Monday, January 23, 2012

Garden Planning

I spent the morning getting myself organized for the Spring garden by gathering all of the data I could find about frost, moon phases, and best planting times for various vegetables and put them into a Google calendar.

There are definitely things I want to do differently this year - most notably, I want to grow three sisters gardens with the kids' help.  They're a great illustration of mutually beneficial plantings and illustrate so many concepts of permaculture and gardening - it's a shame to not let them in on it.  Plus since you're dealing with corn, beans, and squashes - the seeds are huge and easy to plant for little fingers.

If you're unfamiliar - the concept is simple - the garden is circular and usually about 8 feet in diameter.  I'm looking at doing at least two of them.  You prepare the soil in the early spring - manure and compost are the usual suspects.  Then in late spring, you plant early corn in the center of the circle, wait until it's almost a foot tall and then plant some late pole beans that will climb up the corn.  Then about a week after the beans start to sprout, you plant the rest of the circle with a winter squash planting of some sort - whatever you choose. 
  • The squash crowds out weeds and helps the soil retain water, and since both beans and corn are very thirsty - that's important.
  • The beans are nitrogen fixers and corn is a VERY nitrogen hungry plant.
  • The corn provides a trellis for the beans without shading them out.
  • All three plants put all sorts of nutrients back into the soil.

Here's a great informative article about the process.

And another.

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