Monday, November 20, 2006

Planning for succession

How do you organise your seeds and how do you decide what to plant when.

I have made a list of the fruit and vegetables I would want to grow next year, each year I grow the ones I have been successful with, if I had a bad year, like cabbages for the moment, I will give it another chance and if it does not work will give it a 2 year break which should in principle get rid of any pests that are a problem. If you have a new garden you may not be aware of what grows well and what not but each year can only be improved upon.

I have made a spreadsheet with the amounts needed, planting times, when I expect a harvest and the amount of space needed to provide a crop and this has been transplanted on a general design plan of my garden. I grow things in tubs and raised beds so that it gives me some flexibility whilst at the same time keeping a 4 year crop rotation system going at the same time.

I bought a folder which has 12 compartments, one for each month, but you could also use 12 small envelopes in a shoebox, whatever works best for you or is at hand. It is important to make that box waterproof as usually it gets splashed a bit in the greenhouse. I have 2 sections, one for flowers and one for vegetables and then at the beginning of each month, I should find the seed packets for what i want to plant and can check it on my large plan. The garden blueprint has been laminated and is displayed for easy reference.

For succession sewing, I just move the seed envelope to the appropriate month. When I collect seeds from the plants at the end of the season, I label them and put them in the appropriate month.

This is a system that works for me. I also have a gardening diary and produce diary which informs me what to do when and how it worked out so I can monitor how to make the best of things.

I am sure these things were done for generation upon generation but I do not rely always on what the garden centre offers as advice. By using heirloom seeds, I should be able to collect and continue season after season without having to purchase seeds on a regular basis and hence reduce the costs of gardening. Of course I do buy some seeds each year, lettuce varieties being one and seed potatoes but the beans and peas for sure are easy to collect.


1 comment:

lizzie said...

I learned to start everything from seed from The New Seed Starters Handbook by Nancy Bubel. You dont need expensive grow lights - cheap fluorecents are great, but you do need a warming mat (inexpensive)- everything else you can make do with. I do keep my seeds in the freezer though. I am hoping to get a community plot this year too as it is only a short bike ride away. ( I love Seeds of Change too.)