Planning to Succeed
Did you ever have one of those obnoxious supervisors that said things like, “If you fail to plan then you plan to fail”? I know I have. As annoying as it is to hear planning is an important step in gardening. We have made some drastic changes to the infrastructure of the Food It Yourself Garden this year. We are planting primarily in raised beds. One reason for this is that our soil is so full of stones, rocks, pebbles, and boulders that there is really no other way to expand our growing area. Also, the beds are narrow enough that I can weed without stepping near the plants. Compressed ground is the enemy of every garden plant. Finally, it will help reign in the chaos that is my typical planting method.
To maximize my chances of success I employed the principles of companion planting. I have mentioned this method before, but it’s been a while. In short, some plants grow better when they are near each other. There are plenty of lists, charts and infographics on the internet that can help you plan your companion planted garden. Here are two I used.
- Obviously, being the Yankee that I am I used the list provided by Old Farmer’s Almanac.
- Organic Garden Supply has this neat grid with even more vegetables and herbs listed.
Ultimately, here is how it all played out:
Step one was building and filling some raised beds. We found a local place that could deliver a 50/50 mix of loam and compost. A few weeks later when the rain stopped I was able to fill the beds. I raked in a little balanced fertilizer as I layered in the soil. I could not find my fertilizer scoop so I used a quahog shell. Because I’m a yankee and that’s how we roll.
I got a few sprouts from my early-planted greens, tomatoes, and peppers. Maybe-there are some things sprouting in the area but they are still too small to identify. To be safe, I raided my local garden center for a few six-packs. Also, I gave my supervisor some bee balm and chives so she gave me a six-pack of tomato plants. Because we’re both gardeners and that’s how we roll.
On a sunny day after work I gathered my plants, my seeds, and my planting plan and I set to work. It took a couple of hours, but it felt good, and it looks good!
I still have a few things to plant. The turned over section of garden that does not have raised beds on it will be planted with pumpkins and their companion vegetable sweet corn. That is Mr. Food It Yourself’s thing, though. We’re planting sunflowers and an ornamental grass called “bunny tales” in front of the house. And I need some oregano; the garden center was sold out. I cannot grow so many tomatoes and not have oregano for the making of tomato sauce. My planting turned out to be perfectly timed, as we are slated for 2 days of intermittent showers. I wish I could say I planned that, too!
I feel really optimistic about the Food It Yourself garden this year. Our sopping wet spring has replenished the drought-ravaged water table in New England. The warm weather has arrived, though. Pretty soon I’m sure we will have plenty of home grown goodness in our DIYet. I’ll certainly keep you updated on our progress. How is your garden coming along? Share in the comments section!
FYI: If you are interested in finding really interesting seeds, I order a lot of mine from Baker Creek and Seed Saver’s Exchange.
Curious…how did planting herbs that like it dry (lavender, thyme, sage) with water-loving zucchini work out?
It worked out okay. The raised beds keep the soil from getting too soggy even when there is a lot of rain. Also, I water sparingly when the weather is dry, which seems to help control the squash beetles.