Monday, February 1, 2010

This Year's Garden Plan

Here is my garden plan, drawn out. It's designed to feed just me, with all of my favorite food and plants, taking into account what I can get cheaper and easier from my landlord's farmstand and garden, and what I'd rather grow inside or closer to home (herbs - which will be tucked into the ornamental border planted around my house), and what I'd rather not grow. I just realized that I totally forgot onions. go figure.'s somewhat revised from the plan I described earlier. I'm sure it will be revised even more when I till and plant.

I always draw my garden plans oriented to the South (see the compass rose on the right), and I include the year and where I'm gardening for my records (not shown in this image). This is the last of about 10 drawings I did (most small and in pencil) and it includes planting distance, thinning distance (where applicable), and some notes on plantings as they change (ie - peas followed by beans). On first thought, I'll probably add a small bed south of the garden, I'm thinking 2 feet by 20 feet and plant it full of onions and that way I'll have enough onions for spring and winter (I hope).

Now all I need to do is make a calendar of when I will be planting everything - indoors, transplanting, direct seeding, etc. to finish with this initial planning stage. Getting the planning stage done early means not realizing a week late that you should have planted the corn already.

Feel free to use as much or as little of this garden plan as you'd like, and copy it entirely if you so desire. I hope it helps.


  1. I am writhing with jealousy (envy? I never remember) and cursing the damned sprinkler system that's marring our gigantic, southern-facing backyard.

  2. there might be a way to work around the sprinkler system...and even to use it to your advantage (who likes watering?). Get your landlord to give you the map of the sprinkler system with relevant information like where the pipes are and how deep they are, etc. Then you might be able to plan around it. If nothing else, there's probably room to tuck things into the border around the house or at the edge of your lawn.

    A really easy way to work around the sprinklers if you can't get the schematic of the system is to build raised beds above the soil level between sprinkler heads - but be careful not to plant tap-rooted plants with aggressive roots likely to go deeper than your bed (like comfrey or rhubarb).

  3. But how much digging has to get done for raised beds? Don't you have to go down a couple of feet?

  4. You can make raised beds with no digging at all. It's no ideal, but it's possible. If you're worried about the pipes you can basically soak the lawn, cover it with newspaper (4 layers worth to kill off the grass) and then dump layers of manure, soil, and mulch (straw, leaves, lawn clippings, woodchips (though some would say to stay away), whatever is around). With no digging you'd have to raise the beds at least 2 feet, and treat them pretty much as container gardens (in terms of depth and watering. You could still grow whatever you want that has mostly lateral, surface roots like tomatoes and corn). No need to make pretty wooden or any kind f borders around the beds unless you really wanted to (it would prevent some soil erosion, but probably isn't worth the effort).

    Also you could do extensive container gardening. it's amazing what you can do with some buckets. Potatoes can be grown entirely above ground with a food grade 55-gallon drum (which usually can be found for free at groceries, restaurants, or food distros) or a stack of old tires (some would say you can do it in a smaller bucket, but I'm skeptical - though I've never tried it, so who knows). Here's an article on potatoes

    good luck! let me know what you decide

  5. Thanks! I think I'm leaning towards containers just to be less of a hassle to the landlady and the other people who live in this house. I might have Dan build me a trough for some leafy greens. Mostly I'm worried about the costs racking up (buckets add up when you're buying a lot of them).

  6. Never buy buckets. They are too easy to find for free. Most restaurants go through at least a bucket a week - cafeterias go through the most. knock on doors, ask around, and you should be able to find some.