More on Planning Your Garden (In the Garden 2018 Episode 3)

Original Air Date: May 12, 2018

As Requested, More Detail on Planning Your Garden

Last week we talked about planning your garden with a Garden Notebook and a Garden Map.  I had a number of requests for more detail about planning so I’m going to detail how I start the process.  This is just how I do it, and I know everyone has their own style but this might be a help some.

Four Types of Beds 

The way I look at it there are four different categories or types of garden ‘bed’ that I use.  One is the full 4’x4’ bed, a 16 square foot bed.  To symbolize this type of bed I draw a square with the number 16 in it at the top of my list.

Type two is the Trellis.  The trellis covers 4 square feet across the back, north side of a 4’x 4’ bed.  Instead of the ‘back forty’ I have a back four! To symbolize the Trellis I draw an upside down ‘U’ shape with a ‘T’ in it at the top on my list for Trellised plants.

Using the Trellis on the bed leaves 12 square feet in front of it open and these is my Third type of bed I plan for in my garden map, “The 12”.  Of the 50 4’x4’ beds I have a trellis on the north side of 24 of those beds.  Twelve squares works really well for the planning because most of my sets are in 6 packs, for instance I plan to plant 24 Broccoli plants, that’s two of ‘The 12’ beds and 4 of the 6 packs.  Easy. 

The fourth type of bed I use to plan with is the Hoop House.  I use two 3/ 4” PVC pipes the full 10’ length, one in front of the bed and on at the back bent over and stuck in the ground inside the wooden box that make the raised bed.  The height of the hoop is about 30”, plenty of room for most plants. To that, I attach a 10’ pieces of galvanized 2×3 wire fencing with 3- 7” plastic ties to secure the fencing to the pipes.  This makes a veI symbolize this at the top of my list simply ‘HH’ for Hoop House.  Brilliant, I know! 

In summary there are four types of beds I plan for:

The 16, that is a full 4’x4’ bed

The 12, that is the 12 square feet in front of the trellis

The Trellis, on the North side of the 4’x4’ bed

And the Hoop House, the 16 with a hoop on the bed.

Of my 50 beds I have 15 4’x’4 beds (the ‘16’) I use for Garlic, Carrots, Beets, Bush Tomatoes, Bush Beans, Onions, Leeks and Potatoes.  As well as anything I plant in the ‘12’ beds

I have 24 Trellises that I use for cucumbers, Cherry Tomatoes, Trombone Zucchini plants, Pole Beans, Peas, Tomatillos, Malabar Spinach and for Large Dill plants. I also use the trellis for large tomatoes if I don’t have room anywhere else in the garden.   

With 24 Trellised beds I also have 24 of ‘the 12’ beds, the 12 squares on the front or South side of the 4’x4’ bed with a Trellis on it.   I use ‘the12’ beds for all of my lettuces, spinach, New Zealand Spinach, Parsley, Claytonia (Miner’s Lettuce), Mesclun Mix, Corn Salad (Mache), Swiss Chard, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cabbage, Kale, Collards, Brussel Sprouts, Swiss Chard, Early Carrots, Bush Beans and more. 

I use a hoop house for all of heat loving veggies, Peppers, Egg Plant, Basil and Holy Basil aka Tulsi.  Also, I use a hoop for those plants that are very susceptible to insect infestation, Chinese Cabbage, Daikon Radish, Tat Soi, and more recently Cole family plants to protect from the Midge, like Broccoli and Cabbage this is a new disease that can be prevented with a wrap of Remay fiber cloth. 

With these beds in mind it is easier to figure out how much of what to plant where. When you head off to the plants sales with a clear idea of what you have room for in the garden it takes a lot of the guess work out of planning.

Listener Questions

Q: Joe in East Calais has two 40’ rows of Asparagus plants.  Last year they got hit with the Asparagus Beetle.  It is a small red beetle with spots on its back.  It is about half the size of a Lady Bug.  They eat the spears and the ferns and set them back so the harvest is not as productive.  The beetles lay eggs that become gooey larvae that eat the ferns.  Joes question was twofold, one, what is the treatment and how soon after treatment can you eat the harvested spears.  We had a bad outbreak about five years ago.  We used the Spinosad, the brand was Bonide Captain Jack’s Dead Bug concentrate for a sprayer.  I took three years of regular spraying but we started after the harvest of spears.  Neem Oil and Pyrethrin are also effective. Follow instructions on the label for application rates.

Q: Ellen from Williston heard the problem with Asparagus Beetle and passed on a tip she uses.  Place a net bag over the spear and shake the stem so the beetles drop into the bags.  This saves you from having to pick each individual bug.

A: In the same vain you can put a sheet down and shake, even a brown paper bag will work with less work than picking individual bugs.

Q: Trudy in Braintree wanted to know how to fertilize Apple Trees. 

A: My suggestion is to mulch with compost to the drip line of the tree, then fertilize with a general organic fertilizer like Pro Gro 5-3-4, follow instructions on the bag.  Water well after you spread the dry fertilizer. 

Q: Nola in Ripton called to read “Prayer in Spring” by Robert Frost.

Q: Allen in Hampton, N.Y. asked if cranberries can be grow in small ponds.

A: Cranberries don’t actually grow in water.  The grow in soil similar to blueberries, high acid like a peat moss.  They do require regular about an inch of water every week.  They are content with their ‘feet wet’ as in a bog.  The pictures you see of cranberries floating on water is just that, a technique used to harvest the berries, the plant do not need to grow in standing water.

That wraps it up for this week.  We a lot to cover next week, planting set. When to plant.  The Last Frost.  And your questions.

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