We’ve had 45 degree weather lately and everything is melting, so it got me to thinking about what I want to do with my big veggie garden this year. Last year was my best veggie garden ever, yet there’s room for improvement. This is my garden layout, which
includes asparagus, tomatoes, zucchini, peas, beans, onions and kale. I will probably plant some garlic and radish in between plants for pest control. Last year I did this same layout with the addition of basil and peppers next to the tomatoes. Those two plants didn’t do very well, and I think it was because it just cools off too much at night out there in my pasture for those heat-loving plants.
So, this year I’m going to try growing basil and peppers on my back porch, which gets really hot and stays warmer overnight because stored heat radiates off the deck and the house. I’m going to use raised planters on wheels so I can move them around if I need to. The challenge there is I have to make sure they don’t get too hot. It can get up around 105 degrees on my back porch on a hot day.
I try to do companion planting as much as possible so that the plants support each other. My asparagus bed is half two-year-old plants and half one-year-old plants. I will probably have my first harvest of asparagus this spring, as you are supposed to let them go wild for the first few years to strengthen the crop. I have a backyard bed where I grow lettuce, and I’m probably going to make a new strawberry bed in the pasture this spring. And of course, I have a well-established raspberry patch. It’s taken me several years to figure out what I should be growing. Instead of trying to grow everything, I’m now growing the things we eat regularly, and things that can either be dried or frozen.
I’m excited and looking forward to starting my indoor starts soon. I have to have fairly large starts because I can’t plant until the beginning of June due to frost. Even with that late start, I will still have to put out frost blanket until the nighttime temps go up. That’s the challenge of gardening in Montana!
I have found a great online garden supplier: www.gardeners.com. I also get the catalog: Gardener’s Supply. Most of the products I have bought from them have worked very well, including my tomato cages, bean tower, pea fences, metal hoops for frost blanket covers, frost fabric, insect fabric, and sprinklers.
Wish me luck!