It is time to commit my thoughts and plans about this year’s garden to paper.
I’ve got my seeds, charts, catalogs, pencil, eraser and cup of coffee! Based on my thought re the Six Questions Prior to Planning a Garden and how the typical harvest time of veggies coincides with my schedule I’ve created my garden plan for the year.
Key things I consider when planning where to plant what are:
Be sure to leave enough room for your veggies to grow into adulthood. I find this very difficult – a winter squash seed or transplant doesn’t look like it’s going to need 3-5 feet of space – but it really does. And bush tomatoes really do get bushy – give them the recommended space (I tell myself!). Follow the seed instructions or the guidelines in the Planting Chart re spacing. If you’re concerned about blank spots in the garden until the plants fill in, consider planting some early crops like spinach, lettuce, radishes, herbs or flowers beside these plants.
Rotating your veggies (planting different veggies in different spots every year) helps minimize pests and disease. It also helps to manage your soil better as some crops are heavier feeders than others and some (like legumes) actually add nitrogen back into the soil.
Our plot is 30′ x 40′. I have divided it into four segments so we can walk around easily and plan for our crop rotation. Basically, I just move all the same things from one quadrant into the next quadrant. In 4 years, the zucchini and pumpkins will be back in the same quadrant.
Did you know planting onions next to carrots can help control the carrot fly, that rosemary repels the cabbage fly or that pole beans and beets planted next to each other will stunt each others’ growth? It might seem crazy at first glance, but of course it makes sense that nature created natural systems to control and manage life. All we need to do is learn from it and respect it. So, as much as possible, I plan according to which plants like to be beside each other and which don’t, eg. borage and cucumbers love each other. A google search on Companion Planting will provide you with more than enough information on which plants go together and which don’t. Here’s a Companion Planting Chart from the Old Farmer’s Almanac that’s easy and straight forward. One day I will compile a list for our common prairie veggies – but today is not that day – sorry!
After all that, here’s our garden plan for 2016. At least that’s the plan as it stands right now – by the time I’m diggin’ in the garden – things may change!
Will you be planting a garden this year? What’s your favorite veggie?
Sign up to get articles by Getty delivered to your inbox. You’ll get recipes, practical tips and great food information like this. Getty is a Professional Home Economist, speaker and writer putting good food on tables and agendas. She is the author of Manitoba’s best-selling Prairie Fruit Cookbook, Founder of Fruit Share, a mom and veggie gardener.