Gardening, The Great Outdoors

No Plans Like Garden Plans {companion planting and crop rotation}

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Hello everyone 😄

I am so wonderfully excited that it is spring. Wonderfully isn’t even a good enough adjective to describe how excited I am.

I’m over the moon.

I. love. gardening. so. much.

I’ve not been as active on the blog lately and this is partly due to the fact that I’ve been spending all kinds of quality time with little green things…and the little brown things that they come from 😛

Little seedlings🌱🌱🌱 below (picture captions are still being glitchy).

Clockwise from left: radish sprout, hot pepper plants, radish and carrot sprouts, marshmallow, dill sprouts, tiny beets, and alllll the tomatoes.

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I have done a lot, and I mean a lot of work on my garden. I’ve expanded it, which is a short phrase to describe a long and back breaking process associated with the relocation of S-O-D.

But you don’t want to hear about that.

**Just for the record, before I dive in. I’m in a zone 6, so planting usually doesn’t happen till memorial day/late May. 

 

Crop Rotation

For a visual on my expansion and what I’m growing this year vs. last year check this out.

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This ⬆⬆⬆ is last year’s garden. Dimensions are about 12×13′.

(In an additional garden bed #8 by the house I grew sweet potatoes and marigolds.)

And I got bored of it.

I read in The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible: Discover Ed’s High-Yield W-O-R-D System for All North American Gardening Regions, (by Edward C. Smith) that if you find you are bored with your garden, add more to it. Woo hoo!

So I did.

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Here ⬆⬆⬆ is this year’s garden plans. It measures 20×17′. New garden beds this year are #s 2, 3 and 7.

So the old beds that I rotated are #s 1, 4, and 6.

Confused yet?

Here is a better description:

Bed #⬇     2017➡2018

  1. Corn ➡ cucumber, nasturtium, bush beans, carrots
  2. (New bed)
  3. (New bed)
  4. Tomatoes, marigolds ➡ cauliflower, dill, carrots, radishes, onions
  5. (Unchanged)
  6. borage, cosmos, thyme, basil ➡ borage, echinacea, marshmallow, bee balm
  7. (New bed)
  8.  Sweet potatoes, marigolds ➡ spinach, strawberries.

Basically, it’s all about taking care of the nutrients in the soil so the plants grow better. And It’s also about planting the right things together so that they benefit each other.

I understand it’s mostly rotating the heavy feeders with the lighter feeders.

 

Companion Planting

And that’s crop rotation. But what about companion planting?

Companion planting is just planting things in the same bed or row that will benefit each other. Those plants are friends. They grow up together and make each other happy, either by keeping away pests, or giving each other nutrients or both.

Q: How did I implement companion planting this year?

A: Pretty much any way I knew how to.

Companions

Bed #⬇

  1. cucumbers & nasturtium. Bush beans & carrots.
  2. sweet potatoes & marigolds, onions & tomatoes.
  3. tomatoes, onions, hot peppers and basil all go together.
  4. Cauliflower & dill, carrots, radishes and onions. The onions area divider of sorts because dill and carrots do not go together.
  5. (Unchanged.)
  6. Most herbs go together, especially bee & butterfly friendly flowers. 💐 🐝
  7. See above.
  8. Spinach & strawberries. 🌱🍓

 

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Found some spinach randomly growing in the garden…didn’t want it there, so I picked it and ate some!

Got any garden plans? Do you have any fond memories of gardening as a child, teen (or even as an adult)?

What do you think of crop rotation and companion planting?

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Gardening, The Great Outdoors

Summer’s Glory & Fade in the Garden

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Here in the midwest, my garden is still producing. But it won’t be long ’till…

~*~

Fall, in its crusty-

Leaved glory tucks summer in

For it’s year-long rest

 ~*~

And oh how I love fall.

But I wanted to record some observations and notes I’ve made about the plants I’ve grown this year. I’ve grown a lot of things I’ve never attempted before and just had a lot of fun with it.

There’s something about this in between time of year. When summer’s plenty gives way to fall’s decay. When the world prepares to sleep and we gather up a storehouse of food and supplies in preparation for the winter months.

As I think about this change of season, I’m reflecting on my gardening adventures this summer. Already I’m planning for next year 🙂

What I grew this year

 

From seed

  • Impatients-free seeds as a gift.
  • Resina Calendula-$2.75 for 50 seeds.
  • Munstead Lavender-$2.75 for 100 seeds.
  • Black Vernissage Tomatoes-free seed packet with my purchase from seed company.
  • Bright Lights Cosmos-$1.75 for 100 seeds.
  • German Chamomile-$2.25 for 300 seeds. I bought 2 packs.
  • Borage-$2.00 for 60 seeds.
  • Stowell’s Evergreen Sweet Corn-$3.00 for 75 seeds.
  • Brocade Mix Marigolds-$1.75 for 200 seeds.

