Posts Tagged ‘kale’

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.

Lettuce in the square foot garden

This year I am growing Tom Thumb and Tiny Tim Lettuce in the square foot gardens. The catalog says that these grow 4 to 6 inches wide and tall. I guess they are ready to eat now.

In another location I have planted several more.  I put a Kale plant in the middle of a group of lettuce, thinking that after I cut the lettuce out the Kale would have more room to grow.  For whatever reason (probably our strangely warm early spring) the Kale looks awful.

Sad little kale sticks out like a sore thumb.

Another tray of seedlings

Here are a few other things that I have started inside this winter. The purslane is an upright garden variety. If you have not tasted this ‘weed,’ try some from your lawn this summer. You don’t treat your lawn with chemicals do you? No, because if you did, you probably wouldn’t have any purslane. Ha!

Kale, Kale, Kale




I planted the Kale seeds I received in the mail from Robin shortly after Christmas. I had a heck of a time with poor germination, but I finally have a tray of them rising up! Thank you again Robin!  I am very much looking forward to trying these.  I’m going to give them a little bit longer to get established before I throw them out in the cold greenhouse (gradually, I’m sure).

Zone 5 Greenhouse New Year update


The radish seeds I sowed in the greenhouse in a pot on December 5th started to show their heads last week.  Yesterday many had come up!


There were several consecutive nights of 0 degree weather outside (in degrees fahrenheit, 32 below freezing), and the greenhouse got as cold as 19 by morning once, but the radishes seem to be doing well!

Shortly I’ll be moving some other seedlings out there…things I started inside under my grow lights. I could keep them inside and just grow them under the lights, but this is an experiment after all!  I want to see what works!

I’ll be VERY happy to start some Kale seeds this week!  Thanks very much to Robin for sending me those!  I owe you!

Wanted: Kale Seeds

Would anyone be willing to put a few of last year’s Kale seeds (any variety) in an envelope and mail them to me?  I don’t have any (didn’t try it in the summer garden) and stores around here don’t stock seeds in December.  I would really appreciate your time and effort.

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