Garden Plan – Fall 2018

Although it’s too early to commit to my plan for 2019, some thoughts are captured before I forget them. The staples are: kale, peas, beans, fava beans, zucchini, garlic, lettuce. Potatoes, but in containers as my beds aren’t deep enough.

Bed 1:  March plantings: peas and lettuce?  April: lettuce, fennel, June: zucchini and squash?

Bed 2: May: beans!

Bed 3: This year the bed was full of beans. In October I am planting with garlic until the end of June, then fall crops (lettuce etc).

Bed 4: March: This bed is going to rest all winter and will be dug up for favas in the spring. Garlic for 2020?

 

Garden plan 2018: Sticking to the plan (…OR NOT  Updated August 26th)

In years past I used to practice a sort of modified crop rotation to nourish the soil. I’m not entirely sure that had the intended effect and I usually end up adding lots of compost and manure to each bed during the year anyway. Also, in the spirit of “making the plan is easy, sticking to the plan is hard”, sometimes the empty waiting-for-zucchini-in-June beds get filled with exciting new types of lettuce. So this year, I am going to try to stick to this plan.

(The italicized text was added August 26, 2018)

Bed 1: Garlic and April plantings

The first bed is already half filled with garlic that was planted last October. I planted three heads of Russian Red and Italian Porcelain, both hard necked varieties, which are already sprouting.

In April, I am going to plant Italian endive, fennel and kale  in the other half of the bed. The Italian endive was a big hit of last year. It has very large leaves that look like dandelions which are much milder and can be eaten fresh or sautéed. For kale, I am again going to plant “kale storm” which has about five varieties of kale in one seed ball.

Spring 2018 was very wet and the invisible slugs ate everything! Fennel is their favourite. Only one endive survived. I ended reseeding the kale many times. Once I started using the slug shield (a woven copper ribbon) around the beds, things got better. 

The garlic was fabulous. I made pesto out of the scapes and in late June I pulled out all the garlic and dried it in the basement. Only one garlic bulb was rotted which is low. I’ve set aside the best heads to plant this October, and am planting an entire garden bed. 

Bed 2: Winter kale and June Plantings

This bed now contains last years kale which are now tall Dr. Seuss style trees with just a few leaves near the crown. Most of the fall kale survived the winter and will soon start producing new leaves. I will clear out this bed in late May for the June plantings: zucchini, squash, cucumber, dill, cilantro.

I replanted this bed several times because everything was eaten by slugs or other things. Finally, I had one row of swiss chard and two rows of mescalin grow. And cilantro. I sowed all my old cilantro seeds and they grew amazingly well….but there is only so much cilantro a girl needs. Dill grew well and I’ve used it for quick pickles. One squash plant and one zucchini plant grew of the many planted. I have one squash on the way. 

I am planning to do a few more rows of kale and lettuce today for the winter. 

IMG_8328

Sad, sad winter kale. Yes, that is a patch of snow in the middle left.

Bed 3: May Plantings

Right now this bed has some of the summer kale that rotted in the fall, the Italian endive from last year as well as parsley. I am keeping them all for now to see how they grow in the spring. This is where I am going to plant the pole and bush beans. Plan B for the beans is to plant them in my front garden.

Two words: bean tsunami. The tricolour beans were the best. Fortex beans were also good, but the scarlet runners didn’t seem to germinate. Lots of red flowers and few beans. Once the beans are finished in October, I will plant garlic here. 

Bed 4: March Plantings

This is for peas, radishes, lettuce and perhaps one or two rows of early kale. These are the crops that always get picked over by slugs and birds so this year I am going to surround my seedlings with copper ribbon and  hope for better luck than last year.

Radishes sucked, but the peas and the squash grew fabulously! I did end up replanting the peas many times and in the end had huge numbers; usually I grow enough for a small handful, but this year we had enough peas to add to salads and for sides. The squash seeds were handed out by the neighborhood home hardware during a parade last summer. 

Bed 5: Basil and Nasturtiums (April)

In addition to the perrenial herbs (thyme, rosemary, sage, chives) this year I am going to ONCE AGAIN try to grow basil and also plant nasturtiums.

HEH? I planted basil? No sign of that, obviously another favourite of the slugs. Nasturtiums were fabulous….many were eaten by humans. 

The big open area: favas

Last year The Man used the open area for dahlias. They were very successful and had lots of sun, however we couldn’t see them fro the house so didn’t get as much enjoyment out of them as we could have. This year I am taking back this area for the favas and he is planting all his dahlias in containers that he is going to put around the deck.

