Archive for February, 2011

Spring Garden Planning – on Paper – 2011

When I originally built my first set of garden beds in 2008, I had a brilliant idea. Every web site and book I could find was telling me that I wanted my garden beds to be 4 feet wide, for the convenience of reaching the crops easily and the benefit of never having to set foot into my soil. I promptly built each bed 6 feet wide because I knew better and I’ve been kicking myself for my arrogance ever since. I figured that 50% more growing area per bed plus much less wood needed would save me a ton of money by using a 6×8 foot layout. Well, it’s just been a pain in the ass.

This first drawing illustrates this year’s idea to help take advantage of these oddly-wide square foot garden beds. I plan to build a two-foot-wide middle section that has a trellis on each of these beds. I’ll grow climbing crops up the trellis in the middle and use the two-foot section on each side for crops with shorter growth habits.

So with this idea in mind, I got out my handy-dandy graph paper and planned out my 2011 garden. You can click the image to enlarge the photo. Each of the 5 beds I have numbered 2 through 6 will be getting a trellis topper with it’s own double-raised bed section (6 inches higher) beneath.

I have rotated every crop to an area of the garden that it hasn’t been grown for at least a year. Ideally I would use a 4 or 5 year rotation, but that isn’t possible in this amount of space unless I grow less tomatoes.

Because I have 12 growing beds, I plan to have several beds entirely dedicated to single crops, including sweet potatoes, potatoes, beans and tomatoes.

I also have planned some succession sowing with early spring crops, spring crops and fall crops. Carrots will follow the radishes and lettuce, Beets will follow Kale, and the green bean bed will be planted multiple times.

I found a place online where I could download a nice spreadsheet to help me with my seed-sowing dates. I entered my (average) last spring frost date into the spreadsheet, and it adjusted itself to display a range of dates where I should probably start my indoor seeds for best success in my garden. I moved these recommendations to the calendar on my computer and printed out a copy for easy reference. I have two trays of seeds started so far. Pictures coming at a later date!

The boys have been big helpers with the seed starting. They get a little bit of cabin fever when they are snowed in.

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Glad he didn’t died! (First Guest Post by CAH)

Today’s post welcomes a guest blogger, CAH, who has more blog ideas waiting in the wings. Thanks C! – Jimmy

So glad that M. pulled through, worried there for a bit that we might have to find a mule team to pull us to Illinois in the blizzard to help L. with triage. As M. lay suffering we were also on a forced slowdown, and as we sat watching the snow fly I asked myself WWMVD? For the uninitiated: What Would M**** V**** Do? I have found that many problems of home and garden can be solved by asking oneself, WWMVD? WWMVD if he were healthy and homebound for a week with a stocked pantry? Cook and Eat!

As Winter rolls on the shelves are beginning to heave a sigh of relief as the colorful deep repositories of summer turn to clear shinny vessels waiting to be of use. We knew we would make it through with quinoa stew reincarnated, winter greens and cumin soup with lemon and feta, no kneed walnut bread, chocolate bourbon caramel cake with bourbon caramel glaze, cornbread, popovers, and deep dark spicy pickled beets. The bounty of Summer was preserved for us in large part due to the friendship of M. and L. and as the snow creeped up and the lids popped we were thankful for the earth that nourishes us and the friends that help us grow.

Book Giveaway: The Urban Homestead, Your Guide to Self-Sufficient Living in the Heart of the City

A family in Pasadena has decided to trademark the term “Urban Homesteading” and several other common phrases. To that end, they have sent out cease and desist letters to many people and organizations tell them that they must only use these phrases IN ALL CAPS WITH (R) a trademark symbol at the end.  They have even tried to stop Google from linking to this book:

I really feel bad for the authors of this book, who have their own blog. They did nothing wrong, but got caught up in a legal battle by these selfish folks in California.

I would like to do my part to support those who are opposed to this land-grab that violates the very rules of the trademarking process. (Trademark law should not be used to “deprive commercial speakers of the ordinary utility of descriptive words.”)

If you would like to be entered into a drawing to receive a copy of this book, please just leave a comment on this post.  I’ll take entries until March 5th and hold a drawing to select the winner shortly thereafter.

If you would, please join the Urban Home-Steading(s) community on Facebook and/or follow the #DumpTheDervaeses hashtag on Twitter to keep up with today’s Urban Homesteaders Day of Action.

Urban Homesteading

In case you hadn’t already heard the story, browse here.

Happy Valentine’s Day

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