Sunday, January 25, 2009

Garden Planning

Time to roll up the sleeves and get to work gardening! Yeah I havn't completely lost it, well not yet anyway. I realize it's the middle of January, and I got 18"of snow in my yard, but I've never done it before. Now is the time for reading and planning for the garden. The above picture is from Google Earth, and has helped me figure out where the best places to put my garden. My house is the one without the cars. The front of the house is to the right, and I got a ton of trees.
That might clear things up a bit. The oak tree in my backyard is HUGE. About 5' in diameter at the trunk, it's canopy is 100' across. Real nice for keeping the AC bill low, but hell on gardening. The pink open box in the upper left is where my neighbor has a 50'x40' conventional garden. I'm not sure how he does it because of all the shade, he has my oak tree, and another maple right in the way for most of the day's sunshine! He pulls it off every year though. He doesn't compost much at all so his crop has gotten a little worse every year. He doesn't like me, probably because I'm not Portuguese, and pretends not to speak English. His loss.

The bigger filled in pink box is where I'll have my square foot garden. It should get about 8 hours of sun a day there. It's not the best place for me, because I don't have much yard on that side of the garage and shed, but oh well. The smaller filled in pink box will be a 4' box for herbs. I will have another small box for the shade loving herbs, but not sure where to put that just yet.

The main garden will be 4' x 8' for 32 square feet. I've been working on planning what to grow and where for the last 4 hours. Like I said I'm new to the whole gardening thing so things most gardeners know already I need to read in a book. So I figure the tomatoes are too big for a SFG so I'll get a couple of big containers for them, they will do fine in there.

I plan on growing the following:
Cabbage(2)
Onion(16)
Tomatoes(2)
Navy Beans(9)
Cayenne Peppers(2)
Cucumbers (2)
Carrots (16)
Garlic (9)
Salad Greens (12)

I just had to change something. I had two squares of cucumbers, which would keep me knee deep in pickles for years. Not enough greens so that was a quick fix. I probably can get a second crop out of most squares, but for now I am focusing on the initial crop.

Now my last frost is about April 25th, so that means I got to start my cabbage seed the second week of February! Good thing I started planning now and not March, eh?

I have not decided to grow corn or not yet. Either way, it will be in a separate 4' x 4' SFG. Corn needs to pollinate each other by the wind, so it's best to have a clump rather than a single row. My back neighbor grows corn so I am afraid of his yucky genegineered corn from pollinating my
heirloom corn and ruining the seed for next year. Either way, the corn and beans are for seed stock, unless I get the hankering to make my own Boston Baked Beans. Yummy!

Well, If a techno-geek like me can plan a garden then you can too. This first year is more of a pilot than any serious attempt. A proof-in-concept. I will not be relying on it for my main source of food (I hope not!) but a confidence builder. The only way to learn something is to do it, so you better learn how to grow a garden NOW before the poop hits the fan and you and your families survival depends on it!

3 comments:

western mass. man said...

The cross-pollinating problem may exist with the flowering veggies. The ones that develop a fruit from a flower. Your tomatoes, peppers, and cukes could suffer. The rest of your garden should be fine as pretty much no one leaves their veggies in the ground to let go to seed. If memory serves, the cabbage may pose a problem to get to go to seed.

3Cankeep said...

If you are: 1) growing some type of heirloom corn; 2)a nearby neighbor is growing something different; and 3) you want to save some seed, there are some techniques you can use to preserve the purity of your seed. They're called shoot bagging ( corn chastity belt ) and tassel bagging ( corn condoms ). As a teenager, I had a good paying summer job doing this. IMO, it's too labor intensive except for a small amount of your crop you are preserving for seed for next year. This site ( http://www.maizegdb.org/IMP/WEB/pollen.htm ) has a good description with pictures.

Bax said...

Are you planning a raised bed or conventional garden?

I'm hoping to put one in, around your proposed size, this spring.

Please post frequent updates as to your progress?

Thanks!