There are no doubt lots of other things I could/should be putting my time on these last days of January rather than garden planning. I mean it's still more than two months until I can even think of starting seeds inside. But because I didn't garden last year (ask me if I'm eager to get my hands back in the dirt this year), and because of all those luscious seed catalogs piled on my desk, I just can't stop myself. The official Garden Planning Book (ratty, old 3-ring binder) has come out and I'm plotting out the raised beds, field garden and pumpkin patch.
We've got twenty-six 4 x 8' raised beds, a field garden (part of it shown above) approximately 35 x 45' and a plot I plant to pumpkins and/or squash that is 14 x 23'.
Certain crops lend themselves more to the raised beds, others to the open plots of ground.
In my raised beds, the soil is very good which enables me to plant intensively. This also makes the beds easy to maintain because very few weeds grow in between the veggies.
I have cold frames that fit on top of the raised beds which enable me to start some things much earlier than I would be able to without the added frost protection of the cold frames. Our summers are (usually) cooler than needed for tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers so I leave the cold frames (with tops open during the day) on these veggies through the summer and into fall to extend our short, short growing season.
So, the crops that will go in the raised beds this year are:
- cherry tomatoes
- storage onions
- salad greens
- Swiss chard
- slicing cucumbers
- lemon cucumbers
In the field garden I'll plant:
- shell peas
- bush beans
- pickling cucumbers
- full sized tomatoes
- sweet corn
- red kuri squash
That leaves the pumpkin patch for:
- small pie pumpkins
- large jack-o-lantern pumpkins
I haven't planted full sized tomatoes or sweet corn in a couple/few years but last summer was so warm I decided to give them a try again. I just hope I don't jinx all hopes of us having a nice, hot summer this year by my planting of corn and tomatoes! I'll still have to give them some protection, probably hot caps over the corn early on and some kind of plastic cages for the tomatoes.
That's the start of planning for my 2012 garden. Now to go through my stash of seeds and see if I need to order more of anything.
I hope this post wasn't boring as all-get-out for you, dear readers. It sure did help me start thinking about this year's gardening. The colorful pictures gave me a boost in this kinda drab time of year, too.