March 31, 2013 by phicks2012
Okay, so this is a rather fanciful title, and I’m really not growing exotic gourmet items in my Castle Garden, but it’s that time of year again when I set out plants that hopefully will generate vegetables and herbs for my table, and I’ve been preparing for this all winter with my Weed Assassination Plan — spraying every annoying incursion of spurge, and bindweed, and crabgrass with herbicide, and turning the soil, and mulching the bed until no sign can be seen of unwanted green. This spring I’m starting out clean, and had high hopes when I planted my peppers and tomotoes and replaced my spindly narrow-leaf sage plant with a more useful variety. I’m hoping they’ll thrive, and when I set out my fierce guardian marigolds, and add a few other new varieties of vegetables or herbs hopefully those will flourish as well.
I haven’t had much luck with broccoli, brussels sprouts and cauliflower, unfortunately, and my asparagus plants have never really generated stalks that were thicker than your average bamboo skewer — and hints on improving that would be much appreciated, by the way. I’ve also had almost no luck with melons of any kind, because they either don’t bear at all or produce small fruit the never matures or spoils on the vine. The squirrels eat my strawberries before I can get to them, and while I’ve generally had good luck with yellow squash my plants last year spread out all over the place but didn’t produce. Therefore, I’m looking to experiment with something else that might work.
I also need methods of protecting what I already have established from the depredations of my local bushy-tailed tree rodents. I have hawks nesting in a tall tree right over my garden, so you’d think they would control the local squirrel population a lot better than they actually seem to do, but between the pernicious weeds and the equally pernicious squirrels my fruiting plants have taken a hit every year, producing very little available fruit for use in my kitchen, so I’m asking for fruit and berry growing suggestions here to assure a better outcome in 2013.
Starting with clean beds, I’m applying fertilizer and some commercial garden soil as well as mulch. I’m trying hanging tomatoes this year to avoid whatever is in the soil that has been causing my plants to wilt and bear poorly over the past two years. I’m well-armed with rakes and hoes and spades — though a .22 calibre rifle aimed at the squirrels might be just as useful as a gardening tool.
Wish me luck, and any suggestions and gardening hints from readers would be a plus!