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PLANNING YOURIDEAL GARDENMaximize your harvest – Minimize your Time, Cost, and Space
Step 1: Identify your limiting factorsA. Space Available – how many square feet do you have available to plant in?• Sun exposure• Ease of access• Drainage• If limited - be creative, and break it upB. Budget• If done well, can significantly reduce food budget• Start small and don‟t overspend!C. Time• What time can you commit daily?• What time can you commit weekly?• Spring time is the most work, fall has another big push.
Dreaming it upHow much food is it possible to grow?• Jon Jeavons‟ experimental gardens• All of a person‟s calories (vegan diet) grown in 700 sq ft. burning fewer calories to grow it thanare harvested in the year.• In 100 sq ft you could grow:• 200 lbs of tomatoes• 316 lbs of cucumbers• 202 lbs of lettuce – in spring and again in the fall.• 2500 carrots – every 10 weeks• 1300 onions• 100 lbs of watermelon
Maximum Harvest in Minimum Space• Methods:• Bio-Intensive Spacing• Succession Planting• Inter-planting• Starting Indoors• Considerations:• Crop Rotations• Plant Varieties
Mapping Your Space• Bed width• Bed Length• Space between beds• # of beds• Space for shed or greenhouseSpacing between beds - 2 ½‟ „Garden Beds 4‟ x25‟Garden shed 8x10Green house10x12
Garden Wish ListStaying in BudgetSeeds and plants• Find heirlooms locally and online - .99 to $3• Save seeds• Buy in Bulk – keep 3+ years if stored right• Perennials – get cuttings from friends• Limit # of varieties• Mountain Valley Seed• J&Js• Seed Savers Exchange• Baker Creek• Tomato Fest• Bountiful GardensSoil Needs• Test $20• Logan Labs.com• Analysis -• Amendments• Organic Matter - Compost• Phosphate• Potassium• Nitrogen• Magnesium• Azomite• Mycorhizza• Bacterial Tea
Garden Wish ListStaying in BudgetTools• Tilling:• Broadfork• Digging Fork• Power Tool• Spade• Hand trowels• Narrow• Wide• Hand Fork• Digging Board• Pitch fork – mulch and compostWatering• Irrigation• Hose and spray nozzle – needs to be very fineshower• Hose and sprinkler head• Bucket and dipper• Automatic Sprinkler System• Drip Systems• Durks Plumbing• Home Depot/Lowes• Our Ultimate system - $60 + $15• Filters weeds• Slow and Deep
Garden Wish ListStaying in BudgetStructures• Season Extenders• Cold frames• Low tunnels• High tunnels• Greenhouse• Trellising: beans, tomatoes, cucurbits• Plastic Mulch• Pest control row covers• Shed?Seed Starting• Grow Lights - $25/ set + frame• Trays or cups• Tray covers or saran wrap• Soil• Soil Blockers• Germination Mat or space heater• Mister or bottom watering method
How much time?• Prepping a Bed - first year: 2 to 5 hours,thereafter 1 hour• Building a germination station• Building a hoop house• Setting up trellises, low tunnels• Settng up the drip system – 3 hoursOnce a year projects
The Garden RoutineWeekly• Planting Indoors• Planting Outdoors• Composting• Weeding• Enjoying and dreamingDaily• Watering Seedlings• Watering garden• Checking Plants for problems• Smashing Bugs• Harvesting• Praying over your garden
Time Line• Last and First Frost Dates – Avg. and Safe• We use a week # and a $2 calendar• January – Planning• February – Ordering; start tomatoes for WOW, onions and celery indoors, cold cropsstarted in cold frames or indoors• March – soil test, amend, prepare beds for cold plants; continue cold plants; startpeppers and herbs indoors. Transplant perennials.• April – Prepare beds for warm plants. Cold hardy plants start in beds, water system setup, start tomatoes indoors, cover brassicas. Starting to Harvest salad greens.• May – Succesion plantings of cold crops. Start semi-cold hardy plants outdoors, buildtrellises, start cucurbits indoors. More Harvest, including peas, carrots, radishes.• June – Everything else is planted; last succession plantings of cold crops if you haveshade. Weeding, Monitoring for pests, water, etc. Harvesting!
Time Line Continued• July – Succesion plantings; starting fall celery, brassicas; weeding, watering,monitoring, Harvesting!• August – Harvesting lots of varieties. Starting fall cold crops. Salsa!• September – Harvesting and drying, canning, freezing. Still succession planting ofgreens, and roots. Start cleaning up beds that are done with summer crops. Set uphoop tunnels to extend your harvest of fresh produce.• October – Finish harvest of summer crops; compost all the growth, soil test and amend,plant cold cover crops, cold frames or hoops over the crops you are continueingthrough winter.• November – Harvesting and last planting in cold frames and tunnels.• December – Harvesting the cold crops that are happily preserved in the ground, undercold frames or tunnels. Eating your pumpkin pie! The days are too short to startanything without artificial lights, but you could start greens indoors!
Step 2: Planning how much of what• Resources:• How to Grow More Vegetables* by John Jeavons – quantities• Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholemew– timing• 4 Season Harvest by Elliot Coleman – season extending, sequential planting• Generally you can use the “plant” or “thin to” spacing on an envelope and ignore the“row spacing.”• Some varieties take more space per calories produced than others. Brassicas, squash,melons and corn are some of the worst. Perennials also can take quite a bit of space,but eventually provide a good harvest for the amount of work.• What are you most excited to eat?