Tag Archives: Garden

Wishful Thinking = Garden Plans!

I don’t know any one who is a complete realist when it comes to garden planning.  Most Gardeners are prone to Wishful Thinking and an epic amount of Optimism.  Myself included!  Especially when faced with seed catalogs or a large (or small) display of seed packets.  I have been known to lay out a square foot garden of seed packets on the floor while standing in the front of just such a display at Lowes.  My husband might think I’m nuts, but the staff at Lowes are very understanding!

However, this year Kevin went on a preemptive strike against my seed packet hording tendencies.  I thought he was hiding out, puttering, doing much needed and vastly important work in the office for a a few hours one Saturday.  I later found that he had been in the garage organizing my all my gardening supplies.  Dear Man!  Of course he seemed to locate every seed packet that I had bought last year with the intention of gardening.  So I suppose that means my yearly binge shop of seed packets is out.  I should use up the ones we already have.  Poo!

So with my stash of seeds in hand (and not scattered to the four winds throughout the garage) here’s what my planning sheet looks like so far:

Square Foot Gardening:
Possibility Vegetable Name # Per Square Weekly Need: Planting Schedule (64 week): Start Date:
Def Arugula 16 8 8 per 1 week March
Def Carrots 16 8 8 per 1 week March
Def Chard 4 1 1 per 1 week March
Def Cucumbers 2 2 1 per month May
Def Leaf Lettuce 9 3 3 per 1 week March
Def Patty Pan Squash 1 1 1 per summer March
Def Radishes 16 8 8 per 1 week March
Def Romaine 4 2 2 per 1 week March
Def Spinach 9 3 3 per 1 week March
Def Tomatoes 1 1 1 per month April
Def Zucchini 1 1 1 per summer April
Def Strawberries 4 1 1 per spring, summer, fall March
Def Garlic 4 1 1 per 1 week March
Def Green Beans 4 2 2 per month March
Def Parsnips 16 4 4 per 1 week March
Def Peppers – Green 1 2 1 per month April
Def Peppers – Red 1 2 1 per month April
Def Jalapeno 1 1 1 per summer April
Def Melon 1 1 1 per summer April
Def Watermelon 1 1 1 per summer April
Fall Winter Squash 1 1 1 per spring, summer, fall April
Herb Basil 1 1 1 per month March
Herb Chives 1 1 1 per summer March
Herb Cilantro 4 1 1 per month March
Herb Dill 9 1 1 per summer March
Herb Parsley 2 1 1 per month Already
Herb Rosemary 1 1 1 per summer March
Herb Sage 1 1 1 per summer Already
Herb Thyme 4 1 1 per summer Already
Low Rutabaga 4 2 2 per 1 week April
Low Turnips 9 3 3 per 2 weeks April
Low Eggplant 1 1 1 per month April
Low Cabbage 1 0.5 1 per 2 weeks March
Low Summer Squash 1 1 1 per summer April
Med Cauliflower 1 1 1 per 1 week March
Med Celery 2 1 1 per 1 week March
Med Leeks 9 2 2 per 2 week March
sfg-plan-2017-2
Spring SFG 2017
sfg-plan-2017
Spring SFG 2017

One reason I love the SFG method is that it is very easy to determine how much to actually plant.  I don’t need 16 arugula plants to be ripe and ready for harvest all at once.  I estimate I’ll need about 8 plants per week.  Which means that week 1 I will plant 8 seeds in the 16 plant grid.  Week 2 I will plant 8 more seeds to fill up the grid.  Week 3 I will plant another 8, and so on and on until I start harvesting (for arugula that’s usually about 4 weeks time).  After that point I can carefully dig up my first week’s 8 arugula plants, use them and plant 8 more seeds in the vacant spot!  So I get a rotating crop of arugula that will last for months (or at least until the weather turns too warm here and they start to bolt).

Another method for continuous harvest is to plant several squares all at once and then harvest a few leaves from each plant and allow them to continue growing.  I have used both methods in the past, but I think this year we’re going with the ‘remove the entire plant when ripe then start fresh seeds’ method.

For fruits and veg that are more “ever-bearing” like squash, cucumbers and tomatoes you must harvest to encourage new growth, but you only have to plant 1 for a longer period (such as 1 per month or 1 per summer).

I already have parsley, sage, mint and thyme growing in pots on our front steps.  And I’m planning on adding Rosemary, Chives, Dill, Cilantro and most especially Basil ASAP!  I’ll also be planting more Parsely, Cilantro, and Basil because I usually use SO much of those that sometimes cutting back the plant to make a recipe on monday doesn’t leave me with enough for a recipe later in the week.  Obvious solution…I need more plants!

In my attempt to make the garden look less like a veg plot and more flowerbed like (hopefully to appease the homeowners association) I’ll be throwing in a few zinnias, marigolds, cosmos and daisies.  Folks will be so entranced by the pretty flowers they won’t see the lettuce or tomato vine right?  Wishful Thinking!

Photo Credit: Mel Bartholomew, http://www.melbartholomew.com/the-very-first-sfg/

Mel Bartholomew may be one of the only Garden Realists!  His method certainly helps bring about Garden Achievements rather than just a bunch of Wishful Thinking!  I was given his first book from my Papa several years ago.  And then later bought the new edition of the same book.  I’m actually partial to the older version.  And this groovy picture which can also be found in the original book is basically my idea of garden nirvana!

The Lay of the Land

Before I begin any discussions of my goals for the garden areas of the house I would like to take a moment to show everyone the lay of the land.

Our house is named Overhill – with good reason!  Not just because we’re huge Lord of the Rings fans (there was a Hobbit family called Underhill, and we thought it was fitting).  Our entire lot is a steep hillside!  In fact we have a 4′ high concrete retaining wall near the bottom of the garden that was installed by the builder to help create a “flat” section closer to the house.  It didn’t really work.  But we’re doing better than our neighboring house.  They have a 10′ retaining wall! Continue reading The Lay of the Land