Saturday, July 17, 2010

Planning A Garden

Planning A Garden

Before taking on the labor intensive job of a garden there are a few things we need to consider. How much will we use and need the food we will produce? The effort you put into your garden will be the deciding factor as to how much your garden will produce. Your space for a garden may be limited. If that is the case, the thought you put into planning it will eventually pay off. Before your hands get soiled, or before the shovel touches the soil you should have a very good picture of what it will be, in your mind’s eye.

Consider how much time do you have to dedicate and how much space do you have? If you have a large amount of ground, you should not necessarily plant the whole space; you may bite off more than you can chew. Gardening is not easy; yes it is satisfying and enjoyable but is definitely labor intensive. The amount of area you choose should be done well, and you will want to make sure you have the time. You will be getting the soil ready, mulching watering planting and weeding as long as your garden is growing. Choosing a too small area at first is better, at least you will know you can handle it, and will not have to look with disappointment at a garden that is grown over with weeds and un-kempt. If all is well the first season then increase the size the following season.

Think about the actual purpose of your garden. To what degree do you expect it to meet your food requirements? A very small 4X4 patch with tightly spaced rows and planting can provide a nice salad garden. This could be located outside your kitchen door, handy when you need a fresh salad.

The modest “soup” or summer garden will produce fresh vegetables during the growing season, leaving none for winter storage. The small plantings can be staggered to mature over a specified period.

Then there is the large garden, that meets the family’s needs during the growing season and enough will be produced to last through the winter by storing and processing. You will not visit the grocery store nearly so often, and your food will be fresh and processed according to your specifications. Vegetables such as the following examples should be planted in a large garden with an idea for storing and preserving.
  • Okra
  • Tomatoes
  • Green beans
  • Onions
  • Winter squash
  • Cabbage
  • Potatoes
  • Pumpkins
  • Winter radishes

These vegetables can be planted twice and the second planting should be with the idea to preserve them for the winter months.
  • Beets
  • Turnips
  • Carrots
  • Peas

Planting in large blocks encourages a larger amount of vegetables to mature at the same time, and makes processing easier.

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