Whelp, it's been a minute, We've moved and the process took a BIT longer than expected...but that's a different story, however, a promise is a promise. Actually, it's perfect timing since it's once again...PLANTING SEASON!...well late fall planting season lol
So the question is, what do we plant in our new raised garden bed? A better question is what do you like to eat? After all, there's no point growing things you don't plan to eat in a garden this size. With my wife being a former vegan...who cheated and ate pepper pot...and my bougie palate kids, we tend to eat a wide variety of things. First things first. Find out what's in season for what you're planting...ie there's no point in planting broccoli in the spring when it's a Winter crop. Second, understand that you can't grow everything at once. I suggest planting some general items that you can use in multiple purposes, a few that might be harder to find but you REALLY like and one or two highly sustainable plants. Third, know that different plants have different needs of space, soil content (ie nutrients), sun, etc. Plan accordingly. So, what IS in season right now? I love The Spruce. They have a pretty good list and great descriptors just in case you're not sure of what certain plants are. We approached it like a true just somewhat married couple would...with a guest list.
First, we listed ALL...I MEAN EVERY LAST FRUIT AND VEGETABLE we liked to eat. Then we made an A list, stuff we HAVE TO HAVE, B list, stuff you like to eat and a C list, stuff we like but will either take too long to grow this season, require too much maintenance or a greater understanding of gardening. Then we finalized for each season and organized the garden according to space needed.
Now that we have a list of narrowed produce, we had to get our game faces on.
Now we have to get strategic.
(I know, I know! Some of y'all hate Brady...he's alum so deal with it...also can't be denied much like our gardens...look at that something in common with the Goat! Anyway, let's continue lol) Things to consider: Space- the larger the plant, the more space it needs to grow. This is critical cause if you overcrowd a section of your garden, you may not get the yield you desire. In some cases some seeds may not even sprout due to the larger one taking all the nutrients. IN OTHER CASES, the plant may not grow as large due to struggling to fight for the needed nutrients.
Soil-not all plants like the same types of food. Some need more nitrogen, others more calcium, etc. The soil I described in Double Double Soil and Manure, is your general all around soil that should be good for most food based plants. Essentially your plants are in the ultimate buffet restaurant in Las Vegas and they have their pick of fill for whatever they need. However, if you a liking towards plants that need more of certain nutrients to reach their full nutritional value, size and flavor, I suggest supplements. You can buy them in store OR 😈 you can click here and find out which household compostable waste you can grind down and add to your soil. Have you ever heard the phrase "stick it where the sun don't shine?"...yeah, some plants don't like that phrase either. You have a few different types of plants. Full sun, partial sun, partial shade and full shade. Try to keep similar types of plants together. That means if you choose a plant that requires full sun, you can't plant partial or full shade in the same raised garden bed. I mean unless you have a yard that has an alternate dimensional rift that shares space with your house in an alternate universe where it's permanently opposite day and so full sun means full shade...🙃 Ok, so once you have this all figured out in regard to what works for you, it should be narrowed down pretty nicely. So we have 2 things left to do. Chart out the placement of our seeds and something kinda important like...BUY THE SEEDS! I'm regard to placement, we chose to place the seeds in a way that provided little to no shade over other plants. This way we could full sun and partial sun plants, opening up more options. What this means is planting the taller plants, especially vine types of plants that need braces towards the back, medium height plants in the middle like leafy greens and peppers and shorter plants like herbs in the front. This way when shadows are cast, they don't block the plants behind them from receiving the amount of sunlight they need. Something important, if you're using a stilt raised bed, make sure you angle the garden so the sun passes directly overhead or shines towards the front of the garden where the lower height plants are.
Now that we've got our layout, its time to buy our seeds. Contrary to popular belief, buying random produce from your local supermarket and placing the root, bulb or in some cases the plant itself into the ground won't always yield results. In other cases, they can contaminate your garden with whatever the produce was subjected to in its growth like pesticides, e.coli, etc. Fret not however, alternatives are abundant both nearby and online. There are many places to buy seeds. If you have a farm or farmers market stand, they would be a great place to start. A nursery is also a great place. The great thing about shopping local, many times, they'll sell starter plants or seeds that are local and grow best in your specific climate zone. A started plant is a plant that has already germinated and sprouted. All you have to do is replant it. Be aware, you can't buy seeds from everybody. Many types typically need refrigeration while being stored for long periods of time to keep them from dying and being able to germinate. So if they're not shipping them with expedited service, you may end up receiving a packet of dead seeds. We can go over how to tell if your seeds are good in our next post. Online, you can go to places like Etsy, which is also a great place to get rare and specialty seeds. Do your research before you buy certain seeds. What they're selling might not even be a REAL rare plant...Like Black Squash...Sorry Instagram lol. Here are some other places to source seeds.
So go get your seeds or starters and meet me back here. Next time, we'll be talking planting, watering and all the other things that go into making sure your produce doesn't leave you with an empty fridge experience.