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Location: Georgetown, DE
Posted: Jun/20/2007 11:14 PM PST
Help! As I just posted in my intro, I'm trying to transition away from being a simple "stick it in the ground and see what happens" gardener to someone who actually has a clue as to what she's doing. But right now, the only thing I know about what to plant and when is dictated by when my school's Ag department has their annual plant sale, which is when I buy my peppers and tomatoes and herbs, and I stick them in the ground and hope they do well.
My goal is to do square foot gardening, and to have a garden plan that will provide two people an appropriate amount of food over as long of a time as our growning season will allow, without a lot of non-freezable waste (I love the concept of doing canning just like my Granny always did, but it's just not realistic to think I'll learn to do that any time soon).
My problem is, I have lots of books and resources on how to do sq ft gardening, how to deal with individual types of plants, etc. but I can't find anything that will help me map out what to plant, how much to plant, and when to plant it.
In my ideal world, I'd find someone who knows my growing area who could help me literally map out a plan: OK, first half of this month, do these things. Then the second half do these things, and so on through the entire year.
So, anyone have any idea of resources that would help me learn how to do that kind of planning? FYI I'm in Delaware, zone 7a, and I've seen some wonderful "month by month" gardening books but they're all geared to other areas.
Thanks for any ideas and suggestions on how/where I can get what I need to help me learn this!
Location: east coast..Connecticut at the sound !
Posted: Jun/21/2007 10:29 PM PST
I don't exactly do square foot gardening...but I live in a city..and have learned that every inch of my garden needs to be plotted and planned.
There really isn't a "Book" ..because every garden has different soil and different light patterns..and all of this must be considered before you really get into it too deep !
First..you need to plan the size of your garden bed or beds....I actually have five beds spread around my property...from heavily shaded...to full sun.
To see the sun patterns on your garden you must go out side and watch how the sun moves through the places you want to plant---that will determine what you can plant and where.
Next--check out your soil...is it rich enough to grow..is it chalky...or clay like..or wet all the time....these is important to know also....Now you can utilize GArden Extentions for checking your soil P.H...TO SEE IF ITS ACID OR NEUTRAL.
I originally planted right into the ground..but as I pushed for larger yeilds...I had to ammend my soil with manure and better soil..this in turn pushed me to ammend the beds themselves and I went on to raise all of my beds...but it took me about 3 -4 years to get them all...I now work a foot or more over the actual ground level and it has made it better for my back and my plants.
The next thing you need is to talk to your family and figure out what vegetables or fruits would be best served to your family....Early spring is usually best for lettuce...summer cukes and tomatoes..and corn..and strawberries......Blueberries are a bush and will need space..but could brighten your table year round if you can or freeze.
I will try to check back here again !
Location: Central North NJ
Posted: Jun/24/2007 3:41 PM PST
First lay out a grid on a piece of paper or on the computer. The side of the bed facing north will have your tallest plants: tomatoes, vines cukes, pole beans… The next row(s) will have your medium to tall size plants: dill, onions, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, plum tomatoes, fennel...
The south facing row(s): carrots, lettuce, turnips, leaks, and scallions...
This is a guide. Sometimes a square opens up and I’ll plant lettuce or radishes in a north row just so that square stays productive.
As time goes on you’ll figure out what to plant and where by just knowing the vegetable and the variety. You have to keep notes. I use a composition book with page for each square that I planted for the past 20 years.
Here is a listing for one of my beds (Bed 2)
Cuk Cuk Gherkins Gherkins
St 8 St 8
Shallots Cabbage Cabbage Brussels
Turnips Cabbage Cabbage Radishes
Beets Leaks Scallion Lettuce
One thing that I learned over the years is to use the best. The effort that you put in from late winter until frost it’s not worth skimping on seed. Since I start all my veggies from seed I don’t skimp on quality. Example, for plum tomatoes I use the San Marzano variety (takes up 4 squares), best known plum tomato for making sauce.