I’ve held off posting about the garden until February.
Yes, today is the very first day of February. But I held off.
You see, I’ve been thinking about this garden since before the end of last season.
You’re impressed with my restraint, aren’t you?
You know who’s not impressed or excited? Baxter. Dude does not share my enthusiasm for the garden at all. In fact, he drooled on my garden plan as I was writing this post.
But never mind him. I will carry on.
There are a few things feeding my obsession:
- I’ve wanted a garden ever since we moved to the farm and last year it finally happened.
- It turned out the garden was a project that both Matt and I enjoyed. Sometimes our projects tend to belong more to one of us, so it was nice to have something we were both invested in.
- The garden worked! We had so much food. It was amazing.
- There’s so much potential. Translation: So much more to do.
You saw some of my to-do list in my Home Goals 2016 post. Today I want to focus less on what has to be done and more on what could be done.
As in, what could be grown.
Here’s my initial idea for the upcoming season (minus the drool).
The big news for this year is that we’re using the whole garden. Last year, we only cleared half.
So that means we can plant more of certain things (potatoes, beans) and more new things (broccoli, watermelon, eggplant, asparagus, sunflowers). You’ll see there are still a few blanks in the plan above. I’m open to suggestions.
I also feel like this is the year to sort out the best layout. I’m still wrapping my head around gardening in the round. The layout of two central axes crossing at right angles, and then shorter rows running perpendicularly (does that description make any sense?) is something I started last year. I found it’s a helpful way to divide this huge garden into manageable sections.
A couple of points to keep in mind:
- The raspberries, squash and tomatoes are all going to be on trellises, so think vertical when you envision those.
- The perimeter plantings are going to be in slightly raised beds. The rest of the garden is all at ground level.
- The bottom left corner can be a wee bit shady late in the day.
As always, though, I would appreciate your input.
What plants would you suggest? How would you lay things out? What summer projects are you planning? What are you going to grow in your garden this year?
That is a great plan – I can’t wait to see it growing. I have a feeling you’ll be spending a lot of time there this summer!
The rule of thumb, I think, when it comes to growing veg is grow what you eat – obvious, I know, but it’s strange how the gardening bug hits and all of a sudden you are growing 10 varieties of hot peppers when you are the only one in your family that likes them. As for suggestions, I couldn’t have a garden without some type of Chinese green. I started off with Bok Choy and it took off from there (there are so many types!). Cucumbers are a great space efficient crop as they also grow on a trellis and a couple of plants should keep you supplied with fresh cucumbers (although you wouldn’t know it by my experience with them last year!)
Very sound advice. I never thought about growing Chinese greens. It’s good to know they work in our climate.
I love your garden, especially the shape – it feels so intentional (ha ha) and zen. Did you think about placing water hose in the center, maybe even make a nice feature out of it? You would require only half as much length of the hose.
I love the choice of vegetables. My garden looks quite similar (except rhubarb – never liked it), but I also have carrots, onions, spinach, none of which grows very successfully :(. This year I tried corn for the first time and it was a great hit. Since it wasn’t treated with anything we only got about one cob per plant but we “harvested” it (in ONE basket), made fire in the garden and roasted it.
Why do you use sunflowers for?
That’s a good point about the hose. The problem is we have to get the hose to the garden first, which means trenching a line from the driveshed (where the hose currently is) to the garden. I want to trench as little as possible, so adding the distance of halfway across the garden doesn’t appeal! This will be Matt’s project, so we’ll see what he ends up doing.
I’ve never tried fire roasted corn, but that sounds lovely!
I thought the sunflowers would make a beautiful border on the garden, so my first goal was aesthetics. But we use sunflower seeds in our birdfeeder all winter, so I think we’ll make use of them as a crop too!
I have sunflowers for aesthetics as well, but they grow in less orderly fashion since I let them grow where they decide to pop out. If you regularly cut withered flowers away they will bloom over and over again. If these flowers have any seeds left, I dry them and put them in the bird feeder in the winter (one by one, of course).
I don’t know if “to roast” means what I mean by it. English isn’t my first language. But you find a nice one meter straight stick and sharpen one end. You peel the corn and stab the cob from below so it becomes very strange lollypop. Friends appear suddenly. You make fire and bring the chairs, food and drinks. Night falls. Everyone is talking, laughing and slowly turning their corn over fire. Yeah, something like that …
What a beautiful image… That sounds absolutely lovely! (and you’ve used “roast” correctly, IMO).
I didn’t know sunflowers would bloom continuously. Thanks for the tip.
It’s beautiful even on paper! Really, I love the round garden! Each year I say I am going to grow kale because I like it so much and never get it planted. I am going to try again this year! I love growing sunflowers, they are so pretty and the birds love them too!
The lettuce was Matt’s thing last year, so I feel like kale might be something he’d like. Any tips for the sunflowers? I want the biggest ones possible. Do you ever have any trouble with them falling over?
Yes, last year some of mine fell over. I should have staked them, but that didn’t happen. My biggest ones were called “Mammoth”. And I liked the variety that had smaller blooms but several on one stalk. But I can’t remember the name.
Good to know. I’m planning on planting them against the fence, so I can always tie them up if I need to.
I have no idea what will grow in your climate (things are very different here in Florida) but I’ll throw out some ideas – onions, carrots, radishes, sugar snap peas, brussel sprouts, spinach, strawberries, herbs. Obviously don’t grow anything you don’t love – are you sure that’s not too much zucchini (can you tell it’s not my favorite)? And there is nothing wrong with not planting all the space again this year. It is better to plant less and not overload yourself as you figure out what works for you. Some space could wait for second planting if possible – we usually do a second planting of green beans about two weeks after the first to spread out our harvest (so not everything is ripe at the same time). Enjoy!
All of those suggestions are growable in our area. Thanks for your advice. I’m thinking of trying second planting or event a second wave of planting. I heard broccoli planted latter in the season sometimes sees better results.
Your plan looks wonderful. I think the bench will become a beautiful place to sit 🙂
How about making one of those beds a herb garden? Or do you already have one closer to the kitchen? Also, strawberries! Mm-mmm.
Did you also know that sunflowers rotate with the sun? When you drive through the fields of them, they are all facing the same way, and they all turn as the day progresses.
Also wondered about different kind of greens, like green, red, spinach, arugula etc. Would make a scrumptious salad!
We like fresh herbs, but haven’t planted very many yet. I like the idea of fitting some in in the garden. I forgot about sunflowers rotating. That will be neat to watch.