Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Garden Plan

If I'm going to spend so much time in my garden, then perhaps I should show you what I'm up to! Sort of...


I've been taking pictures of my garden the last three years and every now and then I've posted a photo or two. At this point, I think I'll create a bit of suspense... I'll wait to "unveil" it when I get it a bit more "finished". (A garden is never REALLY completed, is it?). In the meantime, I'll keep showing your little snippets. And how about a map of it? Be sure to view the Garden Legend just below the map in order to identify each item.

















So let me tell you a bit about what you CAN'T see...

This isn't a flat level garden. Remember... I live in the mountains! Those green areas with squash, potatoes, tomatoes... each of those are a different terrace, which means little retaining walls that need to be built. Oh, and the raised bed boxes are on another terrace.

Now you know why this is taking so long! I'm going to have to add masonry skills to my repertoire! I've started digging out the foundation for one and the block is all over the tomato area. And in the meantime, I still am planting and raising veggies. (By the way, I rotate those three green areas each year.)

The raised bed boxes are where I grow all my greens and other tender or smaller sized plants: basil, cilantro, lettuce, chard, peppers, radishes, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbages, peas, etc. I don't have all 8 raised beds in place yet, but getting there! Each year we add a couple more.

The bees live tucked away in the upper left corner. You may be thinking that a beehive in the garden would fall into the category of "two's company, three's a crowd". But based on my own experience, I have found that bees and beehives are a lovely fit! However, because I live where rogue animals would love to have honey as a treat after dark, fencing around the hive is pretty much a necessity. (Have you ever seen pictures of a hive knocked over and destroyed by a predator? It's a sad sight, indeed! Trust me... you don't want to go there.)

Thankfully, the brown wood fencing was already in place. And since I planned to put my goats in a paddock in the garden, their corral fencing would secure a third side. I left one side open, but if necessary, I can fence this off, too. A cypress-like tree (this one is actually a Japanese Juniper, but it looks like a cypress; the other three really ARE Italian Cypress), a couple of bay trees that will be pruned to large shrubs, and a rosemary plant will act as winter wind breaks on the north side of the hives. These are all evergreens that are safe to eat should the goats manage to get their heads through and consume some a lot! (They just decimated my roses when a little someone didn't get the gate closed all the way.)



Most of the items on the map are in place, but I didn't mark all the bee friendly flowers that I've added or will be adding. My sweet friend, Gail, sent me a packet of seeds from Botanical Interests called "Save The Bees". I'm planting them on the other side of the fence, right in front of the hives! Lavender (another bee favorite) has been interspersed among the espalier apple trees and annuals such as zinnias and chrysanthemums will be scattered throughout.

I still have some plants waiting to go in the ground, as well as a few spaces that still need to be filled with something special, but the journey is half the fun! And I'm getting a really good farmer's tan!

What would you add that I haven't thought of? I'd love some input!







31 comments:

  1. Thank you for the Save the Bees packet information! That looks like a nice mix.

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  2. This is wonderful! So organized and well-thought out. I love it!

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  3. Hey Amy, be careful on your crop rotation. Since eggplant, potatoes, and tomatoes are all in the nightshade(Solanaceae)family, they can bring soil- borne diseases if planted in the same place during consecutive years.
    Since you're rotating at least one of them into a bed occupied by the same family the year before you increase the risk.

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    Replies
    1. Hmmm.... good point. I originally had 4 terraces of the green areas, but I gave one up for the goats. I'll have to think on that one!

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  4. What a great garden plan! I love your diagram and all the wonderful elements it contains.

    What do you think about companion planting for highest yields? In your raised beds, do you do companion plating to improve garden health?

    It wasn't until after we planted our garden this year that I remembered about my companion planting books, but I want to try it next year.

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    Replies
    1. Maria,
      Yes, I love companion planting. What I put out there is just the basics, but I mix in other smaller plants - except in the potatoes. Those I tend to leave alone because I'm not a confident potato farmer... yet!

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  5. I can't wait to see the "finished" pictures - it sounds lovely!

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  6. I, too, have a potager...only 24 x 36 and walled in. I'm in the city and not allowed to have chickens or bees, but would LOVE to. The only think I think you could plant would be nuts...sunflowers for their seeds. Peanuts may not do well where you are. Do you have nut trees? And aspapagus? I plant sunflowers in each corner of my garden. Looks beautiful and the seeds are great for snacking or throwing in salads. Just be sure to wrap the heads when nearly time to harvest or the birds will beat you to them!

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    Replies
    1. Nuts would be nice, but not sure they'll do well in this climate. I'll have to look into that. As for sunflowers, I've heard not to plant them with your veggies so I am working on another spot for them. Can't remember why... they steal nutrients or stunt the growth of some veggies??

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    2. I haven't heard that! Will have to research. I've always had sunflowers in with my vegetables and haven't had any problems...but, of course, maybe I've been lucky.

