A Plan for All Seasons

18Jan13

20130116-20441020130116-204416.jpggarden

Over the past 5 months, I have been pouring over books and web sites so we can start to develop a plan for our garden for all 4 seasons. I also have a pretty good journal with notes and clippings I’ve collected from various sources.

I’ve taken the arial view of our property and have plotted where the vegetables, herbs, fruit trees and nuts will be planted. I have added structures and paths in the plans like an arbor, natural wood cut paths, greenhouse, compost, and chicken coup.

I’ve complied a list of all the plants we will plant this year all the way through Fall. There’s about 53 vegetables on our list. The plan is to spread out the plantings over the next 3 years. In a spreadsheet, I’ve categorized each plant by families, types of soil, needs, as well as my current seed inventory.

I’ve researched different seed companies and have discovered some that offer survival seed packs (or seed vaults) for less than purchasing the seeds individually and you get more seeds to boot! One company had 16 varieties of heirloom vegetables (22,000 seeds) for $37.99. They are packaged in vellum pouches and are stored in a tube (or seed vault). The shelf life is 5 years! The good thing about heirloom vegetables is, you can collect seeds for the following year from these plants. (With hybrids you can’t collect the seeds. Planting them will give you some kinds of genetic mutation.) Here’s what you get in the survival pack:

    1. Beets
    2. Peas
    3. Green Beans
    4. Radishes
    5. Peppers
    6. Swiss Chard
    7. Zucchini
    8. Carrots
    9. Cucumber
    10. Butternut Squash
    11. Tomatoes
    12. Cabbage
    13. Romaine Lettuce
    14. Yellow Sweet Onions
    15. Sweet Corn
    16. Spinach

In addition, I’ve discovered value packs for herbs, fruit lovers, etc. for less than the cost of buying the seeds individually. The cost savings will put the money back into things we need for the garden. I will only need to supplement about 10 plants after we buy the herb and survival packages.

With the new season fast approaching, February will be here before we know it and we will need to start some of our seeds from a greenhouse or inside. Since we don’t have our greenhouse up yet, I’ve got an alternate plan for starting some seedlings in plastic crates with clear lids (kind of a faux greenhouse if you will). We will be resusing toilet paper rolls to sow the seeds in.

I’m trying to understand water conservation and what strategies will help save water. According to the Farmer’s Almanac, we should prepare for another drought. I’ve discovered about 25 drought tolerant vegetables and 4 herbs that will help in that consideration.

Drought Tolerant Vegetables/Fruit:

  1. Cantelopes
  2. Black-Eyed Peas
  3. Pole Beans
  4. Mustard Greens
  5. Sugar Baby Watermelons
  6. Eggplants
  7. Purslanes
  8. Chickpeas
  9. Heatwave II Tomatoes
  10. Swiss Chard
  11. Clemson Spineless Okra
  12. Poblano
  13. Jalapeno
  14. New Zealand Spinach
  15. Some Varieties of Squash
  16. Black Aztec Corn (black kernels for roasting)
  17. Some Varieties of Zucchini
  18. Moth Bean: nutty flavor, popular in India
  19. Tepary Bean: grows in desert and near desert conditions
  20. Yard-Long Asparagus Bean
  21. Snap Beans
  22. Pearson Tomato
  23. Early Girl Tomato
  24. Super Roma Tomato
  25. Golden Nugget Tomato
  26. Sugar Baby Watermelon

Drought Tolerant Herbs

  1. Sage
  2. Oregano
  3. Thyme
  4. Lavender

RESOURCES:

Tools:

  • Photoshop Elements
  • Microsoft OneNote
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Snipping Tool (Windows 7)

Seeds:

Web Resources:

Excellent Reference Books:

  • Mini Farming Self Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre by Brett Markham
  • The Winter Harvest Handbook by Eliot Coleman
  • Four Season Harvest by Eliot Coleman
  • The New Organic Grower by Eliot Coleman
  • Growing Vegetables and Herbs by Taunton
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5 Responses to “A Plan for All Seasons”

  1. 1 Carol

    I love your plans, lots of work but so rewarding, when you have grown your own food.

  2. 3 lavi

    Wow u have done some serious research good work sounds wonderful

  3. 4 Sandra Pyle

    Oh my goodness, you have done so much work on this plan. It sounds wonderful and growing your own food is so exciting. Cannot imagine how in the world you have time to do so much work and research! You must never sleep. 🙂

    • Hi Sandra! When it’s raining, this is what I do all day (I plan gardens). I do sleep though. I’m on farmer’s hours…9:00pm to bed and 5:00am to rise. Gotta take care of a horse now. The thing is, I’m loving it.


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