It’s a Plan, Not a Mandate

Yes, I have once more mapped out a plan for my raised beds. Long-time readers will know that the odds of the final 2022 Food It Yourself garden looking anything like this plan are small indeed. However, I truly believe that having at least a rough idea during planting season where each crop will grow is important. I am always tempted to over-buy seeds and plants. (Who isn’t?) My plan helps me rein myself in.

The big difference for 2022, compared to most years, is that we are going squash-free. We had a plague of striped cucumber beetles last season. The cucumbers failed utterly. We harvested adequate zucchini and summer squash, but in the context of zucchini and summer squash “adequate” equals “poor”. Our pumpkins produced very well, but the vines were under constant attack. The heartiness of the cultivar overpowered the destructiveness of the pest. The pest undoubtedly left eggs behind for a new generation of enemy. We need a year, at least, to starve out the insectoid menace. I am not a hateful person, but those bugs get on every one of my nerves.

Here is my rough, open to change, plan for 2022:

For reference, the “greens” mentioned above are bok choy (which we have successfully grown for a few years now) and an edible type of chrysanthemum called shungiko, crown daisy, or tong-hao. The Latin name is Glebionis coronaria. I have not tried this green before, but I do like Asian greens in general. If we get a hot spell and it bolts, then the flowers can be dried for tea. I like tea! Worst case scenario: the chickens will eat it. There is really no down side to trying a new type of green when you keep chickens.

The beans in question are the bush-habit-snap-bean variety. I am planning for a mix of green (cultivar “Provider”) and yellow (cultivar “Pencil Pod”). I am hoping to collect enough (and not eat them out of hand) to can come pickled bean salad. I have had the recipe for years, but I have this habit of picking the beans in the morning and bringing them to work to snack on through the day. If you have ever eaten a fresh-off-the-plant snap bean you know exactly why.

I have already started some greens and round one of snow peas.

The snow peas were started along each side of my skillfully constructed support. Criss-crossed sticks will beat any store bought support, I promise you. I started the greens, with their tiny seeds, in hills. When they sprout and grow true leaves, I will transplant them farther apart, and maybe start a second round. We have had luck with bok choy into the month of June. I currently plan to get a second round of snow peas in the fall.

The front yard beds are still un-planned. If the husk cherries I started indoors do not sprout, I may have an extra bed of tomatoes in the back yard and plant the front yard with something else. My strawberry beds need a major overhaul. All of my perennial herbs (thyme, oregano, chives, lemon balm, and mint) need to be thinned. There is so much work, and the New England weather is just not cooperating. We had hail yesterday. HAIL! I may have told my brother-in-law earlier today that if I see Old Man Winter I will kick him in the nuts.

March, April, and even May are unpredictable months in central New England. A wise gardener expects the unexpected. What is Mother Nature doing where you live? How are you adjusting your expectations for your DIYet? Share in the comments! Also, if you see Old Man Winter, kindly kick him in the nuts for me. Thanks!