Sunday night, I went to bed early, but found it difficult to sleep. Instead, I spent most of the night staring out the window toward the raised beds I built this fall. In my head, I made plans for where things would be planted this spring.
In the upper bed, I will plant squash every two feet along the southern edge. In between, cucumbers will grow on a trellis I need to build. To the north, I'll plant pole beans. The trellis will span the beds leaving room in the center for a few companion plants like nasturtiums and herbs. They'll help protect my squash from certain bugs and provide flavor for summer recipes.
The two lower beds will hold tomatoes. Last year, I started my tomatoes on February 8, indoors, under lights. I'm waiting two more weeks this year. Spring is forecast to be cooler and arrive later than normal. That being the case, waiting makes sense. I just hope the Farmers Almanac is right.
This is the plan. I'll have 36 tomato plants, each with 1.5 square feet. Since they are all indeterminate varieties, they will need to be staked. I am still working on that problem. The goal is to grow enough tomatoes to can one quart for each week during the winter. I still can't eat what grocery stores try to sell us.
The upper bed needs more amendments to the soil. I'll take care of this in April when I remove the hoophouse. If my compost isn't ready, I'll buy bagged compost, peat, and perlite. I'm hoping for a dry spell in the near future so I can pick up some horse manure from a coworker. There's still a chance that I will build one more 4' x 8' bed next to the two lower beds. That may have to wait until fall again. Getting the soil right is the most important part of the equation. Lots of nutrients are needed to grow vegetables in such small spaces. I feel pretty good about what I've done so far. My cabbages will be planted out this week, if I can get the bottles to use as cloches in the lower beds. Carrots have germinated too. They'll mostly be harvested by the time the tomatoes are ready to be planted. But just in case, I'll plant these along the grid lines rather than in the spaces that the tomatoes will occupy.
It's another cold, rainy day here. It's 36 degrees and cloudy. By noon, the rain will be moving in. High wind advisories are in effect for this afternoon as well. The ground is still soggy and wet. The 10 day forecast shows us finally returning to normal February weather in about a week. Highs in the 50s, lows in the 30s are the average. I can't wait.