imafan26
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Planning 2017 garden

Well, it is that time of year again. The shiny new catalogs are coming out and my seed bin is bulging, but I want a few more. I always have to make a list and cut it down, but decisions decisions. I have already gone through by bulging seed bags and cut some of my list down and I have already ordered some seeds but held off on the others.

I need a better way to plan so that I don't order too many new seeds and don't have to toss out as much of the old ones.
How do you know how many seeds you need for a season or even one planting.
I do planting charts but, my timing is off and the plants are not coming out on time so it messes up the cycling.

What would be the best way to design a planting plan for succession? It can be symbolic since my planting areas are not rectangular and I interplant a lot and most programs are not designed to accommodate that. The other problem I encounter with commercial plans is that they don't have many of the specialty plants I have so I have to substitute symbols.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

pepperhead212
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Re: Planning 2017 garden

I also have that problem of planning for succession planting. Problem is, it's a non-stop job, starting seedlings (unless direct seeding, which is more work, to me at least, due to weeds) spaced apart by the right times, which is different for many plants. Good luck!

As for planning the usual things, I check out those catalogs when I get them, and highlight interesting sounding varieties, and make three piles of them - the few that I will order from, the ones with varieties I want, but will not order from that catalog (not enough varieties, very high shipping charges, etc.), and the ones with nothing in them. I am only saving the latter type because at the end of the season I will count ALL of these catalogs to see how many I got. I throw so many of them away every year, I am curious what the total will be!

I have gone through my new trials from last year, and crossed off the great majority of them, since I had few "keepers". Some I simply discarded the seeds, since I would not recommend them to anyone, while others I put in a section for others, in trades, that may be looking for it. I also got rid of old seeds, something I do every year.

I already have four new varieties, in trades, so the list has started!
Dave

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digitS'
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Re: Planning 2017 garden

Having learned something about your interests and gardening, you must both be talented gardeners. Imafan', there is quite a contrast between your environment and where I garden. Timing and plant choices differ.

Dave, your comment on the difficulty presented by weeds while I'm trying to think of something helpful to offer Imafan' brought this quote to mind, "You should rather be grateful for the weeds you have in your mind, because eventually they will enrich your practice." ~ Shunryu Suzuki

I'll couple that with another, from Suzuki, "In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, in the expert's there are few."

While I have tried to crowd down my options by focusing on how best to be successful in the garden, I'm apparently faced with climate change. I have begun to suspect that the dominant characteristic of this is "variable conditions."

I'm not sure how much other conditions have changed but weather plays a big role. It's a cliche to say that I learn something new every season but I'll be more humble and say that I'm "taught" something new, every season. I can't always benefit.

As a beginner, I was lucky at times and over several seasons, often lucky. Or, there was that one time of bounty with a particular crop or variety and I have been stubborn in trying to repeat that. What I may not have realized was that change sometimes brings benefit and it doesn't always jerk the rug out from under our feet. Lessons developed skills and knowledge but, at times, they weren't really the best practices outside of that season.

What has been the best lesson learned is not to put all my eggs in one basket. Crowding myself down to narrow choices might work if conditions always stay the same. They don't. It might work if I could take out crop insurance. I can't.

Okay, here is a sports cliche: I need depth to the bench. With lots of players and some experience with most of them, I have better chances of success. The starters may dominate but they are not the only players on the field.

Of course, it is easier for me because I'm both retired (ha!) and have large gardens. I can experiment in relatively small areas and have a fair amount of a variable approach in the larger areas. New seasons come around and I can start both my champions and promising rookies.

I should have a clipboard. To a very large extent, the forums have been my clipboards :). Thank you Roger for the great search software! Thank you Members for your expertise. Thank you Beginners for requiring me to think about what I am doing and to try to put it in words ... which I can refer back to in upcoming seasons ;).

Succession planting in a single season often involves companion planting. It also involves experience with and knowledge of produce. If value is on a downhill spiral, I'm very willing to recognize the soil-building value of the plants. In other words, they feed the soil microorganisms instead of people. Sure, cover crops may have been less expensive but - Hey, everything can't come down to dollars and cents. Losing all value isn't the way I like to play the game. Besides, other organisms besides those in the soil, benefit. Companion plants are often not very companionable. New generations need resources of space, water and nutrients. Imposed limitations should not be there just out of casual gardener laziness.

I always think that timing is critically important but I'm only partially in control there. Record-keeping really helps and now I'm coming back full circle to the value of sharing on the forums. Finally, I am aware of my weaknesses and tolerant of my mistakes. If I had nothing at all going on, I'm sure I wouldn't make so many of them ;).

Steve
We are each other's harvest; we are each other's business; we are each other's magnitude and bond. ~ Gwendolyn Brooks

imafan26
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Re: Planning 2017 garden

I have given away some seeds and there are a few I did not like. I thought I would give some a second chance just in case they do better under a different set of conditions. Maybe, I should not give so many a second chance. I also got seeds from friends and seeds that were saved in past seasons. I went through the seed bags this year and I did throw a lot away and I tested some and they were still good. I may have to get rid of some based on performance other than germination.

Do you draw out a plan or guestimate how many seeds you are going to plant? It seems I plant more or less the same things, but I may switch varieties and sometimes I move things especially if a disease or a pest finds the plant.

I share my catalogs with friends so we can pool orders. That way shipping is less. Kitazawa has flat rate shipping for up to 20 packages so it would be the same shipping if I only ordered 5.

It was hard to ship seeds out before, and it is harder now with all the seed borne diseases. I have to take seeds down to the department of Ag with the shipping materials. It needs to be inspected there and packed in their presence. They will stamp the box or envelope then I have to take it to the post office. If it goes to another country then I also have to fill out a customs form. Some seeds are not allowed to be shipped out at all like rape seed and ung choi (swamp cabbage). Plants need to be shipped bareroot. It is also hard to find a company that will ship plants to Hawaii.

