Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Garden Planning 2010

It's a little bit hard to imagine sun-warmed soil, gentle breezes and little green shoots right now. We're in the midst of several weeks of very cold days, topping out in the 20s and lower 30s.

Even so, this is the ideal time to sit down huddled under blankets, and plan this year's garden. This is an annual event for us. Jamey gets the garden notebook, full of notations and plans from previous years and I bring my notes of what we might want to change from last year based on how much we have left of certain things, what we might want more or less of, etc. Jamey keeps track of how many plants/feet of row we grew from each year. This makes it easy to make adjustments for the coming year. Of course, we have no control over how wet or dry it might be- these type factors play a role in our yields every year whether we like it or not.

After an hour of discussion, this is what we've come up with...

What we grew last year and will grow again (indicates amount we will plant this year):

garden peas- grow more (grew 190 feet? of climbers last year), try non-climbers this year
lettuce- same amount (spring and fall), more variety, build a larger cold frame
broccoli- grow more (12 plants in spring, 18 plants in fall), make sure planting area is mulched with chicken manure, research organic ways to keep worms away
spinach- grow more (spring and fall)
Swiss chard- grow same amount, harvest earlier in summer before bugs come
zucchini- grow more (4-5 plants)
red bell peppers- grow more and an early variety, don't mulch (6 plants)
green bell peppers- same amount, don't mulch (10 plants)
jalapeno peppers- same amount (2 plants)
garlic- same amount (60 cloves), let dry out several days before braiding
onions- we didn't get nearly enough of these last year (we're already out), same amount, new variety (~3 pounds sets, 125 feet row)
tomatoes for eating- grow an earlier variety (4 plants), grow 2-3 plants of new varieties we saved seeds from
Roma tomatoes for saucing (15 plants)
green beans- plant a little less (60 feet row)
potatoes- plant a little more (90 feet of row)
butternut squash- plant more (4 plants)
basil- grow same (30 plants)
parsley- grow same (5-6 plants)
corn- grow a little more (180 feet row)
carrots- grow more and try to find a variety that stores better, 2 beds- one for storing, one for eating and canning
watermelon- grow same (3 plants)
cucumbers for eating- a little more (3 plants)
sweet potatoes- grow more (90 feet of row)
pumpkins- 2 plants
sunflowers (seeds for chickens)- fill in where have room
cantaloupe- 2 plants
oregano- 2 plants

New things we want to try:

stevia- to use as sweetener, 6 plants
leeks or shallots- research how many
dry kidney beans- We actually grew a small row of these last year (just to try them out). We didn't get enough to eat, so we've saved the beans and will be planting them this year (with hopes to eat them, of course)

Perennials that we grow that may/may not need attention:

strawberries- plant another row (they were thinned heavily last year and the plants are several years old)
red raspberries- plant another row

sour cherries- pray for no late frosts
peaches- hoping to get our first peach this year or next
pears- there is one tree left

So, there you have it. Jamey is already taking stock of seeds we have leftover/have saved and is making lists for our seed order. He also has the garden mapped out (we change it every year) and is scheming as to when we can move the cradle (where Miriam hangs out while I'm on the computer) to set up seed-starting tables in the office. We're off! Pin It


  1. Ohhh... I forgot to buy sunflower seeds for the chickens...thanks for the reminder...I've decided not to grow corn this year... it didn't quite work out as well as I had planned last year... so this year I'm planting more potatoes instead...also...because I know you don't have enough to do... you should weigh your garden harvest this year...it would be a great "math lesson" for the monkey's! They could chart it out... Yep, I think you should put the little man in charge of that...

  2. You two are a great team! This is a great, organized and informative list. Thank you for sharing it!

  3. I just told Chris last night that our neighbors will probably start their planting next month. They always start in February. I can't even think about it yet because it seems like we just put the canner away. Good for you guys.

  4. Your garden looks fabulous! Spacious, level, full sun, with room to grow! All things that are currently challenges for me, but I've been able to adjust. Your planting list is great, too! I'm drooling over catalogs as we speak trying to decide how much I should do with the cottage for sale. Should I be conservative or go for broke? Oh, how I wish it would sell before I plant!

  5. Thank you so much for your post! It is incredibly helpful. Are you open to questions, cause I have at least three or four of 'em?!

  6. Mavis, I love the idea of weighing all our produce, but I have a feeling it just wouldn't get done...:-(.

    Amy, Maybe a small, manageable garden of things you can enjoy early in the season in case you move mid-summer? Either that or get permission to come back and raid the garden after you've moved:-).

    Michelle H., Sure, we're open to questions. We'll do our best!

  7. What about my beets?

  8. Anonymous, If you are who I think you are, please do not worry. We have enough pickled beets to get us (and you) through next year and quite possibly beyond:-).

  9. You do have a very nice garden and I love how you put your notes together...something I need to work on. It's nice to have someone to work together with on these things.

  10. Great post! I need to plan out our feb/march planting too :) Even though it is autumn then, we still grow through the winter to try and avoid the heat of summer. I haven't been in the garden much the last few months, and am really looking forward to getting out there again!

  11. Are your garden peas sugar snap? black eyed?

    Why no mulch for bell peppers?

    When do you harvest your garlic? By the time I went to pull mine, the tops fell off. :-/

  12. Michelle H,
    Good questions!

    We grow "garden peas"- those that you remove from the pods before cooking or freezing (or popping into your mouth). "Pod peas" are those that are eaten pod and all, like the snow pea or sugar snap pea. We have not tried pod peas yet, although Jamey's parents grow them and they are delicious.

    A veteran gardener and commenter here, Aunt V, suggested that bell peppers do better without a lot of mulching. She mentioned this when I was lamenting that our bell peppers don't seem to grow very well. So, we're giving her advice a try!

    The best time (we've found) to harvest garlic is when the leaves (if you want to call the tops leaves) start to turn brown, but are still about half green. If you wait until they are totally brown, not only will the tops come off when you try to pull them, but the bulb paper will not be intact and completely cover the bulb. Instead, the cloves will have started to separate from the bulb- this keeps them from storing as well. The more tightly-papered, the better they will store (and the less likely they will sprout).

    I hope I've answered your questions...if not, let me know:-).

  13. ThyHand,
    Thank you so much for your answers. I'm wondering if your "garden peas" are what we refer to as "English peas." Are they green?

  14. Michelle H., Yes! They are also called English peas:-).

  15. I'd agree on the mulching advice for peppers. They like such warm soil. Question: do you have a good source for strawberry plants? We're looking around...

  16. Michelle, Our strawberry plants came from a hardware store four years ago. We've been very pleased with them and are glad we didn't shed big bucks for pricey ones:-).


Just a friendly reminder, if you know me personally please try to refrain from using my name. There are those who may try to locate me, break into my pantry and steal my pickled beets. Thanks:-).

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