I’m already planning the 2021 garden and the 2020 one hasn’t even really taken off, so I better document what I’m planning on achieving in the garden this year.
To provide the family with only vegetables from the grocery store for 9 months (May-January). There are a couple exceptions – peppers and celery – we eat a lot of those and there’s no way we can grow enough in our short season. Also, we’ve got some in the freezer still and those are fair game. To make this a reality, I’ll be focusing on a few things:
- Garden layout redesign
- Irrigation, fertigation, and season extension practices
- Succession sowing and planting
- Root cellar and food preservation
Garden Layout Redesign
Moving from 5×5′ boxes to 4×18′ will give me about 15-20% more growing space in the same footprint and a lot less pathway weeding. Adding in offcial beds near the tool shed and in the original orchard area will help people not walk through planting areas. I’m also hoping that more defined growing spaces will inspire me to keep them weed free rather than thinking of them as wild areas.
Irrigation, Fertigation, Season Extension
Continue with the these practices and make improvements where I can. The irrigation will be divided into zones with the same types of emitters and plants (annuals vs perennials) to be more efficient. Some beds around the poultry run will be set up to be fertigated with duck tub water. Low tunnels will be installed, and I’ll be trying out plasticulture using biodegradable film.
I hope to actually stick to my seed starting schedule and avoiding seedling death due to forgetting to water them. While I do love a good plan, in the past my plan has been derailed with last minute decisions on what goes in the seed blocks on any given day. And lastly, I’ll be keeping better notes about which sowings and transplant sizes seem the most successful and finding the illusive combinations that allow two crops from the same area in a 3 month frost free growing season.
I know from last year that we can have an abundance of storage crops, but without a cold storage space, there’s little point in growing it. Planning and constructing a cold storage area for the crops by mid August ideally or Sept 1 at the latest.