Thursday, March 19, 2015

Planning and Reorganizing

I tend to grow things in the same groups and in the same position each year. Some years I change things around. I was intending to do what I had last year, but I really can't eat legumes anymore, so I decided to change it up a bit. Before the beans were running down the middle of the bed. But I found the beans blocked the water and the lettuce didn't grow well. Also why would I want to grow a lot of beans when I can't eat them. I didn't want to totally get rid of them. My townhouse mates like beans. So I decided to just grow them along the end of the bed. The ends are never the best spots in a bed. The soil is not deep as the foundation for the brick path goes in about a foot. But I think be beans will do OK there.

Instead of beans, I expanded my chard bed. Chard is a mainstay of my winter frozen greens. It produces a lot in a small space. I'm adding 6 sqft this year. So I'll be able to freeze a lot more and maybe I won't run out at the end of February. In addition I'm expanding my spinach. I have space in the late planted two sisters beds. I think I can get a good crop of spinach in the spring to freeze before the squash and corn need to be planted at the beginning of June. I hope so at any rate. We are having close to record lows right now and we didn't even get above freezing yesterday. And more snow is in the forecast for Friday. At least it isn't much snow. But if the bed does melt out in time I ought to be able to get a good crop of spinach out of it. I'm going to try. I need the extra greens for winter.

The next change was my peas. I usually run them along the whole back of a 16' bed. The bed has spring carrots and herbs in it. So I've expanded the carrots as I can always use more of them. Instead I'll grow peas in two small spots at the ends of the beds and see if I like pea shoots. I think I can eat those. I'm pretty sure it is only the seed of the legumes that I can't eat. In addition I'm not growing fava beans and that was a whole bed in the spring. So I've expanded the kohlrabi and Chinese cabbage plantings (GR stands for Green Rocket, a variety of Michihili cabbage).

And in the bed that used to have Chinese cabbage and kohlrabi, I've expanded the European cabbages and added in some kale. The kale is another mainstay storage crop. I freeze it for winter. I've never grown it in the spring like this. I've always overwintered kale, but I'll see how it does and if it can get large large enough fast enough before the carrots need to replace it.

You can see that I don't do this on the computer. I have the garden grid on the computer that I just print out each year. Then I add what I want. At the top is the crop I want to grow. If there are successions I add an arrow before the second crop. Along the sides are things like RC. RC stands for row cover. I have three that are tall and fairly strong. They usually go over the brassicas. Net is my netting that is fragile, but cheap. I like it best really as I can see through it and the rain and wind gets through better. Also it is prettier. The heavy one is white and stick out like a sore thumb. But it won't rip and let the butterflies in like the netting can if I'm not careful. I also write down things like when I put biochar on the bed. Or double dug it. Or if it had some pernicious disease.

And as you can see my handwriting is really terrible, isn't it? Sometimes I can't even tell what I wrote. Though I think you can make out the numbers on there. that is how many good transplants I need. Not how many I'll grow. But the good ones that get into the garden. I always have a few that struggle so I always want extras.

Once I have a plan I print out the seeding schedule. It tells me what to plant, how much to plant, when to plant, and when to transplant. It has empty slots for how many I actually planted and when I did it. And when they go out to the garden. Often that last one doesn't get recorded on it. I tend to forget after they have moved outside to harden off.

I actually have two seeding schedules. One is for indoor started plants and one (the little one behind) is for the direct seeded plants. I'll be behind on my peas, carrots, spinach, radishes, and turnips. They are supposed to be planted on the first day of spring. Tomorrow. But that is not going to happen. But I'm still good. I did an experiment one year with peas. I found that peas planted on the first day the soil could be worked and peas planted three weeks later only have a harvest date one week apart. As long as spring arrives in the next few weeks and the cold weather pattern shifts I should be OK. A little behind, but not horribly.

13 comments:

  1. I can't believe you are getting MORE snow! I would be ripping my hair out by now if I were in your situation. At least you have time to work up a detailed garden plan. If you can tolerate pea shoots perhaps you could also tolerate fava greens, I like to harvest the tender top leaves off the fava plants and use them as salad greens or saute them like spinach.

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    1. Interesting. I didn't know they were edible (though I'm sure you have said so on your blog, my memory isn't always good).

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  2. Isn't it a pain to have to cover so many crops? Other than permanent planting such as fruit we move most things around each year.

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  3. I like handwriting a lot of things but with the garden plans, I would end up having to redo them so many times as I keep changing my mind about what I plant, how many and where - but then again, I don't have a good annual plan figured out yet - I'm still trying to figure it out.

    One thing that I also like doing is indicating spacing and/or the number of plants I will need on the plan itself - makes things so much easier when it's time to start those seeds.

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  4. im doing a similar experiment w/peas this year. i planted early & it took them 17 days to come up. i planted some more earlier this week. it will be interesting how quickly they come up & the difference in harvest times.

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  5. when you say you "print out the seedling schedule" do you enter all of the dates yourself, or do you use a standard gardening app for that? There seem to be a lot of great calendars and apps already out there for my zone, but I tend to work out the dates based on experience (so more work but maybe more reliable).

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    1. I like more control than an app will give you. I don't agree with everyone else about starting times etc. Like you, I plant things based on my own experience with MY garden. So I do it all in Excel. As you say it is probably more reliable to use your own experience.

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    2. I'm wholeheartedly with both of you - no generic program or app can substitute for your own experiences in your own garden.

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  6. My garden-planner is much the same - hand-written on a piece of A4 paper! Your plans must be more complicated than ever these days on account of not being able to eat so many different things. It limits your options a lot, doesn't it? In my garden I try to use a basic rotation, moving the crops round in the same direction every year, to the next bed in line.

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    1. What it does is mess up my rotation. I eat way too many of the brassicas. I ought to have a four year rotation for them, but it is just every other year.

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  7. Petronius Arbiter IIMarch 21, 2015 at 5:25 PM

    I'm getting ready to sell garden seeds on EBay, including a few (very few) small packs of culinary dandelion, so of course I was intrigued when I stumbled across your blog title. Curios as to, do you have experience growing it?

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  8. I make rough maps before planting and then map actual plantings as they are made. I've been using pinterest as a record keeper for potential and sources - finding it very helpful.

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  9. Daphne, you are inspirational! Your organisational skills are astounding - but you aim for self sufficiency so this is essential. I'm in awe.

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