Thursday, May 23, 2013

Project 23: Plan the Vegetable Garden

When we first built our vegetable beds, I bought two very useful resources; a book, Guide to Canadian Vegetable Gardening,* by Douglas Green,  and a special edition of Mother Earth News magazine.

The magazine had an article on crop rotation. In that article, it grouped the vegetables by family. I'd never seen anything like it.

These are the family groups:

A. Onion family: onion, garlic, leeks and shallots
B. Carrot family: carrots, celery, parsley and parsnips
C. Sunflower family: lettuce, sunflowers, and a few other leafy greens
D. Cabbage family: cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale and many other leafy greens as well as rutabagas and kohlrabi
E. Spinach family; beets and chard
F. Cucumber family, cucumbers, melons, squash and gourds
G. Pea family: peas and beans
H. Grass family: corn, wheat, oats and rye
I. Tomato family: tomatoes, eggplant, peppers and potatoes (though I have a not never toplant tomatoes with potatoes. I don't remember why.)

So, planning our vegetable beds was a simple matter of figuring out what we want to grow this year and making a list.

Next, I grouped the seeds into the families above. They are very helpful for planting in beds. I allot one bed per family.

Then, I consulted the crop rotation diagram I made in 2011 and figured out where to put my vegetables and I made up a new chart for this year.

This is what I gave my husband when he asked me where I wanted things planted.

While I was having fun doing the planning, my husband and son dug out the odd numbered beds (as it is an odd numbered year) and amended them with compost. We should have added peat moss, but we were lazy this year.

So, almost on schedule, we planted the vegetable beds. (Of course, by "we" I mean my husband.) I suppose it doesn't matter that much if the planning is late--as long as the planting isn't! In case some of you think this is late, we live in climate zone 3a. The traditional date for planting here is the May long weekend (around Queen Victoria's Birthday) which we just had.

We're in the midst of a bit of  drought at the moment, so here's hoping all goes well. Linking to Jules at Pancakes and French Fries for the wonderful William Morris Project.

*This post does not contain affiliate links.


May said...

So, are you letting the even numbered beds go fallow this year (being an odd year?)
Who knew there was a tomato family?!

Alana in Canada said...

No, we just decided that we really did not want to double dig and amend the beds every single year: that every alternate year would do for us. We'll see how that goes!

I knew tomatoes are in the nightshade family--but the only other member I know of is belladonna--and I'm not planting that!

onshore said...

I want built vegetable bed too! I'm not growing much anything from seeds this year, but I have bought some plants.

Since you had such good rotation plan going on in the first place, the planning for this year must have been easy. It's really good you are using the rotation method.

Rita@thissortaoldlife said...

I'd never heard of a vegetable family, but that totally makes sense. When we were planting our (first ever) garden this year, we sort of instinctively grouped along the same lines. We thought it would make sense to put onions, herbs, and garlic together. I think we put tomatoes and peppers together, too. I was so excited this week when we saw the first tiny little green sprouts where we planted carrot seeds! It feels like magic.

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