Plans in place

Now that most of the plants are in place, I can begin to think of the next phase of the garden with enthusiasm.  I have been really looking forward to this stage.  It is the only real gentle period in the garden aside from winter.  But winter is full of frustration as the plants to tend are few and far between and even if there were some, it is too cold and miserable to want to, so it doesn’t count.

This wee window before Christmas is the perfect time to establish routines.  To find an ebb and flow and allow it to become an established part of the rhythm of life while the garden is still young and fresh, before the weeds sneak back in and the harvest begins in earnest.  There is such a temptation at this stage to rest on my laurels and sit back and take a well-earned break to celebrate the effort to get to this point.

The beds are shaping up nicely

The beds are shaping up nicely

However, this would be foolhardy.  The garden would quickly turn from a place of proactive pleasure to reactive torturous chore.  It would become a nightmarish world where you wouldn’t know where to start first as each bed would require more effort than the previous one.  The enjoyment of the garden will be replaced with stress and anxiety.  I can’t allow that to happen to my beloved garden.

The plants are filling out to take their places

The plants are filling out to take their places

I’ve divided the garden in to five sectors.  That is one for each day of the week, with the weekends free for family time.   There are seven beds in each sector and one extra option for general maintenance and things beyond the garden itself.  It may seem like a lot, but with the attitude of little and often, most beds shouldn’t need more than a tickle all season.

Garden Sectors 2016

The map is up to date, and is in pretty colours to represent each day. I will print it out and pop it in the greenhouse so I can keep a track of what I need to do and when I need to do it!

Well that is the theory and I really hope it works.  There will be a re-doubling of efforts in the new year, but that’s what happens when there is a festive season in the middle of the growing season.  But then the garden will slip back into the ebb and flow, allowing me to take pleasure in processing the harvest instead of rushing through it before the next wave of weeding calls me away from the kitchen.

All going to plan, this will be a well organised season.  Well for the things in my control.  I can keep the weeds down, the plants fed, the edges neat and tidy and everything well-watered.  What I can’t control is the weather.  If the extraordinarily soggy start to spring and the extremely windy conditions today are anything to go by I’m not sure I can count on the illusive perfect summer, but there is always hope.

Weed free for now, but won't stay like that forever

Weed free for now, but won’t stay like that forever

I can’t control the pests and disease either.  Last year was a battle of epic proportions with blight in both my tomatoes and spuds.  The Cabbage White Butterflies were out in epic proportions last year, and as the guava moth and the Tomato and Potato Pysllid make more of a foothold as they spread across the country – it is only time before they show up in my garden to take advantage of all I have created.  But with my new sector schedule, I will be able to keep a closer eye out for the first signs and crush them before they destroy my crops.

So starting first thing Monday I shall be taking care of the beds in the blue zone: The herbs aren’t looking too bad as the last of the basil and coriander went in this weekend.  I could sow more coriander as it does tend to bolt when the weather heats up.  There is space for something else so I may take a trip to the garden centre…

Once the onions are done, the melons will be more than ready to take their place

Once the onions are done, the melons will be more than ready to take their place

Also in the blue zone is the peas – which need a weed and a bit of control as they are all over the place instead of clinging nicely to my trellis.  I’ll sort them out.  The spuds are just doing their thing and look lovely.  The foliage has filled the bed so now there is no room for weeds – but I’ll check to make sure.  The Red Currants, now they are in flower and forming wee berries could do with a feed.

There is a slight problem with the zucchini & squash, cucumbers & melons and the beans.  The beds are still …  ummm… empty but planting / tending – same thing.  The seedlings are now big enough and have been hardening off and are good to go.  The soil is now warm enough for bean seeds and I don’t mind the delay there as to be honest we don’t like beans all that much.  Although there are the broad beans – they are nearly ready to strip of all the pods and find creative ways to disguise that unique bean flavour.  Pickling works well!

Beautiful flowers

Beyond the garden I have beautiful flowers to take care of. I can’t neglect these ones – they’re at the front door!

And then there are the ‘pots’.  This is a loose label for anything in a pot that needs some love as the container plants have historically been lost in the busyness of it all and normally end up dry and crispy.  Well not this year.  But this Monday will be for the repotting of the extras to prepare them for their new lives in someone else’s garden.

That should be enough to keep me out of mischief.  I love it when a plan comes together.

Come again soon – The garden has entered a new phase.

Sarah the Gardener  : o)

 

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16 Comments on “Plans in place

  1. Sarah wat good planning and such order and organisation, a great example. I’ve enjoyed reading about your plans, I know that I will go back to Ireland some time next spring with my garden plans totally laid out too, you have inspired me, thank you.

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  2. Sarah: Love your lettuce bed! And the organization of your raised beds is awesome. Can I ask if you used an app to create the map? Thanks for sharing your garden adventures! Michael

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    • Thanks Michael. Sadly no there was no app. Maybe this is a gap in the market and someone should design one. I sat there on Sunday evening and used a MS word document with the Insert Shape function and the Text Box function and did a whole lot of copying and pasting! It is roughly to scale 1 cm equals 1 metre. I am very pleased with the results though. I looks quite cool – now I just need to get out there and do the days work!
      Cheers Sarah : o)

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  3. I can’t believe how fast your weather warms up from winter to Spring into summer, how long does your spring last.? 2-3 days?
    It’s lovely to see so much produce and energy in the garden from a cold, wet frosty UK.
    Keep it up Sarah, your keeping us in the UK sane.!

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    • It doesn’t feel that fast… this spring has been so wet and miserable. I feel like I’ve spent most of it waiting to garden.
      I’m seeing many images on the great big internet of gardens in the UK and I’m amazed how it has become so cold and gloomy so quickly! It doesn’t seem that long ago everyone was moaning how hot it was!
      Cheers Sarah : o)

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  4. Looks so good. This is my first year of trying to sow seeds. I went to my local garden suplies and asked for seed raising mix. I was told to buy zoo doo and mix in pumace. Only my squash and zucchini got to repotting stage. Is it to late to start again?

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    • Oh no. Zoo doo would have been too rich and burnt the tender seedlings. For tomatoes and peppers it is probably too late to start from seed, but for most other things like corn, beans, cucumber etc you still have time. Seed raising mix is very low in nutrients because the tiny seedlings don’t need much because all their nutrients come in the seed. As it gets growing you can transfer it into something like potting mix and some compost mixed together so it has some nutrients for the plants without being too rich and then you can plant them out into the garden. It is almost like weaning a baby – starting with milk and then moving to solids and then real people food – slowly and gently so baby gets used to it. I hope you can still have a wonderful garden.
      Cheers Sarah : o)

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  5. That map is a work of art. I’ve just read how you created it and I’m mightily impressed. Your work zones sorted by color make really good sense. You must be feeling quite accomplished, Sarah.

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