Its not even 2012 yet, and we are so excited to start planning, building and tending to next year’s garden that we decided to just start! You may recall that I talked about how to plan a garden a while back. Well, we put that plan into action this past Sunday and it turned out pretty well for the first time doing it. Last year, we just sort of threw everything together, didn’t measure anything or tend the soil in anyway. We didn’t even get all the grass dug out! Yet, we still managed to get a bumper crop of tomatoes and peppers, plus a whole ton of beans, potatoes and some peas as well. Sadly, our squash plants did not survive, but I have some plans for this coming season.
This year, we decided to try planting wide beds of vegetables, instead of planting in rows. From what I’ve seen, this is a great way to maximize the yield you can get from an area of soil. We attempted to cram in as much ‘growing area’ as possible, while still being able to reach everything inch of ‘growing area’ so as to keep up with weeds and such.
If you cannot see the picture very well, go ahead and click on it to enlarge. It’s a little fuzzy since it’s from my old cell phone’s camera, but you can still make out most of the detail.
Some Notes On The Plan
To create this plan, we took two sheets of notebook paper and taped them together so that we could draw the entire thing to scale. Our garden measures about 32 feet by 20 feet, so we decided to make the drawing to scale in centimeters, so it is 32 cm by 20 cm. Each of the squares that you see represents one bed of a specific vegetable or fruit. Different species in the same family are also in different squares. Each square was created, and once we knew where we wanted it, we used a stick of glue to glue it to the paper.
Around The Edge
To begin with the planning, we first went around the entire outside edge and created beds that are two feet wide. The reason for this is that two feet is narrow enough so that we can still lean in and tend to the plants. We could have probably gone with three feet, but we’ll see how two feet goes. We also decided to make most of the beds two feet in length as well, because we want to try as many varieties as possible. So each square you see around the edge is a two foot by two foot area. All but the larger plants will be filled completely with the vegetables, such as carrots and lettuce.
The red squares are tomatoes. The purple square is an eggplant. All the white along the bottom are different varieties of onions and on the top are Boo pumpkins, which are small ornamental pumpkins. I’ll be building a trellis for these. The brown on the top are all different varieties of lettuce. The green contains different varieties of peppers and cucumbers. The red along the left wall are beets and the orange on the same wall are carrots.
Next, we created a walking path next to all the outside beds so that we can get to them. This walking path is two feet wide as well, so we should have ample room to walk and tend to the outer beds. We will be covering all the walking paths with mulch to help with weeds and to add to the soil quality later on.
Also, note that the lettuce is all located north of the corn that we will plant. This is because it is a cool, shade crop and will thrive if not in full sun all day.
For the middle part of the garden, we knew we would have some larger vine crops. In order to maximize growth area while still being able to get to each part, we decided to keep the maximum bed width at 6 feet. This way we could lean in from each side, and get to the 3 feet that was on each side. You’ll notice the pumpkin bed is three squares wide, which is 2X3 = 6 feet. The beds on the right side of the middle would have been 10 feet wide, so we created a walking path up the middle, so they are now each 4 feet wide. This gives us ample leaning space.
On the left side of the middle beds we planted two rows of peas and two rows of beans. Each is 2 feet wide by 6 feet long. Next over is our sugar pumpkin bed which is 10 feet by 6 feet. I hope this is enough room… Above that we have a golden water melon bed that is 4 feet by 6 feet. Across from that is an eel river muskmelon bed. South of that we have sweet potatoes and then brown potatoes.
We also have a triple play sweet corn bed that measures 4 feet by 16 feet, which is north of the peas and beans.
It will be very interesting to see what happens with the vine crops. The beds aren’t massive, but we may be able to train them to stay where they belong. If not, I will build some trellises for them to grow on.
In addition to that we are also planning to plant zucchini up by our house and blue hokkaido squash in our fruit garden, both of which I’m super excited to do.
What do you think of our 2012 Garden Plans? Feel free to leave a comment, we’d love to hear from you!