I haven’t been to the garden since my last post. It has been raining a lot, it was cold and I have Christmas preparations to do at home. Since it’s the slow season, I could skip a few weeks.
I have however been planning my garden for next year. It always starts early for me, since I start sowing in January. And a good preparation helps a lot with keeping the overview.
The thing I always start with is sorting out the seed box. What do I still have? Write it down, make a database of group, sort, type and when to sow the seed. It’s a fun thing, because I often find stuff that I didn’t remember I had! And I also get to take stuff out because I won’t be using it anymore; it’s too old, didn’t germinate the last/current season or I just simply didn’t like it.
This last sorting session it turns out I have plenty of seeds to NOT having to buy much for the next season. Based on this I made a short to-buy list to replenish some gaps but other than that I won’t be trying any new sorts next year.
The next thing is to start my garden planner and put all my seeds in. What do I have that I want to use? Where to put it? How do I get it all to fit? It never does of course, but that doesn’t stop me much. This year I decided to do it differently, I only put the big stuff in and leave all the rest of the space to fill in with the little stuff as I go. This because I have noticed over the last two years, that I won’t stick to the plan anyway so I can just get the seeds into my plan when they have actually been sown and germinated.
I use the Gardenplanner from Motherearthnews to do my planning. It is a very useful tool, I actually pay for it. It can easily show you companion planting and crop rotation, it has a squarefootgardening mode and lots of information about the plants and varieties. After you have build the grid from your garden (size, paths, structures, perennials) you can just copy that to the next season.
You can see some of the plants on top of each other, they won’t ofcourse be growing like that. These are the crops that will follow each other up. Since the bottom half of my garden is full of perennials (which aren’t all in the garden planner tool) I focus on the main beds only. There are nine of those since the last season. This is what will be growing on them:
- The first bed currently has my purple sprouting broccoli on the one half. This bed will be filled with my potatoes after that. And followed with more purple sprouting broccoli on the other half for next winter. I am also considering to put in lots of flower seeds along the main-path border for insects. Cornflower and cosmos? It will look great for the people walking by too.
- Bed number two will be one of the pumpkin beds. I always try to grow corn too but I never got to harvesting any. The squirrels always get to them first. I don’t mind though, but maybe this year I will try to protect the corn by putting pantyhose over them.
- The third bed will be for my broad beans early in the season and after that more pumpkin!
- Bed number four will also have more pumpkin, but the smaller ones which I can train to grow up instead of wide. This bed will also have my green bean tipi.
- The fifth bed looks kinda crammed but these are follow-up veggies. My garlic is currently growing here and will be followed by a row of sweet peppers, the other two rows will be my winter carrots and red onions.
- Bed number six is looking a bit empty, but it won’t be because the cucumber will need a lot of space! Early in the season I will grow my peas on a trellis. I can sow my beetroots inbetween the gaps.
- The seventh bed is always a bit of a tricky one. It gets some shade. Which is nice for leaf crops like salads, spinach and endivia but I have noticed not to eat much salads so this year I will try growing my summer carrots and more red onions. I always run out of them too early.
- Bed number 8 on the lower half of the garden will hold two big rows of parsnips and inbetween annual flowers like cornflower.
- The ninth bed is still empty. It has the artichoke which I really hope will give me something to harvest next year and there is room for sowing some of the smaller crops. Or maybe some more flowers.
Do you have a garden too? Are you working your 2020 plan already? What are your favorite vegetables? Are there any flowers/herbs you think I should try? Let me know in the comments!