A couple of weeks ago our neighbor Melissa pulled into our driveway and asked if I would be interested in joining them in a gardening adventure. Well, yes! We just don’t have much sun on our place, and they do. Plus their property abuts ours, so it should be fairly convenient to garden there.

Today she called and invited me over to talk over the plans. Now I’m not an expert gardener by any stretch of the imagination. My parents always had a big garden when I was growing up, and I always helped with that (not necessarily willingly, but boy am I glad I did it now). I’ve dabbled in gardening a bit as an adult, but have always been restricted in what I could do. All of these things combine to give me more gardening experience than my neighbors.

So I went over (with Beth in tow – they have a daughter her age), and we talked about plans. They want to put in five or six raised beds, 4’x16’x10″. Don will pick up some composite lumber tomorrow, and I’ll head over after work. We’ll set up the beds. Then they are going to order up some loam. By my calculations, they will need 12 yards.

The beds will be aligned east-to-west in three rows. The southern-most beds will be 4×4 rather than 4×16. We’re going to try square foot techniques there.

My suggestions were that we should plant the tall plants on the north side so they wouldn’t shade the other plants. Actually, the tallest of these will be planted along the back of that row, and we’ll plant squash, pumpkins, and melons along the front of that row. The second row will have bush plants – tomatoes, broccoli, eggplants, etc. The 4×4 beds will hold the smaller plants, and we will plant them in grids rather than in rows. These will include radishes, lettuces, chards, onions, etc.

They also bought some turnip seeds, but I recommended that they save those for planting later in the year after the other things give up. Mom and Dad always planted those in the early fall, and as I recall, they would sow the entire garden in turnips about then. I guess that was as much to keep the weeds from taking over as it was to grow something edible.

The seed pack shows that turnips can be planted in our hardiness zone between May and July. Further south they are planted in two periods which exclude June and July. I dunno if that means we can’t plant them up north the way they plant them down south, but we’ll figure that out later.

We’re also going to talk to the neighbor across the street about some horse manure. He has two or three horses, so I assume he must have manure. Dunno if he wants to charge for it, or if he’ll let us have it for the taking.