I hate waking up. Whenever I see a television commercial where some fresh faced woman sits up in bed at 6 a.m. grinning and stretching like the very idea of jumping out of bed to meet the glorious day is the best part of her life, I want to kill her. I understand she'll be rewarded with a) a glass of orange juice b) a cup of Folgers or c) the delight of knowing her tampon didn't leak all night but still .... none of those things warrants a lobotomy grin.
When I used to fight traffic and drive 2 hours into work every morning, waking up meant slumping in the general direction of the floor, angrily putting my feet down and swearing. Often the f word. Out loud. I'd then look back at the warm, dark bed with tears in my eyes and promise I'd jump right back in the very second I got home. No bathing, no eating, just sleeping.
Now that I make my own schedule, nothing has changed. It seems no matter what time I get out of bed or what lies ahead of me ... I'm angry about it. It doesn't last long, but for those first few minutes upon waking ... you don't want to annoy me. And by "annoy" I mean exist.
But yesterday was different. Yesterday I woke up knowing I was going to organize and plant my vegetable garden. And I was a grinning, lobotomized idiot the second I woke up. Truth is, whenever I have a huge project ahead of me I'm like the orange juice commercial girl in the morning. (unless you count months 2 and 3 of building the chicken coop)
Planting my garden was made infinitely easier by using a tool I found online at Mother Earth News.
What I found there was a Vegetable Garden Planner. And it's the most brilliant thing I've ever seen or used. Next to hair conditioner. Or as we said when I was 5, Cream Rinse.
The garden planner allows you to pick where you live in the world and the program does the rest from there. It's basically graph paper that you can configure to be the size of your garden. The top of the program has a huge list of vegetables to drag and drop wherever you want them in your garden. It even automatically shows you how much space that plant will take up and how many you can plant in your specific space, and when to plant them!
The program is free for 30 days, then it's a cost of $25. Worth every penny.
My Front Yard Vegetable Garden Plans
I've chosen to plant using a lesser known planting method called Square Foot Gardening. Instead of planting your crops in rows, you do everything in a variety of one square foot plots. How much you put in each square depends on how big the plant is. The Mother Earth News Garden Planner allows you to choose whether you want to use square foot gardening. All you do is click on the vegetable you want up at the top of the page, drag it down to your space and the program automatically tells you how many of those particular vegetables can be planted into that square foot. The bigger the vegetable the less you can put in the square foot.
For instance you can plant one tomato, 9 beets or 4 turnips in one square foot.
Using the square foot method of gardening lets you harvest a lot more than the standard row planting. You can really smash a lot of plants into a very limited space. So if you want a garden but only have a 4' x 4' area, don't be discouraged. You can get a huge amount out of that little space.
And that's just the first planting! Many of the cool weather plants listed can be succession planted or planted again in mid summer for a fall harvest. If you're in Southern Ontario and you'd like to start planting right now. Well damnit, you can.
People seem to think you can't start planting anything until it's warm out, but there are many things that can be planted out even when frost is still likely.
These cool weather crops include peas, carrots, lettuces, Kale, Beets, Asparagus, Onions, Radishes, Parsnips, Spinach, Kale and Swiss Chard. These are all planted and sprouting in my front yard vegetable garden right now. Many of them will be planted again later in the summer, doubling my crop size for those particular plants.
The more tender plants like tomatoes, squash etc. will wait until a later date to make their garden debut.
Next week I'll reveal my complete front yard vegetable garden makeover. For now. It's back to bed. You know ... the vegetable bed.
Actually a more regular occurence while reading your blog is wondering if he thinks I've lost my mind because I'm sitting here laughing out loud all by myself... :) hilarious!
Oh, and the subject at hand... I'll be trying a sfg again this year - last summer that was my plan (which I did the old fashioned way on graph paper - can't wait to try this program!), but in practice I kind of only did it halfway and ended up spreading the plants out more. I find the bigger plants like tomatoes tend to get so huge by the end of the summer it's all overgrown. So glad you posted this... post, thanks!
Cream rinse! Glad my family wasen't the only ones! Where did that come from anyway?
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Does this mean I don't have to follow the directions on the seed packets? For example, the instructions for the peppers I got say to plant them 18 to 24 inches apart, and the tomatoes, a whopping 3 to 4 feet apart! Which doesn't allow for as many veggies as I would like. I am trying to plant my first garden in our backyard.
Yeah, I don't go by the package recommendations, lol. YOu don't have to. If you go by the rules of Square foot gardening you can actually fit much more into one square foot. The only exception is heirloom tomatoes which grow huge and really do need a lot of space. But a hybrid tomato doesn't need as much space. I give my heirlooms around 2.5 between them. When you plant things closer than they're supposed to be (which is called intensive planting) the only thing you have to do is make sure there's enough nutrients in the soil. So add extra compost when you plant and then once a month through the summer. Don't add it too much or all the time. You only need to amend the soil 2 or 3 times in total over the season. Too much of a good thign is a bad thing. ~ karen!