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!