Feb 24, 2015

2015 Raised Bed Garden Plan

This is the plan for this year’s raised bed garden. We follow a crop rotation schedule (more on that here), moving each bed every year to prevent pests and relieve the soil. This year is our 5th year of the garden (I can't believe so much time has passed) and we've finally gone full circle - every bed is in the same place as the first year we started. You can see our past years here: 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011

In the first bed we have the vines. Cucumbers on a trellis, musk melons on the other side on a trellis. In the middle I think we’re going to try to do zucchini and squash again. Last year we took a break because squash vine borers were destroying the plants, hoping to break the cycle. Instead we let the whole middle of the bed be watermelon, which was fun but... watermelons take forever to grow and despite my best efforts we still lost a bunch to rot. I'm hoping the break last year will give the zucchini and squash a better shot this year. We'll see.

In the second bed will be the flowers. Last year we tried giant sunflowers and it was really neat (they were taller than the garage!), but they took up a ton of space. The snapdragons didn't do very well either, even though I gave them extra room (hoping that would help). This year I want to get back to what has done well in the past - zinnias and more dahlias. I’m getting a new set of bulbs to help repopulate half of this bed and the other half will be zinnias (with a few snapdragons along the edge because I love them even when I only get a few).

In the third bed will be the herbs, lettuces, peas and beans. The oregano and thyme will be transplanted from bed 2 and we’ll buy rosemary and basil. On the tower we’ll do peas in the early spring and switch to green beans when the weather warms up. I haven’t had much luck with spinach (it’s too cold and then too warm) but we’ll probably try again anyways. Then there will be plenty of lettuce and a few carrots. We’ve also been doing rainbow chard back here and it does really well, more than we can eat, but I’m thinking about moving it to a showier spot in the yard because it’s so pretty. I'm on the fence right now (I have plenty of time to decide).

In the fourth bed we have the nightshades, which I reserve exclusively for tomatoes, because tomatoes are my favorite. It’s taken some serious trial and error, but last year I think we finally found the “magic” number of tomato plants for the garden that would produce as many tomatoes as possible without choking each other out or becoming unmanageable. The answer (for our garden) is 10-12 tomato plants, plus marigolds. I’ve planted as few as 7 and as many as 18 over the past few years. The 12 we did last year seemed to work out really well. Hopefully this year’s crop proves the "magic number" to be right again… we’ll see!

In the pots on the deck and patio we’ll have the citrus trees and peppers. Over the past few years I've been buying peppers from the nursery instead of growing them from seed because they do significantly better. I don't have the magic touch for peppers, basil or rosemary when it comes to seeds.

Last on the list is everything we've planted elsewhere in the yard, the bushes and perennials that keep coming back. The blackberry and raspberry bushes, the fig trees, the strawberry plants, the rhubarb and mint. The blueberry plants are still small, but they are growing - maybe this year or next year we'll see some flowers and fruit.

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