Garden Plans for 2008

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

A turn of the calendar page, and so it begins; my new garden for 2008 is springing to life. At least on paper it is. The seed catalogs absorb me like the first rain to a sun-parched soil, pulling me in willingly with their beautifully written biographies of heirloom vegetables. A trickle of ideas becomes a deluge of possibilities. Can I make room for Paul Robeson's tomato? Is there space for the Gill Brothers' Golden Pippin Squash? Is there just one spare corner for Alan Chadwick's lettuce? It is so difficult to show restraint, but I know I must. The garden in which this cast of characters will cavort doesn't yet even exist. Maybe the better analogy for a seed catalog is not biography, but fantasy novel?

So I'm trying to organize the garden by asking myself and my husband a practical question: What do we want to eat each season? Let's make our plans from there.

We put to paper a list of what we hope to harvest from our garden this spring, summer, fall, and, yes, even winter. This list, I hope, will keep me focused on what's desired and what's possible -- especially when the newest seed catalogs drop at my doorstep. Then I can pick and choose accordingly among all those tempting heirlooms. We have one raised garden bed in which to plant the vegetables and fruits of our choice for spring. After that, we've got a lot of digging to do. A lot of digging... to make room for all the rest.

"Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil and you're a thousand miles from the corn field." - Dwight David Eisenhower


Blogger Matron said...

I'm enjoying leafing through the catalogues planning what I am going to grow next year. I thought I would grow shallots this year, haven't grown them for a couple of years and they are so useful and last really well, easy to grow. Planting now! Happy New Year!

3:57 PM  
Blogger Pille said...

I still don't know if my garden will be ready for this year or not - currently we've just got a huge uneven field behind our house.. But the little gardening I did last year was fun, and I hope we can grow even more things this year..
Happy new year!!

6:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Planning what to grow around what you want to eat has got to be the way - I don't always stick to it so I wonder if beets will make it into the veg bed this year!

7:01 AM  
Blogger ellipsisknits said...

I'm starting to think about this for our first veggie garden this spring - I want to start small - peas, raspberries and tomatoes are the candidates at this point.

How do you calculate how many plants you'll need based on how much you eat? I can't seem to find any good rules of thumb.

12:51 PM  
Blogger said...

ah, fantasy novel indeed! You know, even when I begin with a list, I buy too many seeds :)
I'm hoping for a better year all around in 2008, whether gardening or otherwise. It would be wonderful to have a long growing season ...

Happy New Year!
Diane at Sand to Glass
Dogs Naturally

3:32 PM  
Blogger Christa said...

Ellipsisknits, great question! How to plan a garden based on how much you eat (or want to eat)?

I think I recall Mel Bartholomew's "Square Foot Gardening" having some good information about this. How many plants to put in per person, etc.

Readers: Do you know of any other good resources for planning based on yield?

I usually just plant a mix of things in small amounts... and then hope for the best. :-)

9:33 PM  
Blogger said...

Christa, good question but I think your recommendation (Bartholomew) would be a great guide/starting point. Yield is so dependent upon the variety planted in a particular area/region, the current year's weather conditions, soil, nutrients, water, light, etc. I think the best thing is just for that person to plant and realize that many times, a full package is too much :) but what the heck! It's a great way to eat fresh produce and to learn new recipes (or even to freeze or can some of the excess). Even though I know how much hubby and I eat/want, never fails every year we have a 'good' year for certain veggies and a 'bad' year for others. It's part of the beauty of going with the flow of Mother Nature. ellipsisknits, I love what you're planning to plant: the raspberries won't produce the first year (but you'll get them next year and beyond) but tomatoes and peas you should have in abundance -- enjoy! Wish I had success with tomatoes ... I try every year (even though I swear every year I won't do it again) and they never make it before frost! Oh well. :)

Have fun with it!


10:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I spent the first day of the new year pulling all the weeds from my garden. It's almost ready for a new season of gardening.

11:19 PM  
Blogger Ed Bruske said...

that's so organized, I'm totally impressed

4:45 PM  
Blogger Shady Gardener said...

I like the quote you posted by Dwight Eisenhower! How true! I don't have enough sun for a vegetable garden here... but, I think I'm going to see if I can't find a spot where I can do some basics Somewhere! :-) Otherwise, I'm wishing I had a few more indoor plants right now! Looking forward to visiting and reading more about your activities in 2008! :-)

4:56 PM  
Blogger Carol Michel said...

I think you've got a good approach planned for deciding what to get for your vegetable garden. You will definitely want more than one raised bed!

Carol, May Dreams Gardens

9:19 PM  
Blogger Jeremy Dore ( said...

I agree with considering what you want to eat but for me, having limited space, I also plan to grow 'high-value' crops such as peppers and tomatoes rather than things that are cheap and just as good from the shops.
As for seed packets, I'm trying something new this year and have written about it on my blog: if you're interested.
Loved the Eisenhower quote! Too true...

10:44 AM  
Blogger The Forge Village Farmer said...

I found myself asking the same questions, and that has really trimmed what I plant-- or plan to plant. What I want to plant is not necessarily what the family will eat-- and I can eat only so many beets and parsnips by my lonesome. :)

10:47 AM  
Blogger Whyite said...

Your garden plan from what I can see looks great. It is unreal what you'll get from raised beds versus a garden in the ground.

9:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. You are WAY organized. I hate lists. I'm still tired and my back and knees hurt and have no ambition to plan my garden yet. Although I am just starting to contemplate the "project of the year."

Will it be a water feature that's been brewing inside my head for years? Or will it be those hypertufa troughs for the Alpine garden I've been lusting for. Can i get new arbors in? More columnar trees?

Damn. I just made a list.

And nothing edible, like yours.

2:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know exactly how you feel, i have had atortuous time this yer deciding what to grow and how much of it to grow. My decisions have been mostly forced by the space, but i've managed to put quite a few things in that i want. I know that it'll be waaaay to much tho! Nice photos by the way.

4:40 PM  
Blogger Robin (Bumblebee) said...

In desperation I have turned to an Excel spreadsheet for garden planning. There is so much to do! So many things to plant! So many special needs.

I appreciate the idea of ongoing harvest and using pencil before the plow.

--Robin (Bumblebee)

6:34 PM  

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