The Plan

I've never had an actual plan before. In fact, sometimes I even forgot what I planted, and I'd have to wait until the vegetable/fruit came up, before I knew what I had placed there! This year, I decided to be more methodical about the process.

I started planning weeks ago when I ordered my seeds. I thought about the sun, and watched its patterns at different times of the day. (I thought I knew a lot about the sun in my garden, but until I spent time actually sitting and experiencing it, I really didn't.) I thought about the size of the plants, and how some large plants might shade smaller plants. I researched companion planting, and looked at how the Native Americans used to organize their fields. I read about succession planting, something else I've never done before. (For those of you who, like me, didn't know about succession planting, what it means is that you plant something in a bed early in the season, and then when it's played out, you plant something else in that same bed for later in the season.) I came up with a plan. Then scratched it. Then came up with another. Then trashed that. Finally this is what I decided on:

The bottommost bed is planted with things that will be done with by early June, depending on the weather - Romaine, Chard, Lettuce, Cilantro. I'm not sure yet what I will plant there later on in the season - though I know I'll want more cilantro for salsas. Likewise, the top 4x4 bed will need to be replanted once the peas and carrots have been harvested. And I'll want to save space for a fall planting of kales and chards. (I like having sautéed greens in my morning scramble and want to have plenty.)

The lettuce bed already has seedlings.

I am planning to start spreading coffee grounds around the edges of that bed, as it's supposed to deter slugs. (I'll believe it when I see it.)  I may need to go to a local coffee joint and get more, as our morning pot only provides so much.

The corn bed isn't completely planted yet. Well, the corn is. But I have to wait until the seedlings are several inches tall, before I plant the pole beans and the pumpkins. The pole beans fix nitrogen, which is good since corn is a heavy feeder. The corn provides a living trellis for the pole beans, and the pumpkins will provide a living mulch underneath to hold in moisture and prevent weeds from sprouting.

This is the first time I've ever put flowers in with the vegetables and fruit. I added borage, nasturtiums, and marigolds throughout, and added other beneficial plants around the garden, to attract insects. I'll save flowers for another day, because of course I also planted a lot of new varieties. I also planted a lot of herbs in different places in my garden, which I'll share with you some other time.

I'd love to know how other gardeners plan their gardens. Please share in the comments.