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  7. Sounds like you have it all covered! I looks like a wonderful layout! I can't wait to see more pictures. Chives and garlic are beneficial to be planted under apple trees :)

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  8. I love how you have incorporated trees & flowers into the garden along-side your veggies. My gated garden is in it's first year and I am looking to add blueberry bushes/fruit trees this fall (Lord willing!). Do you mind me asking the space dimensions that this map covers?

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    Replies
    1. Teresa,
      I didn't do a very good job making it accurate! The left side where the goat paddock is... that's only 32 feet long. The top fence line where the other wild life area is and the espalier trees is 72 ft. The right side is 64 feet, and the front where the cherry trees are is 80 ft. So not nearly as "squared as it looks". A lot of the garden has weird angles. Does around 3600 square feet sound right?

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  9. Love your garden map! My goats are escape artists and I think they test the electric wire to see if it's plugged in. One week Hubby was working on the fence and left it unplugged. We have a regular goat fence and then one electric wire on top to keep the chickens from roosting or leaving the yard. I happened to walk out at just the moment my one goat was climbing the goat fence, had her head and upper body under the electric wire and half way over the fence. We are adding a few more wires to the fence. But my escapees like to eat my grape vine. Luckily I have two in separate areas of the yard so I still had grapes last year from one of the vines!

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    Replies
    1. I know it's bound to happen... a goat getting in the vegetable garden. I'll be mad and whine when it happens. And then I'll just keep gardening some more!

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  10. Ah! BIG teaser! Can't wait to see more!

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  11. It's looking great! I love that you showed us a little map. My husband is a beekeeper (hobby for years), so it's always interesting to read about others experiences along those lines. He just loves the bees!

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  12. Onions. Just grab a few packets of seeds (Floyd's is fine.) and plant yourself some cheap onions. As you thin them, use them as you would green onions. They help loosen the root zone, repel some pests, and are delicious.

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    Replies
    1. Maybelline, We LOVE onions and garlic!! A couple of years ago I did onions and was fairly pleased, however they were from sets. This year I started my first onion seeds ever. They came up right away, but soooooo slow growing. I'm thinking I should have started them indoors a lot sooner. I didn't know they'd help repel some pests, but that's great to know! I'll probably tuck them in one of the green zones.

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  13. This year I added kiwi vine, to a homemade trellis made from a fallen tree, and a medicinal herb garden. We love fruits, especially peaches and nectarines so I have two of those in the garden and the nectarines are espaliered. I'm also going to eventually add 2 pawpaw trees since they are native to our area. To provide shade for my chickens in summer, I put Hops plants in pots to grow up the hardware cloth. Sunflowers are a great way to grow food for the chickens and bees. If you have water cascading down the mountain, you might want to plant more trees or bushes, like raspberry, on the north side.
    I can't wait to see the photos.

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    Replies
    1. Indio,
      I'm really struggling with what to do on that north side... I may wait until a year or two to see what I really want. However, I'm definitely wanting some peach trees! I hope those are added somewhere next year. Maybe on that north side?

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  14. It looks fantastic! And I love all the trees you have incorporated! The bee hive was a wonderful surprise. Can't wait to see pix. The only thing I would add would be an herb garden somewhere closest to the house.

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    Replies
    1. Actually, I have a separate space for a medicinal herb garden which is close to the house. I tend to treat herbs as flowers, so I have them scattered everywhere on the property.

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  15. Everything looks really good. Congratulations. :o)

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  16. I love your plan! Just a note, I see you have cherry trees next to the goat pen. I'm pretty sure that wilted cherry tree leaves are toxic to goats.

    Sarah
    www.beewenchfarm.com

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    Replies
    1. Yes, I heard that after I planted them. There is also a big oak tree near by, which can't be moved. So I'll be raking every morning before I let them out! Thanks for the information!

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  17. Hi Amy, I've been on the receiving end of a bear attack on the hives, not pretty you're right. We pick a corn crop for every year, last year was an heirloom Amish popcorn, this year it's Floriani Red Flint Grain Corn. Have you tried to grow corn yet? Just a thought. I love the way you have everything laid out. It always looks so great on paper right?
    *anna
    oceannah.wordpress.com

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    Replies
    1. Anna,
      I haven't tried corn in YEARS! I was so UNsuccessful I haven't tried since. Maybe I will next year... I like the sound of "Florianai Red Flint Grain" corn!

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  18. How about planting nut trees on the north side? They get fairly tall, will have spreading roots for water absorption. If they are in the north they won't block your sun. I've always wanted to grow hazelnuts and chestnuts because they are so expensive in the store. A fresh picked, organic peach is an incomparable experience. As long as you can deal with peach wilt, should it ever come, they are easy. The other fruit trees you have down usually have pest problems.
    BTW, I have 2 figs and I love fresh picked figs lightly grilled for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
    I made the mistake of planting sunflowers with veggies one year and had to keep digging up the seedlings the following year. Also, they can get tall and block the sun to your other plants.

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  19. Inspires me to create a plan for my own garden!

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