29 January 2010

Making plans

While the weather is cold and the ground frozen solid it is good to be indoors, planning 2010's vegetable garden. This will be our third year of growing food in the barnyard, so I need to start thinking about crop rotation more carefully than I have done up to now. I made a similar plan for 2009's garden but the final planting locations ended up being very different from the ones I had put in the plan. In fact, with the exception of the first long bed, none of the plots ended up being used for the crops I had originally thought I would put into them. This does make me wonder if doing this year's plan is a waste of time, too.

The key problem is that the eight lower beds are generally waterlogged in the Spring and therefore stay colder for longer than the three sloping beds above them, meaning that the earlier crops have to go in the long beds. We have gradually been adding soil (and some sand) to the lower garden to build those beds up a bit. This year I'm aiming to put the potatoes in two of the lower beds, which will mean planting them later than I have done in the past. Last year it was the potatoes I sowed latest that did the best, so I'm hoping that this scheme will work. I suppose I can always plant some early potatoes in large pots in the greenhouse.

I haven't thought too much about what I'll be doing with the greenhouse this year. Probably much the same as last year, but rotating the crops in there as well. There are still some plants alive in there now. The kale are looking slightly droopy and haven't put on any growth in a while but they aren't dead yet:

The purple-sprouting broccoli look less happy, but we'll see if they come back as it gets warmer:

There are some (very late-sown) carrot seedlings clinging on to life too:

The Swiss chard has continued to grow and the chickens love it. Which is more than I can say for most of the humans. It's proved to be a useful source of green material for the birds when it has been too cold and snowy for them to go out into the orchard and eat the grass.

All of these things were experiments, as this is our first winter with the greenhouse fully in use and I wasn't at all sure what would survive and what wouldn't.

1 comment:

Linda said...

Lucky you, having so much space to play with! Mind you, you then have to do something with it, so I can see why you're getting so planned up now.

Interesting that your carrots are sticking it out when other plants are drooping.