Welcome to Cranky Puppy Farm!

This blog belongs to two Gen X-er's smackdab in downtown Kansas City where we've been renovating and decorating two old Victorians built in the 1890's. Our life is filled with 3 demanding Pomeranians (1 of them cranky, of course), honking cars, noisy neighbors and the hustle and bustle of city life but we dream of the day when we can move to our 40-acre farm and hear nothing but the wind and the cows next door. Until then, we're chronicling our triumphs and mishaps here as we try to garden and preserve on 2 city lots, raise chickens, and learn all those things we should have learned from our grandparents. Welcome to our world - we hope you'll stay awhile!

Plans for the 2012 Garden

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Finally!   I wish you could see my desk right now - it's covered in those beautiful seed catalogs.  While I've been flipping through them over the last month or so while we watched TV, I've had no time to seriously think about what we want to plant and where.  So I've been flipping and oooing and ahhing and then, reading everyone's posts on starting their seeds, I realized I was now behind!

Last year, we grew what I'll call the salsa garden:  2 types of tomatoes, jalapenos, red peppers, and Scarlet Nantes carrots.  I realize the carrots don't really fit into the theme, but I wanted to try it out.  Not a good experiment, because they died.  I was wildly successful with the Early Girl tomatoes, despite the hot, dry summer even though most folks had a terrible time and got very few from their plants.  I was indeed blessed to be able to give away a ton of tomatoes, including huge green tomatoes all the way up to mid-November!

After several late nights of flipping through a stack of garden catalogs and much tearing out of hair, I think I've finished our garden plans for this year!  Here's a crow's eye view of CrankyPuppy Farm.

I realize it's a little difficult to tell what's in those beds, so let's swoop down and take a closer look:

These are the same raised beds from last year and are a little over 4 feet by 12 feet.  I'm basically square foot gardening and each grid is a 4" x 4" square.  So a 3 x 3 grid equals a foot of space.  Here's what we're planting:

West Bed
Lettuce, Salad Bowl
Carrots, Yaya or Scarlet Nantes (haven't decided yet - my Scarlets did NOT do well last year)
Watermelon, Sugar Baby
Peppers, Big Red Sweet
Peppers, Early Calwonder
Peppers, Jalapenos
Tomatoes, Beefsteak
Asparagus, Purple Passion
Garlic, California White

East Bed
Tomatoes, Roma
Green Beans, still determining variety but possibly Early Contender, Blue Lake or Derby
Squash, Spaghetti
Cucumbers, Straight Eight

Since the beans will probably be a bush variety, I'm thinking about growing the cucumbers and\or squash on arched trellises over the beans.  If you've got any thoughts  on the advantages\disadvantages of doing that, let me know. It would look cool and save space, but I need to do some research on this. 

Strawberry Bed
Strawberries, Ozark Beauty
Strawberries, Sparkle Supreme
Onions, white onion sets

Backyard\patio (not shown in picture above)
Blackberries, Triple Crown thornless
Blackberries, Arapaho thornless

The pumpkins made such a mess last year and literally took over the yard, so I'm going to move them over to the west side of the chicken coop where they can sprawl out as much as they want at the base of the dwarf Honeycrisp apple trees.  Those trees were just planted last year, so they don't have huge canopies yet and won't limit the sun for the pumpkins vines.

I'll be interspersing marigolds and comfrey thoughout these beds (but no marigolds next to the green beans because they hate them!)  I didn't do any non-veggie companion planting in my beds last year, so this will be new.

Also, I can't leave out some new flowers!  I've fallen in love with several different varieties - especially the reddish orange Autumn Beauty and the Tall Orange.  I'll be honest, I have never been a fan of the plain old tall spindly sunflowers, but these are gorgeous.  I just have to try them out.  And I'd love to plant a field of poppies around them as well. The jury is still out on that one.

And, finally, we're going to be adding an herb garden on out patio where we'll have fresh cilantro, dill, mint, rosemary and thyme.

Still tons of research to do on the details, but this is the final plan.  The onions, garlic, strawberries and blackberries are planted already.  But I've got some work to do this week:

  1.  Make the final decisions on varieties and order what I don't already have (beans, asparagus, cucumbers, lettuce, squash). 
  2. Get the tomatoes, peppers, jalapenos, marigolds and herbs started indoors.  That means I need to get off my derriere and get the grow lights mounted in the basement!
  3. Build the potato bins out of lunber we already have leftover from our reno work.  Before I did all the research on growing potatoes, I had already ordered Yukon Gold from Gardens Alive.  They don't do well in vertical situations like these bins, so I'm going to switch to Yellow Fin instead. 
  4. Prep the soil in all the beds with some new (old) compost.

Whew!  I'm worn out and excited at the same time.  Have you finalized your garden plans for this year?  I'd love to hear what you're growing and see your plans.

Hope you enjoy your Sunday!  I'm off to grab some lunch and strip wallpaper...

Find out what other folks are doin' over at the Farm Girl Friday Hop and Garden Life Link Up.


  1. It looks very good! Everything is so organized and put together, don't we wish we could keep it like that. lol

  2. I know, Clint! I felt great last year until around late July when the tomatoes were to big they were literally falling over and the watermelon and pumpkin vines had taken over half the yard. So much for planning! But I'll do much better this year. Live and learn, I guess, right?

  3. Wow! Sounds like you're going to have a fantastic garden! And I'm so glad you stopped by to link up and share with us on NOH!

    I'm looking forward to seeing how it all develops. And renovating two 1880's houses at once?? OM Word! Our one 1830's farmhouse is more than plenty to make us insane! ;)

  4. I love your plan. Thanks for the tip about potatoes. We tried them one year and they were a great failure. It'll be years before I can get Charlie to try them again. We're rebuilding our garden after last year's hurricane. Thankfully the plot is cleared and we have plenty of compost. Can't wait to see your progress. Jo @ Let's Face the Music

  5. I'm just popping over from Tiffany's link up and wanted to say hello. Looks like you're going to have an amazing little farm there! Love the pumpkin vines (I'm a huge fan of pumpkins), and the chicken coup. Hope all goes well - happy gardening!


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