planning my garden

This will be my fourth year growing food in the backyard of the madre's house.  My hodgepodge collection of raised beds and perennial plantings has evolved and expanded so much since that first spring. I had big plans last year, inspired by my new work schedule and extra afternoon free time.  I'm not nearly that ambitious this year; although I'll likely be working from home by the time garden season rolls around, I don't want to over-devote my time.

I kept a running page in evernote last year, cataloging and dating all of the tasks I completed and the plants that went into the garden.  My planning process is fairly simple thanks to that list. I have a time table established and I know what worked well (purple pole beans on bamboo trellises) and what did not (pole beans that needed frequent harvesting planted on the garage trellis). I'm using that list to make my changes for the coming season. 

2014 Goals

  • add a few blueberry bushes
  • add another raspberry bush
  • start a new section of ever-bearing strawberry plants (the existing June-bearing row will retire next year)
  • plant more broccoli (convinced there can never be enough broccoli)
  • continue to add perennial pollinators to attract bees
  • add more bamboo teepee trellises for purple pole beans
  • move the cinderblock herb garden off the patio and reestablish as a border for a new bed around the cattle panel arch trellis
  • build a frame around the back berry trellis and fill with soil (potential strawberry bed)
  • plant pole lima beans along the garage wall string trellis (long growing season will make it easier to harvest once strawberries have died back)
  • plant multiples of herbs I use a lot - more rosemary, sage, dill, basil, and cutting celery
  • add some medicinal herbs and more lavender
  • companion plant nasturtium with the squashes and borage with the tomatoes
  • plant lots of cherry tomatoes

I am lucky in that I can buy affordable plant starts from a vendor at the winter farmer's market during the last few weeks, and that an Indiana based seed company has a display at the co-op.  I check both of those sources before ordering seeds online. I'm also lucky in that I know by now what we will and will not eat. I bought a quart of cherry tomatoes at the market every week last summer, so I will be planting a few different varieties this year to avoid that expense. We do not eat more than one plant's worth of kale. Cabbage is not worth the space/effort when it is affordable at the market. Broccoli is cheap/easy to grow, but expensive to buy, so it is definitely worth the garden space. I won't be experimenting nearly as much this year, I feel like I'm finally at a point with the garden where I know what should work well with my time, space, and available funds.