooking most of the primary vegetable crops in the home garden. The recipes and information are a good read, and the photos are, once again, outstanding.


Things in the garden, as on the blog, have been quiet for some time now. No worries though, despite the thick blanket of snow laying over my beds the garden season has already begun in earnest as I have been thumbing through seed catalogs, pen in hand. The planning and pondering has begun, which means planting can't be too far behind...