In a few short weeks Dad and I will be planting our next straw-bale garden. And, in keeping with our tradition, we’re planning on doubling in size from last year. Back in the fall, we bought 15 bales and set 12 of them out to begin composting over the winter. We’ll use the remaining 3 bales to supplement last year’s garden beds.
Now, as the spring teases us, I get to start the fun part of the Winter Gardening- the planning! But, before we dive in, let me give you a quick run down of what the garden looked like in 2014.
Planted in Straw-Bales:
- 8 tomato plants yielding 475 tomatoes
- 2 yellow squash plants yielding 21 squash
- 1 zucchini plant yielding 5 zucchini
- 4 cucumber plants yielding 82 cucumbers
Planted in Raised Beds
- Carrots – lots planted, not as many harvested.
- 1 watermelon plant yielding 3 watermelons
- 1 cantaloupe plant yielding 5 cantaloupes
- Several strawberry plants producing at least 4 quarts of strawberries
- Several 2 and 3 year old asparagus roots producing at least 4 bundles of asparagus spears
- 6 cauliflower plants yielding 6 heads of cauliflower
- 6 broccoli plants yielding 10 heads of broccoli
All in all it wasn’t a bad year. We had some hiccups – but we’re in a better place because of them. For 2015, we’re looking to eliminate the cauliflower and broccoli (easy to plant, produced a lot, we didn’t eat any of it – no need to grow it if we’re not going to eat it). We’re also looking to increase the number of watermelon and cantaloupe plants and switch out our strawberry variety. The strawberries we planted were very bland and had a watery taste. We’re hoping to find a stronger fruit with a heartier berry.
We’ll be sticking with 8 tomato plants, but we plant to spread them out a bit more – they were packed pretty tight last year which was pain when it came to harvesting. We’ll be doing the same with the cucumber – spreading the plants out and allowing more room for them to vine. The asparagus are doing fantastic where they are, and we don’t plan on making any changes to their bed – which is full – so if we plant more, we’ll have to find an additional area to plant them in (but you won’t catch me complaining. I love asparagus).
Finally, we’re going to augment the soil for the carrots – doubling the depth from approximately 6 inches to 12 inches. We had a ton of tiny carrots, but they never fully matured. I think the soil was a big part of this – I don’t think they had anywhere to go. I’m also going to prune them back quite a bit this year. Last year I just spread the seeds and let them go – no culling – which led to overcrowding and malnourished plants.
That’s the plan so far, anyway. Do you have a garden plan for this year? Have you started to think about what you’ll be planting in a few weeks?