“PLANNING THE VEGETABLE GARDEN”
Beth McGuinn gave a wonderful talk about “Planning the Vegetable Garden”. She shared her story about her love of gardening and how it has grown over the past years. She grew up gardening with her father, graduated to nurturing a whisky barrel full of lettuce right after college and now she gardens a 50′ x 75′ vegetable garden in Canterbury. She emphasized that anyone can garden no matter how small your patch of soil (or container!) may be.
She went over the basics of site selection reminding us that we need to keep in mind the following criteria:
• You will need the sunniest spot possible.
• Your soil should be not too sandy or have too much clay. If it does, you can amend your soil by adding lots of compost. You may also consider creating raised beds and bringing in good soil. Your soil should ideally have a ph of 6-6.5 . You can send your soil to be tested at the UNH Cooperative Extension Soil Testing Program. They will test your soil and give recommendations on how to amend your soil if needed.
• Water should drain nicely away. Water should not collect in puddles.
• You should have a water source nearby.
CREATING YOUR PLAN…
First, think about what kinds of plants you might like to plant. What are your favorite vegetables? What kinds of foods do you like to eat? Do you want to add in herbs and flowers? What foods taste best fresh from the garden? Will you want to store vegetable over the winter? If you grow a lot, will you want to freeze, dry or can your extra veggies?
After you have thought about this, get out some paper, measure your garden and start sketching! Think about…
• The direction of the sun. Where is south?
• Decide on bed orientation…east to west or north to south?
• Will you have raised beds or plant in rows?
• Do you practice crop rotation?
• How tall will some plants grow? Plant taller plants in the back of the garden so they don’t throw shade on the shorter plants.
• How much space does each plant need? Consult the seed packet or garden catalog.
• Do you want a theme garden? You could grow a pizza garden, a color theme garden, a fresh picked garden, an herb garden, a salad garden, or a rainbow garden. These are just a few possiblities!
HOW SOON CAN WE START PLANTING?
Beth said that we can start planting some varieties just as soon as we can work the soil easily. That might be in just a few weeks!
The earliest seeds you can plant outside are…
April 22nd! Beth always celebrates Earth Day by planting…
• More carrots
• More lettuce
WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR SEEDS?
Beth recommended the following seed companies..
• Johnny’s Selected Seeds : They have a great catalog with wonderful pictures and excellent information about growing each vegetable.
• Fedco Seeds : They are cooperative committed to offering cold-hardy varieties adapted to the northeastern growing season.
In addition, other attendees also recommended the following..
• High Mowing Seeds : An all organic seed company based in Vermont.
• Pinetree Garden Seeds : The seeds packets have a small amount of seeds but are very affordable . You can buy a little bit of a lot of different varieties.
In closing, Beth stayed later and answered many, many questions. We look forward to next month for more inspiration.Thank you Beth!
Thank you also to Ruth Smith for organizing the children’s program. It is our hope that the kids will be equally inspired to get involved in gardening with their families. The garden plans in this post were all made by the children during the children’s program. They are all beautiful! Thanks kids