Friday, January 11, 2019

Planning the garden

Garden goals

#1 to grow a variety of produce that will feed us from season to season of all FOUR seasons.

#2 to have a rotation of plant families so disease is kept down

#3 to be organized, know what variety did best , what worked and what didn't and what we preferred.

#4 to be able to handle the gardens on my own with little to no help from Hubby. That way if I am in hospital with my Crohn's Hubby can handle it on his own.

#5 To acknowledge that some of my tried and true varieties will not work in this area. I am farther north and altitude is lower (less time canning 😄) but I do have longer growing time due to "protection" of being on the east side of the highest point in OH.

#6 to have salad greens during the winter or most of the winter so I needed more variety so we don't get tired of the same old thing.

#7  To NOT overwhelm myself with upkeep, harvest, replanting, and processing the gardens.

I was advised to read Elliot Coleman New Organic Grower. I just started that and it has helped with setting up the rotation. I have had his Four Season Harvest book for years.I used my swag bucks to order it for my kindle

I am learning plant family names, at least to recognize what plant goes in that family even if I can't pronounce it 😉. Some list them under sub-families. And some spell the names differently so that's a pain at times.

Allium (onion and garlic) I have 11 varieties

Amaranthaceae (spinach, Swiss chard, beets) I have 20 varieties (several winter garden)

Asteracese (salad greens, sunflowers) I have 38 varieties. (that's about 9 per season, most are leaf not head lettuce)

Brassicas (broccoli, cabbage, mustard, kale) 45 varieties Several of the winter garden is in this family.

Cucurbits (cucumbers, summer sq winter sq,melons) 23 varieties. I was give 2 varieties of pickling cucumbers and I chose 11 winter squashes as I usually don't grow these as I could pick them up at the one farm market that was close from where we lived last year. I also wanted more variety that 4-5 since we will be eating them during the winter.I also added watermelon, honeydew and cantaloupe. We'll see if the longer growing time helps.

Grasses  this is my Japanese Hulless popcorn. I won't grow sweet corn this year since I have several neighbors in the area that grow sweet corn. I only need to grow popcorn every 2-3 yrs depending on the incoming crop and how much I share.

 Lamiacea mostly herbs 27 varieties... instead of buying plants I am starting from seeds

Legumes (beans beans peas LOL)  32 varieties. I added mung beans this year along with 8 dried beans varieties.

Morning Glory , not growing the flower  but am growing sweet potatoes, using one of the sweet potatoes that the Amish neighbor gave me to grow slips. It was from her brother who lived here 17 yrs ago.

Solanaceous (tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, okra) 20 varieties . I added 2 varieties of each of eggplant and okra and 4 of peppers I plan to dry. PLUS I added 3 varieties of small potatoes.

Umbelliferae (carrots, celery ) 14 varieties there are a couple herbs in this also ..cilantro being one.

PLUS  we will be growing what is called green manure... like buckwheat, clovers, corn salad , Claytonia , and annual rye.

We measured the south garden .We have a 8 ft gate to the pond that I was leaving a path from the driveway to it open but Hubby and Amish neighbor, Eli agreed they would both be okay using the other gate that comes from Eli's pasture on the south side of our pond.  SO the south garden is 40 ft wide and 112 ft long.

North garden is perennials. I have rhubarb, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, asparagus, chives, garlic chives and 1 sage plant. I put my fall garlic there also. The area left to plant (as I already marked space to plant more berry bushes, is 24 ft wide by 74 ft long.

We have  3 areas in back yard by house that can be planted or have containers. One is 9x5, the other two are both 5 x 11.

We have a fence line at the kennel east side is 16 ft , south side is 48 ft that we can use for planting vines.

We are still debating on whether to do low tunnels or green house depending on $$ for late fall,winter, early spring growing.

I started Egyptian walking onions on the west side of the sidewalk at the flower garden on the north side of the house. I have 3 hostas that need moved from that area, they have out grown their spot. SO I will put smaller plants there that can handle the shade. I might save some of it for lettuce during the hotter parts of the summer.

Following Elliot Coleman New Organic Grower book I listed all the plant families on index cards. I wrote what varieties was in each family. I then highlight variety by what season it could be planted in. Green highlighter is spring, summer is NO highlighter, orange highlighter is fall and blue highlighter is for winter. I have a few that has all four.

The ones that can be planted for a winter crop will be pulled as I don't want to plant them during another season.

Then I will focus on summer only... I will list what needs to be started as a transplant and by what date so I can mark that on my garden calendar and make sure I have enough supplies.

A lot of spring crops can be grown in the fall also, certain varieties do better in fall than spring and vice versa so I will do them last. Listing transplants also and their start dates on my garden calendar.

Hubby found a couple metal filing cabinets in the barn so I can use them to organize files with plants and such. Since I am not taking my laptop out in the gardens I want sheet paper and a clip board to write notes on while I am in the garden and then will put over on to computer (called Scan and save)

Back to reading and organizing