This is a journal of my vegetable gardens. Skippy was my first dog and he thought the garden was his, even though I did all the work. Now Suzie and Charley follow in his footsteps. We're located near Boston (USDA zone 6A). I have a community plot, a backyard vegetable garden, fruit trees, berry bushes, chickens, and bees. I use sustainable organic methods and do my best to grow all of my family's vegetables myself.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

I'm working on my garden plans today and hope to be done tomorrow. I'm encorporating crop rotation and allocating space for all of the varieties I want to grow. Plus, I want to include lots of flowers that attract beneficial insects and make the gardens beautiful. I want to reduce planting in rows this year and go for more patches and combined plantings.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am looking forward to seeing your plans... I have been doing the same thing with my garden plans...I love doing this every winter and move things around on paper many times before I am satisfied...such a fun way to beat the winter blahs...considering companion planting, crop rotation, beneficial flowers and my 2 favorites, sweet peas and dahlias, then trying to fit it all in my small space...most of all making it beautiful... I love working with the colors and textures of has been overcast and wet here as usual, your last photos look like our north west will be a while before it is dry enough to work in my garden... nw organic gardener

January 26, 2017 9:51 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll be interested to see your plans. Like you, I use raised beds and tend to use the seed packet distance between plants in a row for the spacing (e.g. If the packet says space 6 inches apart in rows 12 inches apart, I use a 6 inch spacing between plants and between rows). I do tend to keep to blocks of one specific plant to ensure good crop rotation; I don't intersperse radish or onions with tomatoes and carrots because then I wouldn't be able to plant brassicas or alliums in those spots next year). I also like to use Enviromesh to cover certain crops, which could be problematic if something needed pollinating.

Having said that, last year I decided to interplant the brassicas with thyme, which is supposed to deter the butterflies (I didn't see any difference but that goodness for Enviromesh!) and I planted Nasturtiums near the cucumbers and melons, to deter cucumber beetles and squash bugs (I actually think it attracted even more bad bugs). The only thing that really does seem to work for me are marigolds. They do seem to keep wireworm away from carrots and reduce aphids on the tomatoes.

I don't know if you've seen this news - the Allium Leaf Miner was found in NJ and PA in 2016. This bug has been devastating onions, shallots, leeks and chives in England since the 1990s. The bug feeds on the leaves and then lays its eggs on the plants. The eggs hatch and the grubs eat their way through the bulbs. There doesn't seem to be a good way of controlling, except through the use of row cover. I'll be covering onions this year. Deb S.

January 27, 2017 12:39 PM

Blogger kathy said...

Not great to plant thyme with brassica's if you are using row cover on the brassica's. You can use BT on the brassica instead of row cover, but the thyme is really such a great beneficial insect attractor that its a shame to cover it. I have been planting all my brassicas in one bed and cover it the whole season. I am thinking I'll try some outside of covers and spray with BT this year to see how that works. Broccoli and cabbage are so pretty in the garden uncovered.

I have a hard time figuring out what plants go well together in terms of attracting the right bugs. Also, home gardens are pretty small, so it's not like a patch of "X" bug attractor flowers is better situated here or there it seems. I go with the general ideas. Like marigolds are good repellents. Plant them were ever you can. Plants with small flowers are generally good attractors of beneficial insects, so plant them wherever you can. More important in locating "companion" plants, is where they fit well. E.G. no thyme under the brassica row covers, low plants are nice under tomatoes and peppers. Mix in patches of flowers and vegetables, trying to have good sized area of flowers without sacrificing too much vegetable space.

Great! (not) I didn't see that about the leaf miner! All w need is another major pest. I really like to grow my own onions.

I forgot my dahlias in my plans... Thanks for mentioning them. I'll see what I can do. I only have one very tall variety I like to grow and it can go in a back corner. Maybe in palace of one of those plantings of pole beans on my home garden plan.

January 28, 2017 9:00 PM

Blogger CHRIS said...

so out of curiosity, i notice that you are planning to regrow a few crops (butternut squash, pole beans, potatoes...) in the same place as you did last year... can you speak a little about your thoughts on crop rotation in the backyard garden and what your thinking was with planning it that way this year? how important/useful is it in a "small garden" like our own. i've heard everything from its "totally essential to prevent pest/disease buildup and mineral exhaustion" to "those rules don't really apply in the same way in small garden bc bugs and disease have so little way to travel to reinfect and home gardeners replenish minerals with compost regularly". i have four 4x12ft raised beds (12in depth) that i try to rotate crops through each year but the conflicting literature out there makes me question whether all the hassle is completely necessary at times! especially when i end up in a pinch as to where to plant one or two things!
and what spacing guidelines do you use in your beds? square foot gardening guidelines? the seed package instructions? you fit so much! the plans look great! thanks for sharing :)

January 30, 2017 1:48 PM


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