In the Garden
Planning for Spring
I love the first of July. By July 1, I can begin to see the days growing longer. Not by much, mind you, but it's there for observant eyes to see. It's also the signal I should start planning for spring. July is my month for dreaming and scheming.
A major part of my garden planning is my garden map. I create a new garden map for each year. The map includes each bed in the vegetable garden, plus the greenhouse and any overflow vegetable space I have among the perennials.
By mapping the garden and writing in where each crop will be planted, I can ensure good crop rotation and efficient use of my space and time. Here are some tips for creating your own garden plan.
- Don't plant sprawling crops like pumpkins next to crops that require daily picking in late summer (like tomatoes)--you'll trip over the pumpkins every day.
- Plant lettuce in the shade of peas to extend their season.
- Plant early crops next to sprawling late crops, so the late crops can take over the space vacated by the early ones.
- Separate related plants from which you want to save seed to avoid cross-pollination. I find this especially important for my sweet corn and popcorn.
- Separate related plants that suffer from large pest infestations to limit pest spread. For example, my cucurbits are prone to massive aphid infestations, but if I separate each type in the garden, I can usually avoid too much spread.
- Use last year's production as a guide to how much to plant this year. Did you harvest 10kg of zucchini every day last summer? Maybe cut back on planting. Did you eat all the frozen peas by March? Expand your pea planting.
- Leave yourself some empty space in the plan for serendipity, like when a neighbour gives you a handful of heirloom bean seeds, or your basil germination is particularly good.
Most of all, have fun with your plan! Pour yourself a cup of coffee, cut yourself a piece of pumpkin pie and settle in to dream on a cold winter day.