Thursday, December 27, 2012

Spring Planning for the Vegetable Garden

It's during these dark days of winter that I start my planning.  Sitting in a warm house, with a cat for company, I sketch out my veggie garden and start planning the rotation of vegetables.  I am trying to work on a 3 year rotation as it helps prevent insect pests and diseases from building up in specific areas of the garden.  The constant moving of veggies also means that nutrients are more evenly taken from the soil and replenished.

Where to plant the garlic?
A piece of graph paper, pencil and the all important ERASER are all I need.


I check back through the past years designs and determine where to next.

Beets and turnips in a newly renovated bed chock full of manure and compost as I've had trouble growing these in past due to poor soil.  Tomatoes must go in a location not yet used as I don't want to risk blight.  Where to find space for the vines of zucchini and pumpkin.  Choices are based on soil health, where other plants once stood and how much space each plant will need.

Zucchini's need a lot of space
Another important aspect of this ritual is checking my seed stock.  A list of all my seeds was made so I know what I need to make space for.

It was a bit of a shock this year going through the fridge.  How did I manage to accumulate 23 varieties of tomatoes?  Or 13 types of lettuce?  5 types of beans?  and the dill - oh my.  I have inadvertently collected enough dill seed from my garden to supply an entire dill pickle factory.


Attending Seedy Saturday at the ACORN conference in November was no help.  How could I resist all those pretty packets of organic seed of what might just be my new favourite variety?  From Tourne Sol I purchased Red Cored Chantenay carrots.  From High Mowing Organic Seeds there is Green Towers Romaine Lettuce.  Johnny's had bright lights Swiss Chard.  Hope Seeds had New York Early onions and Mammoth Grey Stripe Sunflower.

The good news is that my seed order this year will truly be small.  Unlike last year where I set a budget and then managed to instantaneously spend double the amount.  A second packet of carrots perhaps, some peas and cucumbers.  That really is all.  I do like to add flowers to my veggie patch as well but that too is taken care of.  I gathered bags of seed this year in the garden.  Cosmos, borage, bachelor buttons, nigella and columbine are all ready for their piece of real estate.


Now spring, I'm ready for you!

14 comments:

  1. What a perfect activity for a stormy day. I've got a couple of seed catalogues and have started browsing through them.

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    1. Come spring I won't have time to sit and think so I find this is the perfect moment to sit somewhere warm and work on my plans for the upcoming season.

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  2. Wow! Good for you. I can't see that far yet and it's hubs that does the garden so it will get planted with whatever he feels he can keep up with given his pain levels and such. As long as we have an array of herbs growing, lots of tomatoes, some beets, and cucumbers, I'm a happy camper.

    After Christmas, I remind myself that the days are now getting longer and that means spring is on the way!

    Happy New Year, Marguerite!

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    1. Hi Michelle! happy new year. I find if I don't plan this stuff out now I'll be a mess come spring and won't know which way is up. As soon as the weather warms up I want to be OUT and cannot find time to plan.

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  3. Wow! You're so organized! I have seeds stuffed here and there, and I have no idea how much of which! Perhaps my New Year's resolution should be to get those seeds organized - not to mention the vegetable beds!

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    1. I wish I had a better way to organize my seeds. More space would be ideal. I cram them all into various spots in the fridge and am somewhat unaware of what I have. One reason I feel the need to pull everything out once a year and do a head count.

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  4. gosh Marguerite I didn't realise you had so many veggie beds, very sensible to get organised and it gives a sense of doing something for the garden,
    I remember you posting about different varieties of tomatoes as it was the first time a knew there were so many types.
    Frances

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    1. Frances, there are a lot of beds but they aren't that big. 4 feet across and in various lengths (some 8 feet, others 10 or 12). I like having lots of wide paths so the garden takes up quite a bit of room. Really I could stand to make better use of the space I have.

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  5. Wonderful plans. My vegetable plot is very tiny so I can't really rotate.

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    1. Jason, I sometimes even wonder how much rotation helps me. The tomatoes are really only feet from where they were the year before. However, they are in a separate bed with different soil so I think that helps.

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  6. My, you are organized. And you need be with the size of your vegetable gardens. I could never be that on the ball and start so early. My seeds are sitting on my office counter and I have yet to take a look and decide where they will be planted. I wish I had your energy of planning and planting.

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  7. What a lovely post. I am looking forward to getting home and doing a seed audit so that I can make sure I have what I need for the coming growing year. It literally makes me grin with anticipation. I love this period, before the realities of weather and pests can dampen enthusiasm and ravage the longed-for harvests. And hopefully this time next year I too will have a pile of envelopes full of seed collected from the garden. A wonderful, virtuous circle. Amazing what pleasure can come from a pieces of paper with some rectangles sketched on it and a pencil. And all those seed catalogues, in my case...

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  8. I think gathering seeds is like being a kid in the candy shop. I sowed some seeds today and have tons more to sow...all flowers. I just envision a garden full of blooms and lots of butterflies! What I have right now is a lot of mud and fallen leaves from all our oak and hickories.

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