I've scaled down on the size I'm planning for my new home garden. Originally I had a giant garden planned, almost twice as big as this one. But I've realized that I don't need to grow much more food than I did before. Plus, since I will have a a big lawn to mow, a small orchard to tend, and my chickens, two dogs, and hopefully a couple bee hives to care for too, so I don't want to burn out too soon. This garden version is only a little bigger than my old home garden.
The two large beds at each end of the garden will be for crops like potatoes or corn. Its been difficult to dig potato trenches in the 3.5 foot wide beds at my community plot. I think 6 x 15 will give me some good space for digging. I can get two 15 ft rows, or five 6 ft rows. I won't grow potatoes here this year, because the soil is so hard. This year, I'll grow plants in the 6 inches of soil that I'll bring in to fill the raised beds. I'm hoping that, by next year, the worms will get busy and loosen up the deeper soil for me. I'll try tomatoes and popcorn in the big beds this year.
A big difference between this garden and my old home garden will be the amount of sun. I'll be able to grow tomatoes again! (fingers crossed) In recent years, my old home garden had gotten too shady and late blight can be a problem in the community garden. I'm planning two 4 x 12 beds for tomatoes. Using string and cross pole supports, I can grow 4 rows of 6 plants; 24 plants. Wow! I haven't been able to can my own sauce in years.
Other things I am looking forward to this year:
- More potatoes: I'll use 2 beds in my community plot this year. The flea beetles have gotten really bad for the potatoes there, so I'll try Johnny's Mycotrol, an organic beetle control. (I've started a program at the community garden to provide all gardeners with a variety of organic pest controls and Mycotrol is a new one we're adding this year. Its not very effective for me to spray my crops when pests go rampant in neighboring plots. We had really good success controlling late blight in tomatoes last year by providing sprays and resistant plants.)
- More beets, carrots and lettuce: These didn't grow in the shade at home and I wasn't able to water frequently enough to grow them in my community plot. I had a water spigot installed last fall right next to the location where the new garden will be. This year, I am planning on using drip lines and sprinklers with a timer to make sure the garden gets regular irrigation.
- And I'll have room for popcorn again! I had such fun with this several years ago when I got a good crop at my community plot. But in a small patch, only the inner rows get pollinated and produce ears. I hope this big 6x15 foot patch will do well. Corn ear worms were also a problem at the community plot so I'll see how that goes here.
- Not that I'm looking forward to it, but it'll be new for me to garden with a lot of wildlife around. There are so many deer and raccoons here. I'll plan a 6 foot chicken wire fence. Either that or an electric fence.