I’ve gotten so much feedback on Facebook in response to my cry for gardening help. My dear friend Mimi Pate absolutely jumped in with both feet and I’m going to post her suggestions and help here so I don’t forget any of it.
Remember, people, this is gardening for dummies – I know NOTHING! So, thank you so much, Mimi, for all of this:
“This is what I have learned from 2 years of an organic vegetable garden (not much, I admit!): Chard is my very favorite. You can plant it almost as early as spinach, and it keeps coming all summer long and on into fall. As long as you keep cutting it. I cut the leaves with a scissors. (You can also continue to seed all summer long if you prefer to pull out the chard by its roots when it’s mature.)
Rabbits ate every one of my pea plants to the ground last spring when they got to be about 3 inches tall. Now is the time to plant peas in N Carolina I think. Carrots are super easy, nothing eats them. But I have a hard time thinning them out. I hate to rip out any plants, but you have to give them room. I hate to thin my zinnias too. Oh, your grandmother loved them!
I lose all my squash every year to squash root borer. I thought I could use aluminum foil at ground level on the stem, but didn’t work. Also cucumber beetles put a virus in cukes. (Unless you will use poison, I don’t know the answer).
Note: Broccoli takes lots of room. Each plant is huge.. . French haricots verts are the most prolific. ALL summer you can pick. They’re great!!!!Plant potatoes on Good Friday. (That is connected to the phase of the moon right for roots)
My response: Oh, my gosh! Thank you so much for this!
How big is your plot? I’m definitely planting carrots and broccoli. Broccoli is so beautiful!
And the rabbits ate pea plants! I watched a rabbit sit and eat every stalk of parsley I had one year – and I had a lot! I know that little guy ended up with quite a stomach ache. But he was so cute! Started at the top of every single shoot and ate all the way down to the ground..
French haricots verts? I’ll have to look that up… Oh, green beans!
And, no, I don’t use chemicals.
Mimi’s next message:
“Each broccoli plant took up the circumference of a bushel basket. So give them that much room. You might want to put them in with your perennial border.
I put my peppers and tomatoes in front of my zinnias in my border along the fence row. I didn’t rent a tiller when I dug out my garden plot, So I dug one garden space one year and a matching one the next. Probably about 10′ by 10′ or so (each). With matching curved corners. Kind of a half-moon with a path across the middle. I know that’s hard to visualize, but I am trying to avoid too regimented a look.I started digging out each plot the fall before. And added rabbit shit, compost and peat moss periodically so it would be ready by spring to just rake and plant.
I think that the dead looking ground is SO ugly! (Compared with a perennial garden, for example) so I have put a lavender plant at each corner and I think that gives them a nice definition. The lavender blooms most of the summer, you can cut and dry all season long and give as gifts, and attracts lots of bees. I definitely recommend.
There is a path between the two plots and I was going to put a trellis on each side. HOWEVER, this year I had to try to fence out the rabbits. In June I got the posts intending to do a 3′ chicken wire fence. I was seduced by the dark green plastic 3′ imitation chicken wire. So I used that instead. The little devils stayed out for about a month, then they chewed through it. So I left the posts and this spring I will use the real chickenwire. The rabbits got my peas because I planted them along the picket fence, thinking they would climb up (they–the peas– have to climb on something). They were not inside my protected area.
Also either squirrels or possums climb up the tomato stakes and eat both green and ripe tomatoes. It is SO aggravating because they just take one huge bite, then discard the rest. They seem to be particularly fond of the heirloom varieties. I tried bird netting with some success, but it gets really tangled by the end of the season. . .If I had a handyman I would build a frame and net my whole damn yard!!!!!” (don’t you just love her?)