Sunday, October 2, 2016

Patient Garden: Planning

So as the summer farm shuts down, I continue to plan the fall/winter/spring-all-those-future-times farm. I find myself looking at perfectly productive bean and tomato plants and demanding, "Are you done yet?" Bad ungrateful farmer.

Last year, my planning was all focused on a drawing of the farm. This year it's all about bed counts. The farm has a total of 120 beds, each with four feet by six feet of growing space. They're organized in rows One to Twelve, each with beds A-K. (Yes, that's eleven letters. We skip I to avoid confusion with J when rapidly scribbling. So, ten beds per row.)

But the count shrinks in the planning, as I reluctantly accept my limits--I'm not going to prep 120 beds to the plushness needed for vegetables and plant every one of them with different fancy things. At least not this year.

So rows One to Four--forty beds--are the pumpkin and flower patch. The flowers will be types that will consent to grow in lean soil, and while the pumpkins need to grow plush, each pumpkin plant will occupy more than one bed and won't need a lot of intensive planting.

So that leaves me with eighty beds.

Row Five is reserved for blueberries--all ten beds. I hope that we get the soil acidified and the blueberries planted this year--we've been planning it for the last two or three years. But whether we do or not, it's not going to be used for anything else. So, down to seventy beds.

Row Ten is all strawberries. And we're going to leave three beds each of the existing strawberry areas, so that's sixteen beds of strawberries, and fifty-four beds remaining.

Row Twelve will be all beans, Blue Lake and Fortex probably. Forty-four beds remaining.

There are a lot of salad greens and alliums and roots (carrots, beets, blah) that I want to plant and harvest, plant and harvest. I want lots of salad leaves, in particular as discussed in this post. So, ten beds, dotted here and there, will be "salad". Down to thirty-four.

Seven beds of garlic, plus one for grey French shallots and one for potato onions. Twenty-five.

While we're talking about onions, one bed for scallions, maybe perennial scallions. Twenty-four.

Four beds for herbs. Twenty.

We eat a lot of broccoli and cauliflower. So I've allotted them eight beds, ignoring the three beds already hosting overwintering versions. Twelve.

Three beds of Copra onions, because I miss them. But this year I'll grow them from seed. Buying plants just seems wrong. Nine.

Black currant bushes already occupy two beds. Seven.

Two beds for tomatoes, two plants each. Five. This is a huge tomato reduction. We didn't make much use of this year's tomatoes; I think that the reduction is appropriate.

Two beds for Armenian cucumbers, two plants each. Three.

And the last three beds will get raspberries, so that we're growing our three favorite soft fruits.

This leaves a few things out. If I fall in love with the parch corn, I'll eject something and put it back in. The same for the Candystick Delicata. And potatoes, potatoes, what to do about potatoes?

Anyway. There's also the question of succession plants. The crops that I've listed are just the priority crops for the beds--the crops that the bed is required to be ready for. But there's lots of time around these crops. The beans, tomatoes, and cucumbers won't go in until May. The garlic, shallots, and potato onions will be out sometime in midsummer.


That is all.

Image: Wikimedia Commons.

No comments:

Post a Comment