First Vegetable Garden, First Questions

Monday, March 30, 2009

Okay, so my seeds have only just been covered with soil minutes ago and I already have questions. Here, on Beetles and Bees, is where I will track my first attempt at an organic vegetable garden. I can already tell, there's going to be a lot to learn, but I'm excited. Gardening would be my 9 to 5 job if I could find a way to make money at it and didn't love spending time with Sam and Juniper even more.

But back to those questions I have:

First of all, as I was happily planting my seeds this evening, I looked to the end of the raised bed and saw my cat Priscilla squatting to pee. I instantly shooed her away, but now something has to be done. If my cats see a raised bed as one giant litter box, other cats will, too. For every raised bed, must there also be repellents placed around them? What has worked to repel cats from your raised beds? I knew I was in for a few lessons on how to detract insects organically, but I hadn't thought about cats. Is chicken wire the answer?

Secondly, I have to admit, I loved planting the seeds I could see and easily pick up, but the ones the size of amaranth and the color of dirt are not fun for me to plant. I had envisioned perfect rows in two weeks, but with seeds that small, my rows will be far from prize-winning. I'm not sure what the tricks are to planting small seeds, but I would like to know! They are extremely difficult to pick up, and once I drop them, I have no idea where they've gone, which makes spacing a little difficult. My basil, chive, and thyme seeds will have to be drastically thinned once they've sprouted, I'm afraid. Is this how one fixes over-planting--by thinning?

Cilantro, beans, and peas, on the other hand, were fun to plant! I could see my neat little rows of seeds spaced perfectly in their little trenches before covering them up.

Tomorrow, I will pick up two tomato plants (ideally, I would have started tomato plants indoors weeks and weeks ago, but with all the drama lately, it just didn't happen), and am scouting out a place for a Valerian root patch in my backyard. I want my friend Andrea to teach me how to make my own Valerian root tincture!

Meanwhile, for those of you who have at least one year of experience with vegetable and herb gardening, any helpful suggestions or tips would be greatly appreciated! Please start a comment thread here, and feel free to post anonymously if you choose.

2 comments:

Jeremy said...

Ooh the cat thing really drives me crazy. We are planning on laying chicken wire ( or I believe there's a mesh material you can buy as well) across our garden beds so the cats won't be able to scratch or dig to go to the bathroom. We had a terrible time last year which is why we ended up replacing all our soil this year.

Marnie said...

Hey Karli...we'll get you some heirloom tomato plants just as soon as they're ready. They're still under the grow lights 16 hours a day. Need to be potted up soon. Not sure when they go outside...the ground temp needs to be consistently above 65 degrees, if I remember correctly.

Also, my mom used to sprinkle whole peppercorns in her gardens to keep the cats out. Not sure how effective it was. But it's certainly not as cruel as sprinkling cayenne pepper, which is another "method". --Marnie

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