Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Planning My Vegetable Garden

Home Grown Goodness! 
One of my favorite garden activities in the winter time is planning out the plantings for spring and summer. This year I'm getting more serious about the vegetable garden. That is because I'm eating lots more veggies this year :) and my neighbor cut down mature ash/elm trees which were along the property line and reducing the sun available to my garden.

Last year I broke my wrist in the spring so the vegetable garden never really got planted. It sat fallow all year. So this year it should be ready to burst forward with an abundance of produce!

There are many great resources for planning a vegetable garden. Advice for site selection, soil preparation, and more available. My task was selecting the plants and arranging them.

Getting our Hands Dirty in the
Vegetable Garden
1) Determine your total planting space which might include containers and vertical spaces.  Consider the time you have available to maintain the garden (I always underestimate this!)  I will plant many climbing items - cucumbers, beans, and squash vertically along the house-line. Several herbs will also be going into containers closer to the house (prior blog on Herb Container Gardens here). The potatoes will go into a tower as well - because it increased yield and compensates for poor soil.  These efforts will increase the planting space considerably.

2) Select herbs and vegetables that you enjoy and will use! My family has very diverse culinary tastes. I enjoy fresh garlic - but the rest of the family cannot tell the difference. My son loves fresh Kale, but it's not my preference. etc. etc. So the garden becomes an exercise in compromise. Everyone gets something they love!

3) Determine amounts to plant - given your available space, growing season, and use patterns. The amount I've planted tends to be less than required for all our uses. That way I can get in a wider variety. Many vegetable garden planning sites will estimate your planting needs based on your family size. This year I used this plot planning site.

4) Consider companion planting and combative planting - what goes together and what should stay apart. There is a really good summary on this site.
Home Vegetable Garden Plan - 15x30ft, Cold Climate

5) Learn from past experiences -  we love tomatoes and at times have put in over a dozen different types. They all come ready near the same time and our freezer and pantry fill up with salsa and other preserves of tomatoes. Every other year or so we go tomato crazy. Then there is the Rhubarb. I grew up looking forward to spring and fresh rhubarb. I've tried it in 4 different spots in my yard without success. My old neighbor had several growing successfully and so I benefited from her green thumb. Unfortunatley the new neighbor ripped the rhubarb out. So I'm back to try again.

6) OK so what is my plan as of today. There will probably be a few modifications maybe move herbs moving to pots. Some plants may catch my eye when I'm shopping, love trying new things.  Oh, and in case you were thinking that I didn't consider walk ways to maintain the garden. :) and get in there to harvest - the free site didn't allow for the full size - so I had to get creative with photo editting (modified shown below)

Teresa's Vegetable Garden Plant - 2015

Garden Plan with Burlap Lined pathways

I will definitely be burning up some calories planting, maintaining, harvesting from the garden. As of now I have a good vision and great expectations...

I'm looking for someone to have a beehive in the garden - if you have any ideas please let me know.

I'm humming "Honey Honey" from ABBA...Have a great day!

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