Sunday, November 14, 2010

Mulling Over Garden Plans & A Permanent Coldframe

Yesterday was beautiful, and we spent the day doing yard and garden clean-up.  The dahlias and glads were dug, more mulch was laid in the garden beds, and some raspberries were transplanted.  We mulled over the new square footage available after a recent increase to the perimeter of the fence, and the digging up of a few raspberries.

Right now I am thinking that I want one new bed to built as a permanent 3.5 x 6 foot coldfarme some time between now and February so it can be put to use come March.  Also, we will create a long narrow raised bed over the coming days/weeks using the lasagna method (no frames for now) and see how much sun it gets, and how it fits my gardening needs before making a permanent raised bed structure next year, or the year fater.  The fence was quite costly, and building a new coldframe will not be inexpensive either, so I have already sunk more money than I would like into the garden going into the 2011 season.

I found a large A-frame style coldframe I really like , there is a photo of it here.  The other option is to use the one I already have, and build another small unit next to it; if going with this plan both frames would need to be set on a raised structure of some sort since there currently there is only lawn in it's destined area.

Here is the currant frame seen below sitting atop a raised bed, there are some pea greens growing in there now.  No matter the design, I plan on having multiple covers to change out seasonally such as plastic, shade cloth, and row cover or bug netting so that cole crops can be grown directly in place with some pest protection, and seedlings can be raised through the warmer months for transplant into the main beds at later dates.  If my garden wasn't over the septic system I would dig the coldframe into the earth a bit for better temperature regulation, but I unfortunately don't have that option.

I have been sketching up various planting plans for next year, and anyway I slice it I just don't have much space available.  Right now I have only 63 square feet of bed unoccupied going into the 2011 season.  Y-Y-Y-YIKES!  The new beds will help some, but I will still only be around 100 square feet in total.  This reduced square footage means I have to plant much less than I have in the past.  Like 4 tomatoes instead of 12.  One pepper instead of 5 or 6.  No carrots, or cucumbers.  :( 

I plan on sowing garlic around the inside of the fence line next fall (yes, that means creating yet another raised bed, and I am kicking myself for not coming up with this idea a month ago, but it will free up 32 square feet of space for other crops).  If I get a nice blueberry and strawberry harvest come summer I will likely keep them in the vegetable garden permanently.   If critters still get all my berries I will move them back out or quit attempting to grow them in the first place.  We buy so much fruit, from a financial stand point it makes sense to sacrifice vegetable production in effort to buy less fruit at the farmstand, as the veggies are less expensive.

I need to go back through my old posts and try to remember how I layered the materials when we made new beds this Spring.  The soil in the sweet potato bed is the best of any of the raised beds as far as tilth goes, and all of the newer beds seemed to supply plenty of nutrients for first year beds as well.  I know peat, straw, cardboard, dog and rabbit feed, compost, and soil went in among other things, but the details are fuzzy.  Time to head back out to the garden and start shoveling some dirt!


Sue said...

No carrots????????????????
OMG. Please say it isn't so.
I'd sooner give up my first born than go without!!
Just kidding. Well, maybe. He has been a pain lately!!

Love all your ideas. Can't wait for next year to see how you squeeze in more!
Take care.....

Kelly said...

I know Sue, the idea of not sowing the mokums and boleros is upsetting, I could always try them in pots!

Erin said...

Can't wait to see how it all plays out for you, I know you will manage to fit in everything somehow! Sunny here today, I will be headed out for some maintenance in the garden myself today!

meemsnyc said...

Do you do any container gardening? I planted some peppers in containers and they do fairly well. I've been thinking and rethinking our garden space as well. Even though we put in a 25'by 20' garden this year, we already added two 4x8 raised beds. I want to add at least two more before the 2011 season. It seems like it's never enough space!

Engineeredgarden said...

I agree with meems - containers will solve your cucumber and carrots problem. They both do great in them.

Thomas said... I missing something? Why are you so starved for bed space next year? Is it because you planted your fruit bushes and trees within your existing beds?

Dani said...

I'd go with the containers too. :)

Kelly said...

Yes Thomas. I have a bout 200 square feet of planting space in total, but perenial onions, herbs, and asparagus take up some bed space. Then there is the garlic and recently moved fruit- which only left me with about sixty-something square feet come spring.

I can do one or two containers, but my potatoes are already in them and there is only so much full sun in my yard- so it truly is more of a sun problem than anything I guess. This time of the year the garden is mostly shaded all day long. :(