Garden Planning 2012: The Snacking Bed

Now that all of our perennials have (proposed) homes and have been ordered, over the weekend we turned our attention to figuring out where all the annual garden veggies should go. This is a big, big job. I guess that's our own fault, since we went and created this big, big garden and all.

But it's more than just size. We also need to consider crop rotation for future seasons, and saving space to sow a fall crop. We also need to think about which vegetables to trellis and where they should go to avoid shading out others. We're also still working on fine-tuning how many of each vegetable we need to try to get through a whole year (by eating fresh and having enough to preserve for the winter months). Whew.

That last bit about how much of each to grow will take several seasons of experimentation to figure out, but the rest of it we are trying to manage from the get-go. The trellising adds the third dimension of height to consider, and then the fall/winter garden and crop rotation adds the fourth dimension of time into the mix. It's hard work to sit around and stare at graph paper, people! Our brains hurt after a couple hours, so we're getting this done in fits and starts.

I have a feeling that even though we have plotted out peas, tomatoes, potatoes, corn, onions, garlic, and leeks so far, these plans are subject to change as we work to squeeze in everything else. For a supposedly giant garden, the more things we plot out, the smaller it feels as we add in each new plant group.

One area that I am confident enough about to publish the plan for is a small 4x12-foot section that we are calling the Snacking Bed. It's by the patio and near the kitchen door:

The bottom part shows the line of lavender, rhubarb, and roses that I wrote about earlier. On the right is the snacking bed. Here is the photo oriented so that you can read the plans for that section of the bed:

If you're too lazy to click on it to see it bigger, I'll tell you that across the back is a trellis for snap peas. 12 feet isn't that much, but should be enough to snack on (get it?). We kept this small section of snap peas separate from the regular peas, because they are too hard to tell apart if they start vining around each other. Also, from left to right, are three cherry tomatoes, a patch of basil and a patch of cilantro. The cherry tomatoes are obviously for snacking and easy salad access (remember, they are close to the kitchen door), and we eat so much basil and cilantro in the summer that it makes sense to have it handy.

So that is the snacking bed. If we think of more snack-able veggies, we can mirror this on the other side of the path where it will also be right by the kitchen door. Or maybe we'll just use that area for the rest of the annual herbs. Obviously, there's still a lot left to figure out, but we're picking away at it.


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