Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Garden Plans for 2011

Starting in February, planning for the gardening year ahead becomes earnest.  I leaf through catalogues, check out blogs and websites, read some books and attend a couple of workshops.  Throughout this process I take lots of notes in my gardening notebook.

At some point, I take all these thoughts and draw a plan for our garden plot.  Our plot is 30' x 40'.  I divide it into four segments so we can walk around easily and plan for our crop rotation.  Rotating your crop (planting different veggies in different spots every year) helps minimize pests and disease.  It also helps to manage your soil better as some crops are heavier feeders than others and some (like legumes) actually add nitrogen back into the soil.  I also take into consideration companion planting (which plants like to be beside each other and which don't, eg. borage and cucumbers love each other).

It seems like a lot to consider, but after figuring it out once, you can basically follow the same plan year after year, just rotating the plan.

Here's what our plan looks like for 2011 (Sorry Dad, North is pointing down!).

The dots are the garlic bulbs I planted in the fall.  The o's are onions, l's are leeks that I use as borders along the paths.  I have a legume section, squash section, corn&kid section, and a cabbage, tomato & pepper section.  Squash are heavy feeders so I follow them with the legumes to replenish the soil.  Tomatoes and peppers are my favourites so they get to follow the legumes.  And the last section, well kids and corn are great companions!  That's my theory, anyway.
Notice we don't have any potatoes.  I'm not sure if the kids will want to put some in, but I don't find them worth the effort in our clay soil.  Also note that we have strawberries in an annual garden that gets ploughed every fall.  These plants came from a neighbouring gardener last fall who said they grow well, you just have to dig them up before the plough goes through, keep them moist and then put them back in the ground after the ploughing is done.  I figure it's worth a try.

Oh, the thing in the middle is our wooden teepee that we use for our scarlett runner beans and as a shady spot for Mars.


WolfSong said...

I hadn't realized how big your community plot was! Of course, if I had read your sidebar closer, I would have...

Out of curiosity, how did you come to get the plot? I keep seeing plots around the city, but always wondered how people went about getting to use them.

Getty Stewart said...

The plots are managed by a garden society. I got connected through friends who shared their plot with me. After that first year I was hooked and put my name on a list with the garden society. I was lucky, at that time the list wasn't as long as it is now. Last I heard there were 66 people waiting to get a plot. The land is owned by the City of Winnipeg and is then leased to the garden society. If you don't know your local garden society, drive by your preferred location to see if there are any posters or try calling the City to see who manages a certain area.