I can share seeds locally, and there is a seed exchange box although more people take seeds than bring in.

Some of the seeds I have will be planted out for the monthly sales. I grow out about 20 trays a month. The sale is only for 4 hours on the second Saturday of the months from Feb-October. Some plants will carry over, some will be planted out in the garden and some will be given away to volunteers, especially vegetable starts since most will not keep month to month. The same core of people come, so I try to vary the variety of what is offered. I don't really have a plan for that other than check the seeds I have and figure out how much room I have on the bench once the community pots are planted out. Sometimes I over shoot and I end up with four trays from a com pot instead of the two I planned. There will be some left over plants that will carry over and that will limit how much space I have for additional material.

At home and in the community garden, I have to map out space better since that space is limited. How do you map out spacing on a map? I tried the square foot garden type plan but some things need circles and not squares. The SFG planting tool aslo does not really allow for intercropping.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

pepperhead212
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Re: Planning 2017 garden

I draw out a plan for planting, but it is rather easy to do, since everything is in straight lines in my garden. And the varieties I don't pass on to others are the ones that simply do not taste good. If disease, pests, or heat did them in, maybe someone else can have better luck with them.
Dave

imafan26
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Re: Planning 2017 garden

I might have to resort to that too. I have drawn planting plans before, I had the biggest problem sticking to them and maybe I need to scale them since they were rough drawings and I underestimated the room some of them took. I probably have to spend more time and work on one plan for each area. I don't have straight lines and I plant more intensively. I may have to consider moving the broccoli out to large pots or a different part of the garden so it does not run into the corn when it is time to plant.
That might work out better. Thanks for the help and advice.
I may have to go through the seeds again and see what else I can give away or cull.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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applestar
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Re: Planning 2017 garden

I think you've seen my 'tools' before --

1. I use a spreadsheet as garden journal/calendar... recently rearranged so each row is a different year and each column is same time period in the year so I can see at a glance what was going on from year to year. A worksheet for each garden bed or area. Posting detailed reports here on the forum with photos is a great way to keep track, too.

2. For garden mapping (planning and planting record) I use Numbers app on iPad. I like it because it lets you create tables anywhere on a sheet AND has drawing tools for geometric shapes with size indicator. YES SCALE DRAWINGS ARE INVALUABLE. The individual tables are good for rectangular beds with cells sized to represent planting blocks or distances. Geometric shapes can be overlaid to represent the plant's max size for interplanting and succession planting. Colors can be used for identifying crops or for season. Numbers also lets you import photos and overlay the tables and shapes. I sometimes take birds eye view photos of the garden beds.

It helps that I can take the tablet outside and refer to the plans ...or mark down what I planted right away so I don't forget.

3. I used a different idea mapping app for crop rotation master plan indicating what crop follows what.


*** I cant now, but could post examples or find links to previously posted ones later ***
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

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applestar
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Re: Planning 2017 garden

Here are examples of maps of a same area

Subject: Applestar's 2014 Tomato Gardens
applestar wrote:Update photo and map of the "Sunflower House" (SFH) tomato garden and the "Sunflower House Extension" (SFHX) watermelon patch plus the "Haybale Row" (HBR) protected squash patch
Image
Image

Subject: Applestar's 2016 Garden
applestar wrote:I took down the string trellis and pulled the yellowed pea vines in the SFH today. The pea vines were put down between the corn rows as mulch over scattered organic fertilizer (Chickety Doo Doo).


When corn was first planted back in May vs. today's corn :
Image

With string and without except for the last row on the right :
Image

Latest map of the Sunflower House
Image
Subject: Applestar's 2016 Garden
applestar wrote:Updated my maps for these beds Image

Image

Image
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

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applestar
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Re: Planning 2017 garden

Image

...in this chart, I should point out that I had originally planned to plant the cherry tomatoes in SFHX in 2016, which is located to the right where the garlic had been planted -- this is indicated in the row header column at left for overall 2016 plans -- but I ended up digging a whole new bed -- which I dubbed '16 Cherry Lane to the left along the garden fencing on the interior side of the raspberries which are along the outside. SFHX was taken over by the three Butta zucchini plants while the garlic and onions were harvested, then SVB's took them down, then the sweet potatoes took over. The new Cherry Lane bed was a success and next year, I plan to grow melons on a sturdy(er) fence trellis there. (This is because I'm intending to make the narrow bed part of the HBR (Haybale Row) for crop rotation and next year will be cucurbits with winter squash in the HBR)

...and I noticed I hadn't noted this change, but I'm planning to plant cherry tomatoes in SFHX next year.

If I were to show you all of these -- and you can see I have many -- there are various inconsistencies that for the most part I don't bother to correct because the difference is in my head but the notations jog my memory (for now any way :> ... I admit sometimes I'm stumped and only remember that what is written is incorrect without remembering why :roll: )
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

imafan26
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Re: Planning 2017 garden

Thanks that is helpful. I have to look for that app. I don't have an I pad or a Mac but there is probably a similar app for Dell.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

ButterflyLady29
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Re: Planning 2017 garden

WOW! I do plans and maps but mine are all hand done. I have a couple garden layout programs but I get so frustrated trying to get them to do what I want them to do. And when I was at work and found a couple minutes here and there it was so much easier to use pen and paper which I had access to. Maybe this year I'll learn how to do it on the computer.

With the terraced garden planning is pretty simple. In spring move the tomato cages to new pots then plant peas in those pots. Plant lettuce and other cool weather crops in the pots without cages. May not have the 3 year recommended rotation but since the organic material in the pots breaks down so fast I'm always adding new material.

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