I have not harvested anything but lettuce from my new vegetable garden yet; however, my planning for next season is in full swing! To be honest with you, whenever life gets too stressful, I retreat to my “happy place”, which happens to be among plants and growing things. This might be the biggest self-discovery of the year. Back in January I would have never thought that “I’d rather be weeding” will become my motto. My husband says I’m just tapping into my Ukrainian roots. That actually could be the case here.
Anyway, back to my plans
to conquer the world for next year’s wonder garden. After lots of google searching and accumulating tidbits of confusing information, I finally discovered zukeeni.com. I am not affiliated with them in any way, I just really appreciate their service. Zukeeni is an extremely useful garden planning website. Even though it might not be completely perfect, this service lets me design the best layout based on the garden bed size, space required for each variety, plant companion compatibility, etc. Moreover, it generates a handy to-do list based on the USDA growing zone, plant lifespan and other variables. Here is what I came up with:
Isn’t it just gorgeous? I can’t wait to see it all green and thriving in real life!
This is not the only way I plan to up my gardening game next year. I would like to devise a good seedling propagation system. This means we need to get a grow light and a heat pad for germinating the plants early in the year. Eggplant, for example, needs 120 days from germination to reach maturity, so starting inside is mandatory.
I priced a few growing systems and nearly choked from the sticker shock. $300, really? No way! I can purchase a ton of seedlings for that price. But where is the fun in that? One of the reasons I am fascinated by gardening is the whole wondrous process of a tiny seed turning into a huge plant. Fortunately, one can build a decent grow light/heat pad combo for a fraction of this cost.
I might be able to talk my husband into putting together one of these cool germination heat pads. It does, however, seem a bit too elaborate. I noticed that some people just toss rope lights on plywood or even throw them in a supermarket strawberry container, then set the starters on top. We’ll see if we can come up with something efficient and safe using these great ideas. Hello post-Christmas sales!
My seedlings got super leggy this spring so grow light is also a must. I will most likely follow this tutorial, using some fluorescent bulbs. People report great success with those. So why purchase a $100 system when we have perfectly capable hands and some pvc? Just saying.
Speaking of pvc, my next big project is an irrigation system. I’ll be honest with you, spending a half an hour in the morning watering while I can be drinking coffee and browsing facebook is quite irritating. Don’t get me wrong, I love my plants and will endure the dreadful hose caddy just for their sake for as long as they stay alive. Next year, though, things might be very different. I would love to devise a PVC irrigation system like this beauty. The interwebs tells me that pvc is much more efficient than soaker hoses. Apparently, soakers tend to rot in the sun while pvc remains intact. Not sure how UV affects it in the long run though, but it might be worth a shot! Besides, there is less water waste since you can pick where to drill the holes; you can even adjust the flow for plants that need more or less moisture. There is one downside, I will have to remember to turn off the spigot before leaving to work, otherwise my garden will turn into a swamp real fast.
So there you have it, my crazy plans for next year. Am I insane? Perhaps. Am I in over my head? Heck yes! Now I’m off to find places where all 38 varieties of seeds needed for my wonder garden can be bought dirt cheap… Wish me luck!