This is a journal of my vegetable gardens. Skippy was my first dog and he always thought the garden was his. Even though I do all the work, he always stood by me. I'm located near Boston (in USDA zone 6A). I have a community plot and a backyard vegetable garden. I use sustainable organic methods and try to grow all of my family's vegetables.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

revised 2014 garden plans

2014 home garden diagram v6.pptx
I've scaled down on the size I'm planning for my new home garden. Originally I had a giant garden planned, almost twice as big as this one. But I've realized that I don't need to grow much more food than I did before. Plus, since I will have a a big lawn to mow, a small orchard to tend, and my chickens, two dogs, and hopefully a couple bee hives to care for too, so I don't want to burn out too soon. This garden version is only a little bigger than my old home garden.

The two large beds at each end of the garden will be for crops like potatoes or corn. Its been difficult to dig potato trenches in the 3.5 foot wide beds at my community plot. I think 6 x 15 will give me some good space for digging. I can get two 15 ft rows, or five 6 ft rows. I won't grow potatoes here this year, because the soil is so hard. This year, I'll grow plants in the 6 inches of soil that I'll bring in to fill the raised beds. I'm hoping that, by next year, the worms will get busy and loosen up the deeper soil for me. I'll try tomatoes and popcorn in the big beds this year.

A big difference between this garden and my old home garden will be the amount of sun. I'll be able to grow tomatoes again! (fingers crossed) In recent years, my old home garden had gotten too shady and late blight can be a problem in the community garden. I'm planning two 4 x 12 beds for tomatoes. Using string and cross pole supports, I can grow 4 rows of 6 plants; 24 plants. Wow! I haven't been able to can my own sauce in years.

Other things I am looking forward to this year:

- More potatoes: I'll use 2 beds in my community plot this year. The flea beetles have gotten really bad for the potatoes there, so I'll try Johnny's Mycotrol, an organic beetle control. (I've started a program at the community garden to provide all gardeners with a variety of organic pest controls and Mycotrol is a new one we're adding this year. Its not very effective for me to spray my crops when pests go rampant in neighboring plots. We had really good success controlling late blight in tomatoes last year by providing sprays and resistant plants.)

- More beets, carrots and lettuce: These didn't grow in the shade at home and I wasn't able to water frequently enough to grow them in my community plot. I had a water spigot installed last fall right next to the location where the new garden will be. This year, I am planning on using drip lines and sprinklers with a timer to make sure the garden gets regular irrigation.

- And I'll have room for popcorn again! I had such fun with this several years ago when I got a good crop at my community plot. But in a small patch, only the inner rows get pollinated and produce ears. I hope this big 6x15 foot patch will do well. Corn ear worms were also a problem at the community plot so I'll see how that goes here.

- Not that I'm looking forward to it, but it'll be new for me to garden with a lot of wildlife around. There are so many deer and raccoons here. I'll plan a 6 foot chicken wire fence. Either that or an electric fence.

2014 community plot diagram v4

8 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keep up the good work on your blog!! Skippy is my go-to reference for veggie gardening!! Every year I expand the garden a little bit and use your guides for planting and problem solving!! Thank you :)

February 27, 2014 8:12 AM

 
Anonymous Donald said...

Pop Corn that made me laugh cause i grew peanuts last year and saved the peanut seed to grow some more this year. Potatoes i had a bumper crop last year im so sick of potatoes im taking a year off and going to try something different maybe some sort of dried beans for soups in the winter.

March 01, 2014 1:24 PM

 
Blogger Pam said...

Hi Kathy - so glad you decided to change your original plan. The new gardens will be on "new ground" so you can expect to fight ferocious battles with weeds - and it will take time to make good soil.

Have you considered using cattle panels? They make excellent trellises and supports for everything in a veg garden, are pretty easy to move, are nearly indestructible. (16' long x 50" high). If you put a cattle panel down the middle of a 4' bed, you're done - you can grow beans, peas, cukes, tomatoes with a cattle panel as support. I buy them from a farm supply company.

Have fun!!

March 01, 2014 10:02 PM

 
Blogger kathy said...

Great idea Pam. I love cattle panels, but haven't found an economical place to buy them. I know gardeners who have mail ordered and I'm always jealous, but they were expensive. I was thinking of getting some of the rebar supports that are same size, but not stainless, at Home Depot. They're a lot less expensive, but rusty surface doesn't look as nice. I'll check my local farm supplies out here near my new house.

March 02, 2014 4:41 PM

 
Anonymous Ralph said...

"I won't grow potatoes here this year, because the soil is so hard."

Last year, I tried growing potatoes in straw--and it worked out well.

The year before last, we had a plague of Colorado potato beetles. I sprayed with a Neem solution--that helped somewhat.

I also made an infusion of garlic and sprayed the potatoes with that, too.

None of these remedies had the efficacy of commercial solutions, but they were, at least for human beings, non-toxic.

For more information, I refer you to: http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/insects/find/colorado-potato-beetles/

March 07, 2014 10:30 AM

 
Blogger WoodsForestHome said...

I can't wait to see how your new garden space turns out! Planning out a garden is always exciting, but new gardens...!

We call those panels hog wire around here. I love them and as I get my garden going at the new home place those are center stage for trellises. When I lived in a big metropolitan area I couldn't find a good place to buy them anywhere and have missed them. Now that I'm back in the land of the feed store they are plentiful and inexpensive again. I'm not sure how rural you are, but wherever you have a niche of people raising pigs or even goats you would probably find a feed store selling them at a good price.

Lara

March 08, 2014 9:19 AM

 
Blogger kathy said...

Acton MA has a farm store. I'll check next week. Sometimes I drive up to the Essex Coop in Topsfield MA, which has better prices, but farther away. ($8 for a bale of straw in Acton vs $5 in Topsfield.) I'll check both places for "hog wire" or "cattle panels".

I know these wire panels are very convenient and look great, but my solution for supports is often fallen branches. These are available in great abundance in my back yard. They can support peas, pole beans. I think maybe anything. Branches, large or small, and some twine. Sometimes its a matter of using what's available.

March 09, 2014 9:40 PM

 
Anonymous Donald said...

Last year The Asian supermarket sold Sweet Potato Leaves around the start of the gardening season. They must use them for stir fry or something. If i see them again this year im going to root them and plant them in my garden I pray they have them again this year. Not having to grow Sweet Potato Slips saves a lot of time.

March 10, 2014 4:16 PM

 

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