Thursday, June 5, 2014

My Garden Plans - 2014

Way back in January I created a plan for the garden.  And, as often happens, it has changed numerous times over the past few months.

I'm a planner by nature, so planning the garden is one of my favourite tasks.  Since I have more than tripled the number of beds this year, I decided to number them (on paper).  This way, not only can I keep better track of how things grow in each bed (some beds, for example, get a bit more shade than others) but it will also make planning crop rotations easier.


Vegetable Garden Plans for 2014

I use Excel for my plans & have NO idea how to create a good digital image file (not for lack of trying).  I did figure out how to create a jpeg image, but the resolution was really bad.  In the end, the best I could do was a photo of the printout:

2014 Vegetable Garden Plans
 
Beds 1-8 are in one area of the yard & beds 9-11 are in another area.  For larger crops like zucchini & tomatoes, I like to indicate right on the plan how I space them.  This gives me a good reference point in the future for what works well & what doesn't.  In the past I would ALWAYS think that I would remember details like that, but inevitably, by the time next year rolled around, I completely forgot - and then I would end up making the same mistakes.

I also like to specify how much space each variety takes up.  This comes in handy when I look at how much I harvested.  Comparing different varieties or years in terms of harvest means very little unless you take into account how much you planted each time.


Accomplished So Far This Week
 
All spring I have been performing a juggling act between constructing the new bed areas and completing the "scheduled" garden tasks.  Why is it that there is always such a huge disparity between what I think I will get done in a given amount of time and what I actually get done?
 
I am finally at the stage where I am getting the opportunity to catch up on the last of the overdue "regular" garden tasks (for the vegetable garden, that is - the regular garden beds?  WHOLE different story!).
 
This week I finally sowed the pole beans & bush beans - I just need to put up the trellis.  Normally I pre-germinate the beans but I decided to skip this step because, quite frankly, I didn't need another task on my plate right now.  Of course, now I am nervous about how well they will germinate & every day I am anxiously awaiting the emergence of those first shoots.
 
I mulched the garlic and strawberry beds with straw.  Last year I used mulch on most beds to conserve moisture and keep weeds down.  But then I had a big issue with slugs, so this year I decided to use it only in certain beds where I think it will do the most good.
 
I finished hardening off the cucumbers, peppers and second sowing of rapini and they were all transplanted during the past couple of days.
 
The peppers are doing well - I buried them deeply when I transplanted them as they also grow roots along their stem, just like tomatoes.  And remember when I topped them a few weeks ago?  Well, they are budding again and getting some nice growth in their leaf axils:
 
Newly Transplanted Peppers
 
The cucumbers are doing ok.  Last year they took a bit of time to settle in & get growing, so I'm expecting the same this year.  I'm doing a bit of an experiment with starting cucumbers in smaller cell packs vs. larger cups to see if it makes a difference.  I have marked the ones that I started in cell packs with a wooden popsicle stick.  Now it's just a matter of waiting to see if there is any difference in how they perform over the summer.
 
Transplanted Cucumbers
 
See that little cucumber plant, 2nd one down on the right?  I don't know what happened to it - it looked the same as the others when I transplanted it but the day after, both of the large true leaves had completely wilted.  I waited another day to see if it was lack of water, even though all of the other plants looked fine.  Nothing changed, so I removed the wilted leaves.  I'm thinking that I must have damaged the plant in some way when I was transplanting it.  Another set of true leaves is just emerging from the center & these look ok, so my fingers are crossed that it will recover.
 
My rapini seedlings looked MUCH better than my 1st round back in early May.  These actually went into the ground on time, meaning about 2 weeks after seeding indoors; my first round of rapini had to wait almost 4 weeks before they were transplanted - they were not happy campers.
 
Second Round of Rapini - Transplanted & Dusted with Diatomaceous Earth
 
I dusted them with diatomaceous earth, which I am using this year to deter slugs - so far so good on that front.

I just started to harden off  the summer & winter squash - these will be going into the ground next week.  I am also getting the next round of spinach ready to transplant, but it looks like I may be a bit early on this one since my existing spinach plants are still doing fine with no signs of bolting.  This is my first time growing spinach so I am probably in for a lot of trial and error when it comes to timing my plantings.

Squash & Spinach Seedlings Hardening Off
 
My sunflowers are looking rather sad – I should have transplanted them a while ago but I wasn’t sure where to place them (my concern was that I would forget to water them) – so I’ve procrastinated.  You may recall I planted them in one of the beds last year but decided against doing that again because of how difficult they were to take out.  I finally decided to place them in a mulched area right beside the house.

Sunflowers Waiting to be Transplanted
Poor Babies - You can almost hear them saying "Get me out of here already!"
 
Left to Do

I STILL have to sow the dill & cilantro – I am 3 weeks behind on this one.  I plan to direct sow them into the herb bed.  Hopefully they come up – I often have bad results when I direct seed in the garden.

I have 6 trellises so far, two that I made last year and four that I just built.  But I still need a few more as I am using them for a variety of crops including peas, beans, cucumbers/vining squash, and indeterminate tomatoes.

I am going to start another round of lettuce seeds indoors.  The days continue to grow hotter and, even though I am shading the lettuce now, I'm not sure how long my current crop will last.  I see a few other bloggers are already pulling out their first crop, so I thought it best to start these now.
 
I want to continue mulching the new bed pathways - this will probably be an all summer task, doing a bit here and there, whenever the mood strikes me.

And lastly there is the gate & fencing.  I have fenced off the main bed area (beds #1-#8 - see how easy it is to describe stuff if the beds are numbered?  Love it!).  But I still have to purchase the materials and install the fencing for the second area.  So far, there have been no issues with leaving it unfenced as rabbits, apparently, don't like onions.  However, once the beans come up, we will probably have issues.  Last year, before the fence went up, the rabbits chewed up most of my bush beans.

As for the gate(s), originally I was also thinking of constructing the gate for the main bed area this week.  But my make-shift plywood entrance is working quite well for now and there are so many other things I want to get done that I have decided to leave this one until later in the summer, when things slow down (am I kidding myself here??).

This post was shared on Green Thumb Thursdays.

Till next time...

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things” ~~ Robert Brault

6 comments:

  1. You can create PDF from Excel and then turn it into image. Or if you have Snipping Tool (you can download it on web) you can capture image direct.

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    1. Thanks Jenny! I have never even heard of the Snipping Tool - just gave it a try and it is awesome. And I just saw the PDF save function in Excel - how did I not know that was there?

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  2. If you are using Windows alt + print screen at the same time will capture the image. Then open the Paint program and press ctrl V which will paste it in. From there you can save the image.

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    1. Learn something new every day - I've used the print screen before but always pasted it to a word file - never thought to paste it into Paint to create an image. In fact, I didn't even know you COULD paste into Paint....Thanks Daphne!

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  3. You did those plans on excel? They look really good! Mine are a bit more rudimentary than that. haha. Your transplants also look very healthy. My peppers suffered a bit this spring but are recovering fast now that the weather has warmed up.

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    1. Thanks Thomas! I used Excel a lot at work at one point, so it became my go to program for stuff like this. All of the transplants are doing well except for the cucumbers - I had another one wilting on me today - so now I'm kind of freaking out a bit!

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