Winter Planning, pt. 3

Despite the snowy day on Sunday, it’s been unseasonably mild again this week.  In fact, it was 56 degrees out when I was feeding the baby at 2:00 this morning!  That’s unbelievable for the first day of March, especially when it’s dark out.

Anyway, the good thing about the mild weather is that it gives me a chance to step out for some fresh air with the baby during the day.  I’ve been keeping an eye out for the first signs of rhubarb so we can locate the crowns and divide them.  I hoped to get to it this year but with the order of fruit trees coming in two weeks and my husband in the heat of school musical season I’m thinking we’ll have to push it off until 2018.  But in the meantime we can work on clearing the wild grape and blackberry from the area so that it’ll at least be easier to access the rhubarb for this year’s harvest.

As a side note, I’m off my game lately.  I’ve got a baby here who’s going through a growth spurt.  Phew!  We are all extremely tired.  I feel like I’ve got a newborn again – we went from a six-hour stretch of sleep (and for almost a week, an eight-hour stretch!!) to getting up every 2 hours all night long.  Luckily she’s still taking naps during the day, so although I’m trying to spend at least one of them catching up on my sleep I’m also able to continue plugging along with our garden plans.  Let me catch you up on that.

In order to maximize the square footage of our raised bed garden, we will be growing vertically and companion planting.  I first compared online and text resources to figure out crops that grow well together, then made pairings that (1) combined one crop that can be trellised with another that can stay low to the ground and (2) would not repeat a crop family two years in a row (i.e. no nightshades following nightshades).  So from all of that reading I’ve come up with long term plans that we will utilize as we expand the garden as well as a modified plan for this year’s mini-garden.  I hope this may be useful for other growers who are trying to maximize their space!

Now that I’ve got this figured out, I’ll soon be posting the sketches for our 4×8 beds.  Stay tuned!

2017 Companion Planting Plan:

  • Bed 1: indeterminate tomatoes (string trellis), lettuce, chard, bush beans, dill, parsley, basil
  • Bed 2: determinate tomatoes, tomatillo, pepper, watermelon
  • Bed 3: cucumber (hormanova trellis), melons (hormanova trellis), summer squash (bush), okra
  • Bed 4: winter squash, pole beans (hormanova trellis)
  • Bed 5: kale, cabbage, kohlrabi, carrot, beet, spinach, radish
  • Bed 6: broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels, mesclun, carrots and beets (spring) –> turnips and rutabaga (fall)

Long Term Companion Planting Guide:

  • indeterminate tomatoes (string trellis) –> basil, parsley, dill
  • determinate tomatoes (basketweave trellis) –> winter squash
  • tomatillo and ground cherry –> watermelon
  • pepper –> calendula
  • eggplant –> nasturtium (hormanova trellis)
  • broccoli –> beet (succession)
  • Brussels sprouts –> lettuce
  • cauliflower –> carrot (succession)
  • collards –> mesclun mix (succession)
  • cabbage –> carrot (succession)
  • kale –> spinach (succession)
  • melon (hormanova trellis) –> bush beans (succession)
  • summer squash (bush) –> pole beans (string trellis)
  • cucumber (hormanova trellis) –> mesclun (succession)
  • winter squash –> pole beans (string trellis)
  • watermelon –> pole beans (string trellis)



One thought on “Winter Planning, pt. 3

  1. Pingback: Raised Bed Plans | The Microfarm Mom

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