The days are lengthening, and hope is returning to humankind! I feel like starting something new--something that will complement the slow, gradual fade-out of the pandemic rather than put me and my family at premature risk. Instead of making travel plans or even party plans beyond distant daydreams, I'm confidently moving ahead on plans to grow a new and improved vegetable garden this spring. I'll use compost and wisdom that I've collected over the past 15 years on the ol' homestead, and I'll re-start my veggie garden using a mix of tried-and-true and new techniques.
Over the years, I've learned which edible plants grow best on my suburban Michigan property: beans, peas, corn, cabbage, onions, garlic, sunflowers, potatoes, tomatoes. This year, I'll continue tending to my fruit and nut trees and only plant a few seasonal veggies that I can trust to thrive--unless a fun opportunity comes along, like when someone gives me a plant as a gift or my daughter brings home a seedling from school.
Before I had my daughter, I double-dug 200 square feet of my lawn for a traditional food garden. Now, the surrounding trees have matured so much that there isn't enough sun for an ambitious plot in my back yard, plus the deer and other wildlife are plentiful and comfortable there, and I don't want to engage in an ongoing battle against the floofy woodland creatures and the healthy ecosystem they support.
This year, I'll focus on growing just a few veggies in my front yard, where there is more sunshine and less habitat for my wild neighbors. Critters are less comfortable in the smaller area bordered on three sides by bustling driveways and road, so I don't need to do as much to deter grazers.
To avoid heavy metal pollution in soil that is so close to busy roadways, I will plant most of my crops in containers filled with healthy and customized growing materials. Planting in containers will also allow me to move the plants around for weather protection and to optimize sunlight.
It's BEAN a long time since I bothered with vegetable gardening, but I'm looking forward to getting back into the dirty, sweaty, sunshiny habit! If you're with me, happy planning and happy planting!