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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Garden Planning

Are you missing the days when your garden looked like this?  

 (Disclaimer: this has never been my garden.  This is from a front yard garden in Wallingford, a few blocks from Seattle Tilth, from a few years ago. It is really gorgeous though... and they had a gigantic grape arbor that went over the sidewalk... but I digress.)

I was inspired a few weeks ago by this blog, Northwest Edible Life, to come up with a well-laid out, graph-paper-using, completely garden-nerdy plan for this year's gardens.  Here's what I got:

It's color coded and everything!

She also sells a garden planner on her site, and there's also an extensive EXTENSIVE year round edible planting guide, specifically for here in the PNW.  I edited it down to only include the things that I like to grow, and now it's 2 pages.


Then, as I was still planning, I read this month's issue of Urban Farm magazine.  They had an article about crop rotation... and I know that this info is pretty much common knowledge among organic gardeners, but I never really got it before.  Basically, you grow one crop in a place, and then the next year, you grow something else there that will put back the nutrients that the previous one sucked out.  There's a whole cycle to it; this one was written specifically in Growing Local Food by Mary Lou Shaw.  UF had permission to print the article.  I don't, but I'm also pretty sure that no one will come after me with their lawyers for this.  Here's what I gathered from that:

Group #1: Leaf Plants (need high nitrogen): lettuce, salad greens, spinach, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, kohlrabi

Group #2: Cleaners and builders: corn, potatoes (cleaners); beans, peas (build up nitrogen)

Group #3: Root Plants: (need high potassium): onions, scallions, shallots, garlic, leeks, carrots, beets, turnips, radishes

Group #4: Fruiting plants (need high phosphorus): squash, cucumber, melon, pumpkins, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants

What does that mean? I get to start over again with some of my planning, since I was going to grow some leaf plants in the same spot where I grew them last year.  For most people, that would probably be annoying, but I'm pretty excited!  We're also getting some things to re-vamp my seed starting station today, so soon there will be new plants on the way!


  1. I have a bunch of seeds that I'm not ever going to use if you're interested in them. They've been stored properly, so they should still work, although I think most of them have a sell by 4/2012 date, but some are older, some newer. The ones I have are:

    Seeds of Change Organic:
    Gold Ball Turnip (Heirloom)
    Golden Lumen Wax Bush Bean
    Round Black Spanish Radish (heirloom)
    Silvery Fir Tree Tomato (heirloom)
    Champion Radish
    White Lisbon Bunching Onion

    Ed Hume:
    Royal Burgundy Early Bush Bean (opened)
    Parris Island Romaine Lettuce (opened)
    Salad Bowl Lettuce (opened)
    Little Finger Carrot (opened)

    Lilly Miller:
    Early Frosty Bush Peas (opened)

    Tomato (opened)

    Bentley Seeds:
    Sweet Basil

    Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Co.:
    Danvers 126 Half Long Carrots


  2. That sounds awesome!! I think the only ones I probably wouldn't use are the onion ones; just because they take so long to start from seed. I've almost finished planning out this year's beds, so this is super great! When are you free to hang out? I'm home all weekend except from 1-2:30 tomorrow!

  3. I'll send the seeds to work with Tom and he can get them to John. Tom mentioned John might have a hard drive for Eli's computer, so I think they are planning on hooking up for that anyway. So glad you can use them....the squirrels won over here. :D