Twelve weeks ago, when we were running around trying to find the box that contained our coffee mugs, it seemed complete folly for me to insist on a summer garden this year. However, thanks to my stubbornness and some seriously tired muscles, we are actually on the cusp of eating from the yard. Hallelujah! My first summer squash plant has started blooming, which means we’re only a few days away from a wave of squash.
There are also some heads of lettuce ready to be harvested, and pretty much all of the tomatoes have started to set tiny green tomatoes. I still have a few vegetable garden beds to build, but, in the meantime, I’ve started sowing the fall crops: beets, carrots, rutabagas, etc.
Its kind of crazy the amount of area I’m able to plant: 12 sf of carrots, 6 sf of beets… Did I mention I planted 14 tomato plants this year? In total, I’ve laid out 768 sf of beds for annual vegetables, and I am planning an additional area for perennials.
In contrast to the inter-planted chaos I preferred in Albuquerque, this time around, I’m planning on a more structured and segregated system. I’d like to be able to rotate crops to ensure that there are two years between repeats of crop families to (hopefully) keep pests and disease from taking hold. I’ve laid out 6 pairs of 4′ x 16′ beds and each year the planting plan will move up one pair of beds, so plants in Pair 1 will move up Pair 2, and so on. Of course, it will take a few years for me to dial in how much of each vegetable I should grow, and of course there are always last minute impulse purchases to be tucked in here or there, but for the most part, I’m actually looking forward to having a predetermined plan each year. I based the rotation around the nightshade plants, since what we’ll be growing in the greatest quantity. This year, the tomatoes, tomatillos, peppers and eggplant are in Pair 1, and if I had gotten an earlier start, potatoes and more peppers would be in Pair 4. I did some reading on which crops seemed to do better after others, and put pencil to paper until I seemed to have a workable sequence:
Oh, and as an aside, do you see all that corn?