01 February 2010

Planning the garden

Oh my, I have a lot of seeds. And I’ve ordered more. And I don’t think my garden is quite big enough. :)

This is a good problem to have, really.

The past two years have seen the garden space slowly expanding … well, the fences haven’t moved, but the area within the fences has been gradually brought into shape for planting. The original two 16x4 foot raised beds are still there and serving well, and the strawberry bed that was added last year will hopefully start producing this summer. This past fall, the sheep were sent in to eat down the remaining grass (which grew to knee height over the summer), so with luck, the almost indestructible pasture grasses will finally be in a state that they can be controlled.

This spring, more compost will be hauled in, rows for planting peas and corn and beans and tomatoes will be marked out and piled high with fresh soil, and walkways will be mulched with straw. Three  new herb beds will be laid out (maybe with wooden borders, maybe with rocks, maybe just with marked off boundaries), and a grape arbour will be constructed (yes, I found  a grape that is supposed to be cold hardy … I just had to try it!). There is a spot set aside for the new raspberry bushes, and squash plants will be put in all around the border. Peas will be planted with sunflowers so that their supports grow along side the vines, and if I get really organized, some flowers might even get planted out by the driveway. The garden calendar has all the dates for putting seeds that need stratification into the freezer, when to start the various indoor seedlings, when the last frost date is supposed to be (and when it actually was last year, which was a whole month later than the schedule called for!), and a variety of possible planting dates, all, of course, subject to the weather.

It’s good to think about gardens when winter starts to get really long. It makes spring seem closer. :)


  1. Anonymous7:02 am

    Yay for gardens. Ours expanded last year and will again this year. It seems exponential - doubling each each year.

    J discovered that the wild strawberry seeds I'd given up on were alive and well. We now have little tiny strawberry plants in our window sill. They grow so slowly that starting them last year will make them maybe ready to transplant this summer....

    Flannelberry - who can't seem to log on....

  2. Good reminder to order my seeds. I've got them all listed and organized.

    I agree that spring seems a bit closer once we can start planning our gardens. I'm helping to organize a seed exchange in two weeks and that will make it even closer to a reality. Yay!

    Peas with the sunflowers - have you tried that? I like that idea.

    Squash at the base of the raspberries is an awesome idea. I am quickly running out of space so I might just try that.

  3. Yes, Evelyn peas and sunflowers work well together! It's the Northern variation on 3 sisters planting - corn doesn't grow fast enough here (nor reliably enough), but the sunflowers work great as supports for the pea plants. Last year I did just a couple that way, but it was so much easier than trying to deal with support wires and such that I'm going to try doing them all that way this year. I'll just spread them out throughout the garden, so I can put shorter things in between/at the feet.

    Squash can be put in all sorts of places - so long as you don't need to walk anywhere near where they are planted late in the fall. :) They work out well planted near things that get harvested early, because by the time they are huge and in the way, you've already gotten to whatever was behind/above them.

    I've heard good things about putting a few squash seeds on the top of the compost pile too - keeps the moisture in, and uses some of the nutrients while helping to break things down for next year. I suspect my chickens would get to the seeds before they could sprout, but if I have some spare seeds, I may stick them in anyhow just to see if it works.


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