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|
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!