Under the Grow Lights
This year, just like last, the grow lights are nowhere near as cramped as usual. The main reason for this is that we are revamping the side yard vegetable garden which contains 8 of our raised beds (Area #1). The original plan was to redo that area last year...and then we had a pandemic and most plans, including that one, flew out the window.
So 2021 is the year. All the beds (old and new) in that area will be out of commission for most, if not all, of the season. While the actual building of the beds is a relatively quick process, everything else that goes along with that (such as filling them, mulching the paths and redoing the drip irrigation) takes much more time. And just like last year, I'm planning on doing this at my own pace & not stressing myself out with deadlines. I spoke about my New Approach to the garden last July and I intend to stay the course on that - more enjoyment & less pressure is the name of the game.
|Lettuce will be on the hilltop this year - a little less convenient,|
but you gotta do what you gotta do
Most of the vegetables will be grown in the 6 hilltop beds this year, plus one of the beds in Area #2. This last area has 4 beds, but one is occupied by strawberries and another is completely falling apart and has to be removed. Since my husband is not fond of the beds in that spot, I'll likely not be replacing them and that area will eventually become an ornamental bed or I may plant a fruit tree or two. So that leaves 2 beds, one of which will be for cutting flowers while the other will be for vegetables.
Going from 18 beds all the way down to 8 means that I've had to be very selective when it comes to what I grow, both in terms of the "what" as well as "how many". No need to juggle with trays, pots and cell packs under the lights this year - there is more than enough room to spread out.
|Eye spy...the final tray of last years onions underneath the light stand, lol!|
We'll start with the ornamentals, some of which are going in the ground while others are going in the cutting flower or vegetable beds. First up are the Gaillardias - I'm growing 3 different varieties this year:
|Gaillardia 'Double Sunset' & 'Indian Blanket'|
|Marigold 'Orange Flame'|
|Nasturtium 'Orchid Cream' & 'Moonlight'|
|Gomphrena 'Mandarin Orange'|
|Salvia coccinea 'Summer Jewel Lavender'|
|Tithonia 'Red Torch'|
|A tray of sunflower starts|
I just have to figure out how to keep the bunnies away from them
so that they don't get decapitated like they have in years past!
|Lemon & Custom Blend basil |
|Profumo di Genova & Dolly basil|
|Stuttergard, Wethersfield Red & Brunswick onions|
I'm only growing one bed of tomatoes so will be concentrating primarily on the paste varieties: Amos Coli, Opalka, Chico III and Striped Roman. I've also included one of my favourite cherry types, Mexico Midget, as well as a new AAS favourite I first tried last year, Apple Yellow. I have my fingers crossed for a good tomato year as I need to restock the freezer!
|The tomato starts have been sluggish this year - so far,|
only Chico III and Striped Roman have germinated
|Turmeric (front, left) & ginger (back, right)|
|On this tray we have:|
Kohlrabi (Kolibri & Vienna), lettuce (New Red Fire, Black Seeded Simpson,
Mignonette Bronze, Tropicana), heading cabbage (Coracao de Boi Temporao),
kale (Red Ursa & White Russian) and flatleaf parsley.