Since we barely got our first decent snowstorm of the winter, it seems a little inappropriate to say it's mid-winter, but I'm ready for spring. My favorite seed catalog came in the mail, so I'm dealing with the winter blues by planning my garden. There are some fun online tools that you can use to make a really fancy plan, or you can get out the pencils and graph paper. Raised bed gardens are meant to pack a lot into a small space, so it's best to plan ahead so you don't end up cramming things in after your trip to the garden store got a little out of hand. Plus, planning now allows you to start your own seeds...
I tried out this free trial garden planner. It's fairly easy to use, although to make all the vegetables the correct size takes a little more work- for me it wasn't a big deal- I know how many tomato plants will fit in my space, so I can just make notes of the exact number and use the cute icons to just mark what area of the garden will be filled with each plant.
15 is a zucchini plant or two- on the assumption that my artichoke is not going to survive the winter because the windstorm blew away all the leaves and straw I had insulated it with, and now it's probably dead. If by some miracle it survives, I'll have to find somewhere else to plant my zucchini.
18 and 19 are green beans. Mel Bartholemew's book Square Foot Gardening has a great section that goes over spacing. I use his suggestions, for the most part. His suggestion for bush beans are one seed every 4 square inches. I've had more success by just digging little trenches and filling them with bean seeds- maybe I'm over crowding my plants, but they seem to figure things out, and I get more beans.
17 is a hot pepper plant, and 16 will be as many bell and anaheim pepper plants as I can fit in.
14 are tomatoes, mostly paste, but one cherry and one beefsteak type as well.
7 and 8 are garlic- this past fall was my first attempt at planting garlic, so we'll see how that goes.
12 and 13 are strawberries- this bed started out as about 1/2 strawberries, and they've taken over. The kids love sitting and eating the strawberries, so it's hard to get any to keep, but last year we did manage to eat plenty and even freeze some for smoothies.
9 is peas, which will be followed by 20, a cucumber plant.
10 and 11 are my experiment for 2012 is the potato box. I've tried potatoes in a bucket and didn't have much success, putting the "bucket" (or box) inside the garden bed would fix my watering problems since my garden is watered on an automatic sprinkling system. I may not need as much space as I've allocated, and if that's the case, I'll plant more peas.
6 is asparagus. This is the 3rd year, so I should be able to harvest spears this year.
Normally we do corn (if the raccoons don't eat it all) and green beans (enough to can and eat for the year) and pumpkins and squash in the big garden, but we're going to be building a house on that lot this year, so the garden would get run over by construction equipment. Hopefully we can find somewhere to do some squash and pumpkins.