July 26, 2009

Next Year's Garden

Dan has staked out next year's garden.

This time next year this will be a garden
He wants a production garden, and we finally settled on a place to put it. It will be south of the house, in the part of the overgrown clearing closest to the road. You can see the back of our white carport under the trees in the above photo.

We staked out an 80 x 60 rectangle, size based on the "Eat 'N Store Garden" in Dick Raymond's Joy of Gardening. This was the first gardening book Dan read, and it is the first reference he will reach for, even though now we have more gardening books than we'll ever look at.

The spot where we put this year's garden is too small to produce a year's supply of all the vegetables we'll eat. However, all the work we put into it won't go to waste. The plan is to develop it into an herb garden. I'd also like to plant a shade tree there, as it is in line with where the house catches the heat of the late afternoon summer sun.

The plan for the big garden is to brush hog it, have it plowed, till it, and then plant a green manure crop. I'd better have another soil test done before I plant even that however.

If we get the ground prepared early enough, I'll first plant buckwheat, which will be tilled in this fall. After that I can plant annual rye, which will be tilled under in the spring. Two green manure crops before planting should benefit the soil greatly.

This will be a bigger garden than we've ever had before and it's taken some time to decide where to put it. We've had a mental list of all the things we want on our homestead: vegetable gardens, herb gardens, orchard, greenhouse, chickens, goats, bees, sheep, root cellar, etc; but until now the vision has been vague. This summer's garden was a "something is better than nothing" affair, with the idea that we'd find a more permanent spot next year. Choosing where to put the production garden helps us define where we need to put up fencing, where the compost needs to be, where to plant (or not plant) fruit trees, perennials, etc. It feels as though things are finally starting to come together.

Next Year's Garden © 26 July 2009 


Theresa said...

If you plan on goats, better make that garden fencing like Fort Knox. They like car roofs too. Basically anything or anywhere they aren't supposed to do or be, they are there!
Looks like a great garden space!

Life Looms Large said...

Exciting to see your garden plans taking shape! I really admire gardeners for their persistence and steadiness...qualities I wish I had a bit more of!

Have fun!

Renee Nefe said...

That all sounds wonderful!!! I hope it all goes well for you! You are my inspiration to at least make my tiny hail beaten garden as productive as possible. :D

Next year I'm doing something to protect it from the hail...I don't know what yet, but something!

Benita said...

You just described what my dream farm would be if I can ever figure out how to retire early and keep my benefits to boot.

Sharon said...

Production garden - does this mean you'll be contributing to farmers' markets? I so envy your fertile growing conditions. Living at 5,000 feet is pretty limiting.

Anonymous said...

Eat and store? What a fabulous kind of garden that will be! I love it already.

Leigh said...

Theresa, I've been thinking about that! Several Shetland folks have mentioned that Shetlands are browsers like goats, but not the escape artists. As much as I'd love to have sheep, I'd still like a dairy goat as we love yogurt and cheese. We've recently staked out for the fencing, but progress on everything is always slower in reality than it is in my mind.

Sue, thanks! Somehow the work just presents itself as needing to be done in order to get the desired result. We just keep taking it one step at a time.

Renee, I'm honored! I only hope I truly do inspire. I'm not sure how I would have dealt with all the hail you've been getting. I suppose gardening is just in the blood. "If at first you don't succeed, try, try, again." :)

Benita, so nice to know we share the same dream!

Sharon, it's interesting you should mention a Farmer's Market. I was just wondering about one the other day, when lo and behold, the town newspaper had a photo on the front page of their "new" farmer's market. Talk about timing!

Cally, that is a neat name isn't it? We really like Dick Raymond. He is so down to earth and practical. My kind of gardener.

Woolly Bits said...

I think with all the work you still have to do over the coming years, you'll have plenty of space for that first "production" garden! it's no good to prepare a huge plot if you'll have to work on it night and day to keep it going (speaking from experience here:)) you'll be left with no time for your textile interests (and btw - I read that you can dye yellow with buckwheat:))

Theresa said...


Do remember that both sheep and goats like to be in at least pairs. Nothing sadder than a single goat or sheep, although I don't know if they will intermingle enough that you can get away with a single goat, but I'm not sure the Shetlands will accept a stranger.
Goats have their charms though.

Julie said...

Its funny to see that you are working on some of the same things as us. We have the garden all planned out for next year. We are hopping to purchase a small greenhouse this next spring to get the plantings started.

Leigh said...

Bettina, I can dye with buckwheat?!?!?! What would I do without you, *lol.

Your point about my time is well taken. I have to tell you though, that this whole pursuit is me. It's been me longer than I've been a fiber artist.

Part of our problem is that this place was neglected for many years. That means that a lot of the work is being done just to get the place up to par and to keep from losing any more ground, so to speak, before the overgrowth devours everything.

Some projects have been pushed on us by our homeowners insurance company, i.e. the house repairs. Some we just feel are survival necessities. The big garden for example. Food here has gotten so expensive, and the quality so poor, that we feel we need to do this for our budget, our health, and to maintain our sense of not being dragged under by the system.

Part of it too, is the release of 3 and 1/2 years of being cooped up in a second story apartment. I gained 10 pounds in the first year from my decreased activity level and was so stir-crazy at times I thought I'd go out of my mind. My fiber blog was born then.

I figure there is a season for all things. Summer is the season for outdoor activities. Winter is the season for spinning, knitting and weaving. I think too, once we get some of these big projects out of the way, the maintenance won't be so bad.

Theresa, yes, thanks, I've got that in mind. I will probably end up with two of each, depending on what the land can support.

Julie, I'm so glad you're planning a garden! I envy that greenhouse. We will have one someday, but probably not for a couple of years yet.

Woody said...

Thought I would return the favor..thanks for coming by my blog and commenting.

We have been working on our garden, improving the soil from rock and clay to something that resembles dirt, for six years now. It had previously been an unused and overgrown pasture dotted with scrub oak and cedars. I've long considered starting another plot for a market garden. My brother owns a restaurant so I have a good customer already (good customer=one who pays). I would like to be able to supply him with more than what I have been, which really has been our leftovers from freezing and canning.


Leigh said...

Woody, thanks so much for visiting and taking the time to comment.

Your soil sounds like ours. I'm glad to hear you've made progress improving it. And lucky you to have such an outlet for your extra produce! That would make me want a bigger garden too.

Heather said...

I have Dick Raymond's Gardening Year book which I picked up at our library sale, I'd never heard of him before that but I really like his book. It has loads of good information in it. I think one of the fun things about gardening is always planning for the next year. I wonder if that is why so many gardeners are such optimistic people. ;-)