Tuesday, April 23, 2013

2013 Kitchen Garden Plans

My Kitchen Garden (aka vegetable garden, plus some herbs and flowers) takes some planning and organization each year since most of it doesn’t come back the following year. My Kitchen Garden consists mainly of the raised cedar beds in the very back of my yard, but also kind of encompasses the area around that. I developed a map and an Excel plant chart a couple of years ago that I update each year. This year my Excel chart decided to poop out on me and I can’t seem to do anything in it, so I redid it in InDesign.

My map shows where things are planted and I color coded it so I can tell what is/will be planted as seeds and what is/will be planted as plants. Plants are in red and seeds are in blue.

Click on map to enlarge

My plant chart is divided into columns: Type of Plant, Plant Variety, Where From, Seed or Plant, Recommended Planting Date, Year Bought, Thin To, and a column to indicate whether or not the seed or plant was successful. This year I added the “Thin To” column because every year I have to pull out all my crumbled up seed packets and look at each individual one to determine what distance to thin my seedlings to as they emerge. Seems logical to add that to the chart so I only have to look in that one spot for that information. I also color code it so that I know what I have planted (in yellow), what still needs to be planted (in green), and what I haven’t bought yet (in red text).

Click on chart to enlarge.

As you can tell by looking at the chart, most of my seeds and plants are Burpee, as well as a few from Hudson Valley Seed Library (see my previous post on this great organization). I discovered Seed Savers Exchange a little too late this year, but hope to try them another year.

I plan on saving seeds that I don’t use this year and will try to harvest some seeds from the veggies that grow. Whenever I have saved seeds in the past, I did a terrible job of it. I would put the leftover seed packets in the greenhouse or in a little baggie on my desk and then when I’d try to use them the next year they wouldn’t grow from improper storage. This year my plan is to put them the seeds in little Kraft coin envelopes, then put that inside tiny plastic zip-topped baggies, and store them in a plastic bag or container in the fridge. I learned about that in a class I took at Longwood Gardens once and have been wanting to try it and see if that will enable me to successfully use the seeds the next year.

I feel like I’m being overzealous with my Kitchen Garden this year. I think maybe it’s because I have been warned not to do too much as I still recover from elbow surgery* – and planting seeds and small plants is easy in comparison to the other things I originally had in mind for this year! Harvesting and eating what I plant is easy, too!

* I officially “graduated” from physical therapy a couple of weeks ago and started back at my yoga classes, with some limitations still, of course. I’m on my way to a full recovery, though! I’ve been warned not to tackle any major gardening projects or push any heavy wheelbarrows this year, but there’s always next year for that. :o)

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