Friday, January 22, 2010

Garden Planning

Garden season is coming. I love this time of year. The anticipation of what this years garden will bring. I am even more excited out here in the new house as we can have a huge garden in addition to what is all ready planted here. I have started obsessing over the one seed catalog that survived the move, sadly I think the others were recycled. Its a catalog for a local nursery and one I would probably have chosen to order from anyway so all is well there.

I usually start my garden planning with marking pages or making lists of what I want to grow even if it won't grow here. Then I mull it over in my head for a few days adding things as I think about them. This years list is three pages long!! lol I will be weeding it down. :) I always put the standard garden fare for my family which is: several kinds of lettuce, carrots, spinach, peas, green beans, tomatoes, summer squashes, and potatoes. I am sure I am forgetting something but that looks about right. After I list the main plants I start having fun. I like to add something new each year, last year I grew cayenne peppers for drying. This year I am trying some medicinal herbs and tea herbs. Also stevia is on my want to list but its a zone 9 or 10 so I am waffling on that one.

Once my list is made and I have mulled it over I start to condense it. This is where I usually sit down with Joe (who often groans when he sees the garden journal/notes for the year) and ask him what he wants to grow/eat. I cross off things I have decided not to grow and add things I decided to grow. Do I really need 6 different varieties of something? Once I have a suitable list I order or go to a store and buy the seeds. I try to do this early as I have noticed if I forget something its usually not available later in the season. One year I forgot to buy snap peas and they were really missed by all of us when I couldn't find any in the local stores.

Now comes the really fun part. At least for me the compulsive, crazy type. Its now time to map it! I usually use a grid paper and measure out the area I am using. I then make a key of one square equals so much space. Last years garden was small and one square equaled 1/2 foot. This year I think I will be making a much bigger map so not sure how to scale I can do it but I will sure try. I add plants to marked off map sections checking the seed packets and my gardening books for recommended spacing. I try to check previous years maps to rotate crops (though I mostly forget) and I like to plant flowers among everything for insect control and also to attract the beneficial insects. As I go down the list the map gets fuller and fuller. I usually find a few empty spots and add whatever I think we will want more of. This is about as detailed as I get on the map making my notes else where in my garden journal. This year I plan to note more information on the map itself. Days to harvest, info for fall plantings, etc. I may have to make a separate map for the fall/winter plantings but that will depend on how the map spacing is.

Once this is done its planting seeds inside and waiting for it to warm up enough outside to get to work. I will try to post pics of my garden map when I get it done. Currently I am still at the trying to get Joe to sit down and tell me what he wants to grow stage. I would just do it on my own but then he always says why don't I let him help! lol

Happy garden planning everyone, I would love to hear about what you are growing this year! Old favorites or new plants? For the readers in other parts of the world I would love to hear how your garden harvests are going!

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