A goal without a plan is just a wish.-Antoine de Saint-Exupery
The only time a garden is perfect is before it is planted, when it resides in the mind and on paper. After that, it takes an event kin to a call from a gardening magazine wanting to do a photoshoot to warrant the detailed work required to have that perfect garden look. So, for the those of us who won’t likely get that call, let’s enjoy the planning and mapping of our plots.
I love lists. I adore putting things neatly on paper and obsessing about them. A garden map is my favorite bit of planning all year. It holds none of the potential stress of our household budget or the monthly schedule on our wall. It doesn’t drive and haunt me like the daily chalkboard lists I keep in my kitchen and mudroom. The garden plan is nothing but hope. It is the planning for a baby before the reality of pregnancy and sleeplessness and potty training make life messy.
You can’t plow a field simply by turning it over in your mind.-Gordon B. Hinckley
Mapping is important because it helps us make sure we have everything we want and it has a place. It allows us to reference books like Carrots Love Tomatoes and Great Garden Companions and put things together that will benefit each other nutritionally or otherwise. The map also guides the quantity of seeds we start. Why plant 200 tomatoes if you have room for 100 or 30 if you have room for 15? As importantly, next year we will look back at this map and use it to plan our rotation. (For instance, potatoes cannot be planted in the same place as last year because that would make things too easy for the Potato Beetles.)
Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.-Warren Buffett
Our plans start with some notes, scratches and crude drawings.
After checking last year’s map, making some adjustments and a couple of evenings of checking the notes in our garden journal, they are transferred to neat, scale drawing and then put in the computer.
I like engineering paper, you may like a napkin. It doesn’t have to be to scale. It doesn’t need to be neat.
What needs shade and do you have a shaded place to plant it or do you need to couple it with other plants that will protect it from the sun (we shade tomatoes half the day in the deep south or we lose them in July)? What needs to climb and will you be using a trellis or letting it climb another plant (like climbing beans with corn)? Who likes wet feet and where do you need to plant it (celery)? Who needs it well drained (root crops)? As I have learned this year, what do you need to keep away from the Guineas?
Don’t neglect the long-term goals for your property. Are you putting in perennials or trees? Are the herbs close enough to the house to make them convenient?
Enjoy this process.
Chew on this
Eliot Coleman on beyond organic growing
I love funny. I can think of no reason for education to be dull. I am huge fan of food docs so I really like That Sugar Film. If you haven’t seen it yet, do so immediately.
Happy eating, Katy