The arrival of spring has many of us thumbing through seed catalogs making great plans for another growing season. I have a small plot behind the garage but am looking to expand the garden (yet again). I’m a little behind in my planning because of the snow and because I am taking a different approach to the garden based on some interesting successes this past season.
Living in a neighborhood, stockade-style fencing is a typical part of the landscape. As such I have a couple of decent runs of the fence line. Last year I decided to use the aforementioned fence as a new means of growing vertically and grew cucumbers espalier style. I screwed baling wire to the fence that allowed six plants to be trained up and then sideways along the fence. It worked exceedingly well. The cukes formed perfectly straight because they were hanging and were very prolific.
Based on that success I am going to go all out on the fence lines.
I am digging a ditch in front of the fence to get the clay out and filling it with composted soil from my pile. I figure I can get some decent vertical plants and do a line of low vegetables at the base of the fence to maximize the space. We shall see.
For the vertical crops, I’m looking at several types of pole beans. Fortex and Blue Lake are pretty standard fare, but I have never grown any of the long beans, so I plan to experiment with an heirloom seed from Baker Creek called the “Chinese Red Noodle Bean.”
On the other fence where the cucumbers were, I am expanding as well. In addition to the cucumbers I am adding “Metki Painted Serpent Melon.” This is a variant that is in the melon family, but that grows and is used like a cucumber. Sounds interesting.
Burpee is the go-to in the garden community. They are constantly developing new varieties and offer an excellent catalog to peruse their offerings.
Kitazawa is a company out of Oakland California that sells mostly Asian vegetable seeds. A co-worker turned me on to them last year, and I ordered several things from them. They are great for greens and radishes, but the biggest winner was their Thai Basil.
Baker Creek is an heirloom seed company that offers a great selection of uncommon varieties. Lot’s of old-time seeds make for interesting gardening.
FFA Spring Plant Sale – I always buy some plants from the high school greenhouse. They offer interesting varieties of vegetables and pretty spring flowers as well.
I’ve included my seed list for 2014 below. It helps me keep track, and it might be an interesting point to discuss. It’s not a complete picture because I have some leftover seeds from last year and I always buy tomatoes and other plants from the FFA sale in the spring, but it’s my starting point.
What are your garden plans for this season? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comment section below.
2014 Seed List
Fortex Pole Bean
Blue Lake White Seeded Pole Bean
Fairy Tale Hybrid Eggplant
Sweet, Costa Rican Sweet Pepper
Fire ‘N Ice Radish
Fresh Salsa Tomato
Little Mama Tomato
Southern Delight, Hybrid Cucumber, Japanese Cucumber
Kurume Long Eggplant, Japanese Eggplant
Oka Hijiki Mustard, Seaweed Mustard
Joi Choi, Hybrid Bok Choy (Pak Choi), White Stem Pak Choi
Baker Creek —
Bull’s Blood Beet
Metki Painted Serpent Melon
Harlow’s Homestead Okra
Chinese Red Noodle Bean