The planting schedule was easy. Many years ago we created a system of planting cards based on years of diary keeping at Allsun Farm. It is conservative but hey that means it works and will certainly work at Milkwood.
These cards not only act as a run sheet they also end up being a garden diary and yes computers and spread sheets are wonderful but when you are in the garden doing stuff with dirty hands then a bunch of hard copy printed cards are just amazing. You can download your own blank printable copy by clicking here.
You then have to work out just what you want to plant and in the case of a garden that is going to supply the needs of the Milkwood kitchen then this is a lot of different vegetables and fruit. Eliot Coleman in his wonderful book ‘The New Organic Grower’ taught us just how to plan a diverse, productive, healthy vegetable production system and I would really recommend his chapter on rotations. Very few people actually tackle the rotation game that he describes but we have done it many times and are now pretty confident about the process. In order to kick start the garden at Milkwood we have done the planning while Stephen the new trainee is away at the snow. What we want is to present him and Kirsten & Nick with a ‘fait accompli’. Maybe not the final solution to vegetable growing at Milkwood but certainly a good first stab at the iterative process that will gradually become the Milkwood garden plan.
After determining the timeing you then need a bed plan. The plan for the market garden was done as a spread sheet (lots of modular beds all the same size). What we didn’t have was a plan for the kitchen garden. I made do with some notes and photos that I took when we first visited the site so the following plan includes a bit of poetic license!
Then it was a lot of coloured systems filing cards, a big table, paper, paper clips and pens voilà . . .
Time now for a night off. When you push yourself to do this kind of planning and finally come up with a plan of what to plant, where and exactly how much, you remove a huge, stressful, uncertainty factor and can then get on with growing stuff.
The baby pak choi that Stephen planted only 6 days ago are now germinating – hurray!
Questions for Kirsten & Nick from Joyce
- Can you please post the size of the fenced area?
- Have the pigs arrived to plough up the proposed vegetable area?
- Please post some pictures when they are happily working the ground.