2011-01-23 Summer Garden Planning

Planning a Summer Vegetable Garden

January is the perfect time to plan your next season’s veggie garden. Of course the seed marketers all know this and aim to get their catalogs in your mailbox in early January or late December.

My favorite catalogs this year are from Seeds of Change and Seed Savers Exchange. They both have great images and descriptions, although I think I’m going to avoid ordering from Seeds of Change this year. In the last few years I’ve noticed a decline in the germination rates of their seeds – and that’s compared to older seeds from the same company – and an increase in their shipping rates.

Their shipping rates are based on the total of your order, not weight, so my order of about 20 packs of seeds cost $18 dollars to ship. When I received the order I was apalled to see that the USPS postage was $5! Ridiculous. and add to that the decreased germination rates… boo. So I was glad to see that everything I needed to order this year was available from Seed Savers Exchange. I am also a member/supporter of SSE so I received a 10% discount too! Oh, and the potatoes were cheaper. 🙂 The seeds probably are also – especially with my discount.

To order catalogs:

But back to my garden planning…when I am trying to decide what and how many of everything to grow, I try to get a good mix of varieties of each plant. And naturally my garden grows a bit bigger each year, trying to accomodate the old favorites along with some new trials. And since I love tomatoes so much, they get the biggest allotment of space in my garden.

The first question to ask yourself, is “What do I want to grow?” This is just to paint some broad strokes. Here’s where you can sketch out some bed design requirements. Like assessing families of plants, which are plants that need the same general requirments of water, sun, nutrients, and soil pH. The biggest factor being perennial or annual. Perennial vegetables need to be left in the ground all year through, no rotation or succession planting allowed. So if you are going to grow these, then reserve a bed, or two, for perennials. These include artichokes, asparagus, strawberries, etc, and some herbs, such as, rosemary, sage, thyme, oregano, lavender, bergamot, lemon balm, mint, and others.

So here’s the line up for my 2011 summer vegetable garden. Click on the link to see what varieties I’ve chosen for this year.

  • Tomatoes
  • Bell Peppers
  • Chile Peppers
  • Eggplants
  • Cucumbers
  • Jicama
  • Melons
  • Squash
  • Cucumbers
  • Potatoes
  • Herbs
  • Companion Plants and Flowers mixed in

What Goes into Garden Planning?

This article talks a little about how I plan my veggie garden. What catalogs I like, what veggies I want to grow. Here’s a link to another year’s planning journal entry.

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