Saturday, January 21, 2012

Garden Planning 2012

Last year was really my first in the vegetable gardening realm. I had a very tiny raised bed at our previous residence that barely got any sun and we moved before I could harvest the ever so tiny beets - though the lettuce always did great.
Our garden this past summer consisted of three 4'x6' plots (yes, they looked like graves) and one 6'x2' plot. I tried to be cognizant of companion planting as I wanted to do a square foot garden. That's where each of the 6'x4' plots were divided with sticks and strings into 1' squares and only one vegetable type was planted into each. Depending on spacing requirements, you could plant 16 seeds of one plant in that 1' space. The square foot gardening technique is really for space conscious people and if you've seen my amazing backyard, you'd wonder why I was trying to conserve space - but as much as I'd like my whole backyard to be used for veggies, my 4 year old and my dog....and the chickens, probably wouldn't like it much. Wait...the chickens would love it - but that wouldn't be good for us.
To re-cap what we planted last year:

  • tomatoes
  • peppers
  • cucumbers
  • snow peas
  • basil (that never really did well)
  • beets
  • onions
  • carrots
  • broccoli (the broccoli was the saddest veggie ever)
  • bush beans
  • salad greens (I forget the mix I used but it was too bitter for us)
  • raspberries (we put two plants in the 6'x2' plot - with the intent on moving them this past fall but that never happened. Does anyone know if transplanting raspberries in the early spring is a good idea?)
  • Potatoes (but they weren't part of the garden, they were in a garbage can)
Last year I learned that as nice as it was to have such a variety, we didn't have enough of the family staples to keep us from having to go to the market and buy more. I don't want to get carried away and have a goal where we can only eat from the garden (not yet anyway) but there were a few veggies that we could have used more of (onions, carrots, beans, peas - and raspberries, but they never last long enough do they?). 
My goal for the garden this year is to use the space appropriately (we will be making the garden a little bit bigger, but not by much), make it as low maintenance as possible (ha!), and pay attention to succession planting so that I can get more yield throughout the season. 
For now, I need to get me some seeds. I'm going to order from Urban Harvest. They have a great selection of organic and heirloom varieties that are perfect for the backyard homesteader. 

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