2012 Master Plan: The Driveway Quadrant
Here we are … the plans for the final quadrant! This section is close to the house and to the right, near the gate to the driveway. The path on the left is the central brick path; the path on the right leads to the garage and workshop.
To the far left, a long, skinny row along the brick path will be trellised cucumbers. The section below the gravel entry path will be for pickling; the section above for salads. Behind the pickling cucumbers will be tomatillos. We planted these together at the Red House and it worked well. Behind the salad cucumbers will be mustard plants. These are going out kind of late (in May), but they are mostly for mustard seeds and not for greens (although we'll pick some greens while they are still young and tender to add to salads). We grew mustard and harvested seeds before at the Red House, but did not have time to process them before we moved, so we ended up chalking that up as a loss. We are looking forward to trying again!
Along the bottom row are several more squares of beans to be succession planted (the earlier beans are across the central brick path over here). These will be directly sown every two weeks from June 9 through August 18. That last planting is a bit of a gamble, but it worked for us this past fall. The last square in the row is an extra bed of carrots to succession plant through June and July, which will span the time that we might be in between that spring/fall crop rotation I talked about here. Also, we eat a lot of carrots.
On the right hand side is a bed of watermelons. They take up a lot of room and will take a lot of luck in the weather department here in Massachusetts, but we chose a variety called Sweet Favorite that is recommended for northern growers because it matures in just 79 days. It's not a tiny melon, but rather a traditional 10-12 pounder that is shaped like a traditional watermelon. That seemed like it would be more satisfying than growing mini-watermelons, but I think the degree of difficulty is higher, too.
Across the top are cantaloupes (well, I guess technically muskmelons). I'm not a huge fan of these, but we thought they would be fun to try. Melons are tough in cooler regions, so we picked out a variety called Sweet N Early to see how well we can do. Also in the top row are sweet potatoes that we will grow from slips from Burpee.
On the ends of the center "C" are zucchini — two plants will be plenty! Near the zucchini we have some nasturtiums filling in an empty spot, and these will be pretty in the garden and in salads. Also in the "C" are tripods of pole beans — an heirloom variety of black bean called Cherokee Trail of Tears. I'm not a huge fan of shell beans, but I like black beans in chili and Mexican dishes, and this was one of the only varieties we could find available as a pole bean rather than a bush. Maybe next year we'll try pintos and kidneys and black beans as our bush beans, and have green beans as pole beans instead. Interplanted with the beans are pumpkins in the top section and butternut squash in the bottom section. This is a traditional companion planting, and maybe next year we'll expand our two sisters here to three if we add in corn.
This whole bed has a lot of heat- and sun-loving stuff in it, and much of it is new to us. We had a total of one cantaloupe and one tiny melon from our garden the only other time we tried pumpkins, winter squash, cantaloupes, and watermelons. Sweet potatoes are a brand new plant for us. The reason most of these items are in this quadrant is because this is the one section of the garden that doesn't have any soil in it yet, and we plan to take care of that over (real) Patriots Day weekend. Then we'll cover it back up with black plastic to heat the soil up (and keep it weed free) until these things get planted in late May. We thought it made the most sense to have the latest plantings here, just in case we fell behind schedule with the earthworks project.
And that is the plan. It took a long time to make, and I'm sure we'll realize we've made some mistakes as we go through the season, but it's our jumping off point for our first full growing year of this new garden.