2015 Master Plan: The Patio Quadrant

January snow and ice (or, in this year's case, rain) mean that we're in the short lull between garden seasons. There's still a bit left to harvest from the tunnels through the winter, but during the very shortest days of the year nothing is actually growing. In just a few days we'll be starting leek and onion seedlings indoors, but just now the only gardens that are growing are on paper:


This year we've streamlined our plans onto just one big sheet instead of four normal ones. We ran out of graph paper (thanks, Newburyport math and science program!), so Kirk just made a measured drawing. We're pretty well-trained to see the garden as a giant grid for square foot gardening at this point, so this worked out fine. To the right of the plot is the complete list of everything we plant, which gives you a sense of just how big the garden is overall. 

By far, the easiest quadrant to plan is the patio section. It's the smallest because it doesn't have the center C that the rest do, and a full half of it is taken up with permanent perennial plantings:


On the left we have our strawberry patch, which is getting its fourth and final planting this spring. We are adding 25 Sparkle plants, a June-bearing variety which promises to be good for eating, freezing, and jam. We won't be able to harvest any until next year, but we still have the other 75 percent of that enormous row available to harvest, so we should be up to our ears in jam and pie

Across the bottom, unlabeled, are our roses, lavender, and rhubarb: all perennials that have been in those spots for years now. 

Along the right side will be cabbages; red for summer eating and green for sauerkraut. We cut back on the amount of red cabbages this year since we could barely keep up with them last summer, even after giving away a couple heads and several enormous bowls of slaw. There is a length of trellis for our pickling cucumbers to the lower right. This trellis will cast some shade on the red cabbages, which should help keep them from bolting if the summer gets hot.

Along the top are even more cabbages as well as broccoli. This is the same amount we planted last summer, and we keep these sister crops together for easy rotation and to fence out any critters who fancy a nibble. We are also planning a more substantial winter greenhouse next winter that would cover two long rows at once and have a door on one end: a walk-through plastic hoop house. The cabbages and broccoli make up one half of that scheme. Because they can withstand cold temperatures, we are hoping to harvest them well into December and January next year with a little extra solar heat. The cabbages in this row are for winter eating, while the ones on the unprotected side to the right are for summer eating and slaw making. 

The bottom row of the swingset quadrant is directly across from the cabbage/broccoli row, and will make up the other half of the walk-in tunnel. More on that next time.

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