It's the time of year where I like to start thinking about the garden plans. It is way too early to plant, unless you are starting some seeds inside and I am not......but every year I have to plan out where things will go. Most of our gardening here in the city, is done in raised beds and since I practice crop rotation, it means I need to keep track and plan it out.
It helped to number the beds, so we could refer to them... I also marked the direction of north...
I usually take the notebook out to the garden when I plant... sometimes I follow the plan in the notebook... and sometimes I PUT the plan in the notebook as I plant... :) Both work. My pages have gotten damp from rain... but it is a working notebook. I have had better and more detailed records some years... and less others. One year, I had quite an elaborate chart of what I planted... price I paid for the seeds, date planted, first harvest, last harvest, pests, yield, etc..... I don't do that anymore. :) I am just too busy to keep up with all of it... and the main thing is to plant and harvest, so that is what I focus on.
This was the start of the raised beds at the new house... we have lived in the "new" house for 18 years now. :)
We only had room to put 4 beds in at the new house... and they didn't go in for many years. Before we had the beds, we made other beds here and there out in the back garden... or used pots... or used a bit of ground. I can't imagine being totally without a garden. :)
The plans are not detailed... just enough to help me remember where things were planted.
I try to rotate vegetable families on a 3 year rotation plan. I have done 3 year because that is about all I can handle for the space I have... a 4 year rotation would actually be better for some of the crops.
1. brussel sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, turnips, kohlrabi, radishes
2. tomatoes, corn, pumpkins, squash, cucumbers, melons, potatoes
3. carrots, parsnips, parsley, dill, fennel, coriander
4. peas, beans
5. onions, garlic
You can see how that can really complicate things... especially when I have such a limited amount of space. I cannot always keep to this, but it does help when I do.
Since I have 5 groups, that doesn't work well with 4 beds and a 3 year rotation.... sometimes I rotate half of a bed instead of the whole thing... it isn't ideal, but it works. We also LOVE tomatoes, so usually 2 of the beds are full of tomatoes... so those only get a 2 year rotation usually, although I also plant some on the side of the house, in the back garden, in a pot... or other places. :)
We continue to add beds here and theres, so I really need to come up with a better map of my beds. I have started doing 2 and 3 crops of certain vegetables, which really complicates the planning....and the rotating.
I also try to practice companion planting which really helps the way my plants grow.
Keeping track of garden plans from year to year, is a good idea.
I find that my garden, like life, is in a constant transistion... as I learn more, as we change how we do things... or plant more... or less.... as we add beds... or take them away... we adjust how we do things... and God blesses the harvest. Some years the harvest is great and other years it is lighter... but He always provides. Some years, the tomatoes do amazingly well.... other years the cukes do great and the tomatoes don't give as many. For me, crop rotation is one way to protect my soil, and my plants... it helps with pest control... and also to keep from depleting certain nutrients in the soil.
If you have never had a garden, don't let a plan deter you... and if all you can do is have a pot of plants, I hope you will... those homegrown tomatoes.. or peppers... or cucumbers...or herbs.... etc ... are wonderful. Using a pot, or a little flower bed or a raised bed... can provide some food... It is also surprising how much can be grown in a small space.
I plan to do more in this series about small gardens... and what works in my garden... I hope you will return... and I would love to hear your comments of what works in your garden... whether it is large or small. Thank you for visiting and I hope you have a wonderful week.
The Small Garden Series:
Small Garden-Part 1-Crop Rotation
Small Garden-Part 2-Growing UP
Small Garden-Part 3-More Beds
Homestead Blog Hop