Neighbours talking over the garden gate has long been a tradition. They share gardening tips, complain about the weather and pests yet are ever eager to discuss their gardens. That is what I had in mind when creating this blog. So stop by my garden gate to find out the latest happenings in my garden.

Happy Gardening!

Garden Gnome
"All my life through, the new sights of Nature made me rejoice like a child." ~ Madame Marie Curie"

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Planning and Prepping Thoughts

It's that time of the year when the stores start getting in their new gardening stock and I'm just itching to buy it all! I'm drawn to the plants like a moth to a light bulb. Surrounded by all the wonderful plants, I just have to buy whether I have a spot for them or not. I'm totally mesmerized as one plant after another is crowded into the cart. The sights, the smell and sometimes hairbrained ideas that "this would be good" just kick into high gear. That explains why I have only one gooseberry bush even though we've never had gooseberries. It didn't get planted last year because I had nowhere for it. Somehow the plant survived the winter in the pot so it will be planted shortly. It also explains why I have two new raspberry bushes, rhubarb, and asperagus with no real spot for them but I had to have them. My husband is more of the "do you have a spot for it" type person. This raises the important issue of planning and prepping gardens long before you start seeds or buy plants.

I got my first seed catalogue the first part of January. After browsing through it, I decided to limit myself to three or four new fruits or vegetables. Without a limit, I would seriously buy everything in sight. I knew I wanted rhubarb because it is seldom in the stores or fruit stands. I also wanted raspberries because when available they are aweful expensive. I knew I wanted to grow more herbs and basically turn raised bed #2 into herbs only. In the back of my mind, I had a vision of how I wanted the vegetable garden this year so I decided to do some research.

The first thing I came upon was Garden Manager 3.05 by Jonathan Maier. This is a slick little program based on Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew. Other years I had simply drawn out each bed then penciled in the square with no attention to companion plantings. This year I was deterimined to do things in a more organized manner. My three large beds are 4' x 10' giving 40 squares. The two smaller beds are 4' by 8' giving 32 squares. After researching, I decided I wanted to use more companion planting and change my methods a bit to include fertilizer. Armed with what I wanted, it was time to start playing with Garden Manager. This program made things a lot easier. Each bed was laid out according to the square foot method then each square filled in so when planting time comes I know exactly what to plant in each square. I even specified the variety since I grow more than one variety of some vegetables. This is the general plan for my three largest beds:
Bed #1 - tomatoes, peppers, lettuces, onions, marigolds planted around the perimeter
Bed #2 - herbs, some lettuces if necessary
Bed #3 - peas, beans, carrots, lettuce, cucumber, spinach, marigolds, petunias
The two smaller beds:
Bed #4 - strawberries
Bed #5 - maple trees, beans, peas, ground cherries, cucumber, zucchini

With the main beds planned right down to when to plant certain vegetables based on the ALFD (average last frost date), I could tweak and turn my attention to what to start in the greenhouse as well as the rest of the yard. We have a very large, water front lot at about 250' deep. I couldn't keep it looking nice without some type of planning. The main problem was whether to add more raised beds or not along with an arbour for grapes. I still need a spot for the rhubarb, gooseberries and raspberries. This is an ongoing debate that hopefully will be settled by the end of next week.

1 comment:

  1. I love your garden I found a great cure for rabbits its called a fox ! one year they cleaned all the rabbits out then the fox moved on and now we have 5 times as many as we did have. No garden here and we have lots of land.

    Linda Miller
    Decatur Illinois


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