Monday, December 7, 2009
Seed Giveaway Contest!
What is this random rectangle?
It's the new vegetable bed! Tech Support graciously constructed this beauty to my specifications, and now its soil, compost and topping of leaves (hidden under the snow) are mixing and hopefully making a rich base for next year's veggie crops. (I didn't fill the entire raised bed because I got worn out by hauling 40-lb. bags of topsoil and compost, so it's still a work in progress and yes I am lazy.)
Until now my edible gardening has consisted of containers, my herb garden, and a failed attempt at growing peppers in the spot where the rain garden now resides. It failed because that location is way to shady to grow any vegetables, especially bell peppers, but it was our first year in the house and I hadn't thoroughly evaluated the sun situation around the whole yard. Live and learn!
But for the past few years I've been watching how and when the sun's rays sweep across different parts of the garden and how long they stay there in the various seasons. Not surprisingly, the south side of the yard has the most light, and hence we literally squeezed this raised bed into this little patch of the yard. My containers of vegetables grew well on the south side of the house this past summer, and that was in a weird summer with relatively few sunny days, so I'm fairly confident I'll get adequate light here.
What does this have to do with a seed giveaway contest? I'm getting there. I'm already voraciously planning what will grow here next year and how I can maximize this bed, which measures 9x3. I have a trellis for the cucumbers and summer squash so as to get some plants growing upwards. (It's getting put in after the winter so it is not pictured.)
I am focusing on vegetables that I am confident my family will eat, so some decisions were pretty easy. For example, neither of my kids like peas or beans, so I am not growing either of these popular crops next year. Rather than try to heroically turn them into legume-lovers, I'm going to wait until the following year and maybe by then they'll be so excited to eat what they grow that I can slip some peas past them. Plus by then the soil will really need the nitrogen-fixing. But for this year I'm devoting the space to carrots and broccoli, which I know will get consumed and which I spend considerable money on at the grocery store.
Of course there will be bell peppers, but the chili peppers will be relegated to the containers where I can make sure they're in the absolute sunniest spot. I will probably only grow 2-3 tomato plants (gasp!). Why? Because they take up a lot of space, and in general I'm trying to follow the maxim of starting small. I don't want to bite off more than I can proverbially chew. Spinach, onions, Swiss chard and various lettuces will likely round out the menu, although some beets may make a random appearance as the outlier plant.
So, what does this have to do with a seed giveaway contest?? The folks at Renee's Garden sent me two lovely seed collections for two lucky readers, which you saw pictured above. One is the Rainbow Kitchen Garden Collection.
It contains Bright Lights Chard, Tricolor Bush Beans, Garden Candy Cherry Tomatoes, Jewel-Tone Sweet Peppers, and Monet's Mix Mesclun Lettuces.
The second is Basil Lover's Bonanza, which includes Scented Basil Trio, Italian Pesto Basil, Mrs. Burns' Lemon Basil, Salad Leaf Basil, and Green Windowbox Basil. Fabulous!
So here's how it works: leave me a comment with your best vegetable-growing tip, and I will draw two numbers on Sunday, December 13, to decide the winners! Your tip can be general advice about edible gardening, or it can be something specific to the plants I discussed. What should I know about growing and caring for those particular vegetables? What pests or diseases could really get them? Or what's the best variety out there that I should choose? I mentioned I'll only have a couple tomato plants, so what are the downright best heirloom varieties that you just couldn't live without? Or, is there a glaring omission in my choices? Is there something I must grow that I'm not thinking of? Let me hear it!
I will close the contest at 7pm CDT on the 13th, choose the numbers and announce the winners. Your comment will be assigned its number by its order, obviously. Only one comment per person will count for the contest, but you're welcome to keep telling me other ideas if you want!
So let's hear what you got! And you might win a nice present for yourself, just in time for Christmas!
(Many thanks to Nellie and Renee of Renee's Garden for our lovely prizes!)