Yes, this was a GREAT year for favas. My freezer is full. Tying the row up between stakes worked much better than tying up each individual plant. Next  year we are putting tomatoes back in that spot. 

IMG_8123[1]

Fava envy: A big bed of fava beans in someone’s raised bed. Saw this in Feb when I walked down to the beach in Oliva.

……………………

Garden plan 2017: start early

This year I’m sticking to the tried-and-true: kale, cucumbers, pumpkins, zucchini, beans, favas, peas, and lots and lots of herbs. The Man wants to try growing asparagus, too late for this year (i think), but we can plan for next year.

My worst habit is planting things too early and too close together, so I am going to work on planting things later, and spacing things out.

The big plan is to dig up the dandelions (and pull other weeds) as soon as they emerge.

By the end of the summer I hope to have enough young kale (summer planting) to keep us going through fall and early winter.

Garden plan 2016

There was no plan (and very little blogging last year) and yet we enjoyed some of our best harvests ever (especially beans, kale, favas, potatoes, apples and raspberries) and the best succession planting ever: we ate fresh vegetables from the garden almost every day.

Garden plan 2015

2014 was probably one of the best gardening years ever in terms of having a continual harvest. In particular, the fall garden grew very well and we enjoyed greens until October. This year I am going to try to repeat what I did last year, except with bed rotation….the original bed rotation plan is falling apart since I planted garlic in bed 2 at the end of last year.

the plan and the reality.

The open area: fava beans.

Bed 1 – Potatoes.  

Bed 2 –  Legumes, cool-weather crops and salad crops. Peas, green beans, garlic (perfect!)  lettuce and salad greens.   

  • February – plant peas
  • March – plant spinach and arugula
  • April – plant lettuce and a few rows of parsnips

Bed 3 -Warm weather crops. cucumbers, zucchini, also beans.

  • April – plant florence fennel and pole beans
  • June – plant cucumber, summer squash, zucchini

Bed 4 – Brassicas.

  • March – plant kale.
  • April – plant swiss chard

Bed 5 – Herbs. 

  • April – nasturtiums
  • May – parsley
  • June – dill

……………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Garden Plan 2014:

Other stuff:

  • Need to dig out all the bulbs under the lilac. The tulips (yellow) and hyacinths are expecially nice, but are crowded out.
  • Time to reduce the height of a few trees around the vegetable garden.
  • Cut back the lilacs.
  • Dig out the day lilies and use them to line the front path.
  • Figure out what to do with the big empty space in the front.

 

the plan and the reality.

Bed 1 – over wintered veggies: cabbage, kale, kale, kale, lettuce, lettuce, arugula.  Lettuce, spinach and most of the kale didn’t survive. March 9 -planted fennel. April 13 planted brussel sprout seedlings. Harvested some cabbage.

Bed 2 – overwintered veggies?  March 9 also planted peas, appeared by April 5th. Planted spinach and chard seedlings.

Bed 3 – potatoes. Cascade potatoes planted in deep troughs on March 30.

Bed 4 – broad beans

Planted March 9, first appeared April 3.

Bed 5 – herbs only

March 9 – thyme, parsley, parsley, cilantro, mescluns, nasturtium and one chard seed. By April 13, cilantro and nasturtiums are up as well as tarragon and chives. Planted parsley seedlings and a new bay leaf.

NO MORE TOMATOES PLANTED FROM SEED.

Front Bed sunflowers planted near the alliums, blue delphinium seeds sowed between the tulips, April 6.

Garden Plan 2013

Things that are currently not included in the plan: beets, parsnips, radishes, corn, pumpkins.

Bed 1

  • Planted with fava last November, currently suffering. The plan is to see what happens by mid April. If the favas are still suffering, I am going to replace them with lettuce and maybe beets.
  • MID-APRIL – plant lettuce.
  • Update (end of May): the favas were replanted early in the year and are either flowering or have beans growing.
  • This might be an overwintered bed (lettuce, kale) for next year, depending on when the beans are finished.

Bed 2

  • Currently planted with lettuce and pac choi. The lettuce suffered all winter, but seems to be growing slowly now. This can stay where it is until mid April.
  • MID-APRIL – plant kale and chard.
  • Update (end of May): Pulled out all the pac choi because no one will eat it. The Swiss Chard was transplanted in March and is thriving. More swiss chard and three types of kale were planted in mid-April. The lettuce is currently thriving and is yielding several large salads each week. Two more rows of lettuce sowed on May 19. Another row sowed on June 2. Cucumbers replaced the swiss chard on June 11.

