This week I’m going back to the drawing board and planning out my garden. I’ve purchased seeds, built some ugly planters and mixed some awesome homemade potting mix. Now I need to figure out what I’m going to plant where!
For gardeners this can be a daunting question. It’s like, jeez I have all these seeds, I have all this space in my garden. But what should I plant where? How many of each plant? Maybe you bought some new seeds and you’re not sure how much they’ll produce, or you have a new garden space and you’re not sure how to fill it.
Here’s the easy way to get past obstacles like this: simplify the project back down by looking at the high level goals, and go from there.
My high level goal is having more greens in my diet. So what do I need to do? I need to plant lettuce and spinach! Even though it’s going to be one of the harder plants to grow here, it is what I need. Just make sure there is a bunch of lettuce, and don’t worry about anything else! I’ll plant some of all the other stuff, as long as a nice big space is reserved for the lettuce and spinach.
I have 5 planters and a handful of pots to plant this “season”. I’ve decided based on my goal, I’ll plant them in this way:
|Planter 1||eggplant, pepper, tomatoes|
|Planter 2||cucumbers, broccoli|
|Planter 3||carrots, onions|
|Pots||watermelon, rosemary, calamansi, lavendar, sage, coriander/dill/chamomile|
In this way, I hope to have a lot of greens for my nice healthy salads. There will also be carrots and onions, broccoli and cucumbers. I’ll have some eggplants, tomatoes and peppers but I’ll plant fewer of them because they are larger plants and I don’t have that much space.
One thing I’m excited about, planting a pot with coriander, dill, and chamomile. Coriander and dill both deter spidermites among other things. Spidermites are a plague here so I’d like to grow these plants to use as pesticide. Chamomile supposedly increases essential oil production of other herbs, so hopefully that helps with potency. I’ll look for marigold for this effect also although I haven’t seen seeds here. Also, some parts of my balcony get a decent amount of wind. Wind stresses plants and makes them produce more oils, stronger stems, etc. Let’s try these things and see if we can make a strong spidermite deterrent.
I love that kind of stuff. There is so much you can do with plants, I feel like an alchemist when it comes to that type of stuff. If you have different priorities, you can buy a pesticide from the store that will do the trick. But for me this is more interesting, more fun, and much more rewarding at the end of the day. Of course there is the environmentally friendly, sustainable side to it also, which underlies all Gil’s products and most everything you’ll see on The Unconventional Farmer. That makes having fun feel good too.
Another thing I’m excited about is companion planting! I want to squeeze a little extra production out of my limited space, so I’m going to plant a little tighter than I would in a normal garden outside. Or a lot tighter. So I want plants that play nice and even help each other. Plus it is just cool you can plant different things together and they actually help each other. It’s like you’re playing a video game and you just gave your plants a bonus – plant tomatoes, add peppers, +1!
I love Excel for organizing information, what a nerd. I made an excel sheet with all the basics – what kind of soil, how much sun, water, fertilizer, companion plants, sow depth, spacing, etc. If you would like to check out the chart, click the link to download.
There are two sheets in that file. The first sheet shows the plant care stuff, and the second details which plants will be planted together. This simple chart is a great place to start with the garden.
Next step, planting! See you next week for that!
It’s growing season in the northern hemisphere, what are you guys growing up there? Post a comment below and let us know what you’re eating fresh from the garden this year. Yum yum!