I know it’s only early September, but I’m already scheming how to make next year’s garden better. A couple of things that are influencing the basic layout are probably going to come into play. The first one I employed this year and have been happy with the results so I’m going to repeat it.
This is my 2015 garden in two phases. The basic plan I’ve been using for a few years is shown on the left and consists of twelve equal sized beds I rotate crops through. I’ve grouped together the families I devote the most space to: Alliaceae (Onion, garlic, scallion, leek, shallot,) Solanaceae (tomato, pepper, tomatillo,) Fabaceae (beans, peas,) and Miscellaneous, the beds where I grow a variety of early, cool weather things like lettuce, spinach and broccoli that later get replaced with squash and fall plantings of leafy crops again.
On the right in the Solanacea this year I extended the adjacent beds to create a little more planting room where the path would normally go through. It’s meant a little more walking around, but I’ve been able to grow a few more pepper and tomato plants. In between the Miscellaneous and Fabaceae sections this year I had a little serendipity where my Bush Delicata squash grew. It ended up taking over most of the bed and the path between it and the pole beans. When I thought about it, I don’t need that path now that the smaller crops are gone. The pole beans are grown for drying so I don’t need to get to them before the squash is done, probably. It can stay.
That brings us to the beginning of next year’s plan. In 2016 I will rotate everything around four beds clockwise. Think of a volleyball team. I’ll continue the “Mutant E” arrangement for the Solanaceae, and now look! In the second stage (on the right) I’ll be able to put squash family plants in the middle of the three Miscellaneous beds and let them ramble across the paths. This is especially making me look forward to the 2016 season because today I received a gift of hulless pumpkin seeds and I want to grow some Red Kuri squash, a variety I don’t believe comes in a bush form.
I’m always looking for ways to cram more into my limited growing space. So far I’ve employed as much vertical growing as I can think of and now I’m temporarily utilizing paths. Do you have any brilliant tips for getting even more out of a small garden?