All seeds except the impatients came from rareseeds.com. Highly recommend.

Plants Purchased Locally

  • Sun Gold tomato plant-2.50
  • Goldie tomato plant-2.50
  • Genovese basil-$2.50
  • Purple Ruffles basil-?
  • Silver Thyme-?
  • (6) Beauregard Sweet Potato Plants-$3.78
  • (6) Marigold plants-$1

Here is a collection of gardening photos I wanted to share with you guys.

 

My 2017 Summer Garden

 

Impatients

Last thing I planted so they are just recently blooming. I’ve never seen impatients branch out like this!

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Early August.
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Early September.

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Calendula

Grew fast and contrary to what I had read, the heat did not affect blooming. I’ve harvested and dried quite a bit.

Challenges: (A lot of) Aphids on the sticky stems. Not especially problematic just kinda gross and annoying to work around when harvesting. Slight problem with blackened leaves earlier in the year.

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Mid-June.
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Mid-July.
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Early August.

 

Lavender

Slow grower but seemed to really thrive in the drier soil on the edge of the garden.

Challenges: Just getting it to sprout and grow was a challenge. I understand why so many prefer to buy their plants. I planted about 6 seeds and in the end 2 plants survived.

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Lavender plant #1 mid-June.
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Lavender plant #1 early August.
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Lavender plant #2 early August.
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Lavender plant #1 early September.
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Lavender plant #2 early September.

 

Tomatoes

I transplanted all the tomatoes on 5/26. By mid-July, I had some sun gold (yellow cherry) tomatoes ripe. By late August I had tons of all types and I started canning them.

Challenges: I feared the Vernissage plants would never make a comeback. They were tall and lanky when I transplanted them. And then they developed bleached curly leaves which was odd…after that, they were fine and my only challenge was pruning them. Next year I need to give them a bit more space as they were massively intertwined this year.

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Baby black v. tomatoes (and tiny baby lavenders) late April
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Sun gold blossoms, mid-June.
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Sun golds, mid-July.
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Huge Goldie tomatoes. I love these! (Mid-July.)
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Mid-August.
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Black V. tomatoes, mid-July.
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Late August.

 

Basils

I’ve made 2 big batches of vegan basil pesto & its still growing strong! The purple ruffles basil has a very strong taste that I do not prefer but I do love the color. The Genovese basil is quite tasty but I can’t tell much of a difference between it and any other green leafed basil plant.

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Mid-June.
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Early September 🙂

The cosmos, chamomile and corn along with the borage are all past their prime and are in decline.

 

Cosmos & Chamomile

The cosmos and chamomile have done well, as I anticipated. Tons of chamomile flowers..I pruned chamomile and cosmos a ton throughout the year and this helped quite a bit with yield.

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Early August.

 

Borage

Grew fast. Still growing but waning. Bees still favor the flowers that are left. No challenges. This plant is awesome.

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Mid-June.
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Mid-July.
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Mid- to late July.

 

Sweet Corn

Grew quickly and well. No major problems. It did need a ton of watering and I believe I harvested it prematurely..as I have never attempted sweet corn before. Better luck next year!

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Sweet corn, early August.

 

Marigolds

I loved these giant marigolds. They required little care and literally became bushes as the description stated.

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Marigold plant mid-July.
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Early September.

Yet to be harvested are the melon and the sweet potatoes.

 

Sweet Potatoes

They have vined out a ton. I have cut them back at least 3 times. They are super healthy and haven’t needed much attention.

Challenges: Slugs. They hardcore chomped the leaves so I sprinkled diatomacious earth over them several times and boom. No more slug problem. Yay!

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Mid-June.
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Early September.
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I can’t get over how gorgeous sweet potato blooms are. Here you can see why they are a member of the morning glory family.

The sweet potatoes should be ready before first frost and after the beginning of October. It got down to about 42ish° yesterday morn so hopefully the weather cooperates!

 

Melon

The melon or “melon mountain” as I affectionately call it, was a huge surprise. I literally dumped melon seeds and peels repeatedly on the same spot in the old garden plot and melons sprouted. I did nothing!

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One of the many honeydews perched atop melon mountain. Early August.

Its funny because last year we tried to grow cantaloupe and…nada. Now at least 1 cantaloupe and many honeydews are growing.

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Just today I harvested my first honeydew melon. Looks like at least some of them will beat the frost.
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Super delicious 😋

This concludes my garden update. Next up…planting a tiny autumn garden. Garlic, spinach and kale are three things I hope to begin soon.

What things do you reflect on with a smile as summer fades to fall?

~Rachel

Poem and all photos are my own.