Bed 3

  • Currently kale and spinach, which will stay where it is for now.
  • MARCH – plant leeks and celeriac. Looks like celeriac (with a 55% germination rate) is going to be the problem child of the bunch, requiring much more care and attention than the rest of the seeds.
  • Update (mid-APRIL) – transplanted leeks, and planted with carrots. Planted fennel and the celeriac.
  • Update (end of May): Spinach is doing fabulously. Pulled up the kale and arugula (both going to seed) and prepared bed for Zucchini.
  • Cilantro planted May 26th. Zucchini and squash (rond de nice) planted June 2.  More carrots (fingers) planted June 11 around the leeks.
  • By August the zucchini and the squash crowded each other out, and are taking over the space from the leeks and the carrots. Celeriac still growing strong.

Bed 4

  • Currently this is planted with the rest of the winter kale and the suffering Swiss Chard.

Update MID-MARCH: potatoes planted.

Update: August 11 dug out all the potatoes, added two bags of manure, 2 bins of compost. Tarpted the bed for next year.

Bed 5 – THE BIG SUCCESSION GARDENING EXPERIMENT

  • Currently there are only carrots, chives and sorrel in this bed. I should refer to the carrots in the past tense, as something recently ate the carrots. I need this to be a fairly low maintenance bed.  NOTE TO SELF: Dig in manure now.
  • MID-MARCH – plant cold weather crops, arugula, spinach, pac choi and mesclun blend.
  • Update end of MAY – arugula and beets are doing well. Lettuce and kale from the mescalin mix are doing well. I pulled up the pac choi and mezuna.
  • JUNE – plant cucumbers outside and sow dill. These were planted in another bed.

The dirt pile

Planted this area with all my heirloom tomatos, which are not growing. Planted four varieties of beans: jade, fortex, romano and scarlet emperor on May 19th.  All of the beans were in full production mode by early August. Fortex and romano are the favorites.

POTS

  • APRIL – plant tomatoes inside
  • MAY/JUNE – transplant outside…carefully.

Flower beds

I have four main areas for planting flowers.

  1. Under the area where the plum tree used to be. Currently planted with lilies, this area is starting to have weed problems. I plan to sow a wildflower mix to plant there. I also want to add some wildflowers to the area in front of the cedars, as it is always kind of “dead” there.
  2. Under the lilac tree, where there is lots of sunlight and white bleeding hearts. This year I am planting white cosmos and white fragrant sweet peas.
  3. The bed at the front of the rock garden in the back. Last year poppies, nasturtiums and sweet peas were all successful. This year I am going to sow more of the same, as well as calendula.
  4. The bed in the front. This is kind of the “showcase” bed. Last year was planted with heliotrope, snapdragons and limp yellow things which ended up getting pulled out. All the bulbs and crocuses are coming out there now, but I might put a combination of wild flowers and sweet peas there this  year.

Garden Plan 2012

(See the Lessons Learned page for what really happened in 2012)

This year I have been following the struggles of my friend “High Acid Geoff”. I’ll spare you the whole story except to say that I learned that only minor changes in the pH of the human gastrointestinal tract can cause major discomfort. I am sure only minor changes in the pH of soil probably cause major plant discomfort, so this is the year I am buying a pH meter.

Again, I am going to use and adapted four-year rotational strategy, suggested in “Gardening in the Pacific North West”, by Carol and Normal Hall. This is how it is going to look this year:

Plot B (year 2, previously plot A) : Potatoes. Needs soil pH of around 6.5. Phosphorus and potassium but not nitrogen.

Plot C (year 2, previously plot B): Peas, spinach, salad greens. pH 6.0-6.5.

Plot D (year 2, previously plot C): warm stuff – cucumbers and squash. I might do an early pea crop in here as well, as it is currently empty.

Plot A (year 2, previously plot D): Brassicas. Broccoli, kale, leeks, kale, swiss chard and kale. WHOOPS this was brassicas last year too…brussel sprouts, leeks and chard.  Oh dear, was supposed to planted with fall rye and emerge with a pH of 6.8 – 7.0.

The other bed is for garlic, chives, dill, edible flowers (calendula and cornflowers) and  herbs.

Not sure where carrots, parsnips and beets will go….?

This year tomatoes will be grown in pots only. Hoping to put a greenhouse in where the corn was last year.

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