Edible Garden Planning

Edible Garden Planning

What are your hopes and dreams for your kitchen garden this year?  

Greetings gardeners and happy New Year from the Cornell Farm Kitchen Garden!

January is cold and rainy and it isn’t always fun to garden outside this time of year.  However, we can still enjoy gardening, even as we warm up by the fire indoors, by putting our kitchen garden hopes and dreams together into a garden plan for the year. Don’t worry! Garden plans are meant to guide us; they aren’t set in stone. We needn’t stress over making perfect plans; we can simply get started and update them as needed over time. 

In this post, I’ll demonstrate how we can use questions to inspire our garden planning activities. First I’ll give you some ideas on how to get started with your plan and then I’ll share the questions I am asking myself and researching as we plan our Cornell Kitchen Garden plans this year.  

How to get started making your garden plan for 2021:   

I recommend getting started by writing down a good set of questions as you begin your 2021 garden plan. Here are some example questions to help you start thinking about yours:  

Ask yourself…

  • Is there a book we can be using as a reference as we plan our kitchen garden this year? Hint:  The answer is YES! 
  • What fruits and vegetables does your family enjoy eating fresh from the garden? Hint: Make a list and invite the rest of your family to contribute to it.   
  • What recipes does your family love that call for fresh fruits and vegetables? Hint: Make a list of these and invite suggestions from family. Do you all love potatoes? When should they be planted? 
  • Will we have time to make jellies, jams and freeze fruits and veggies for use throughout the year?  Hint: If so, do some research to determine how many plants you are going to need to grow the amount of fruits and veggies you want to can and freeze. Do you have that much room in your garden?
  • How much sun do our garden beds get in the morning, at noon and in the evening before the sun sets?  Hint: Sketch a map of your garden beds and keep track of how much sun they get now. You will use these sketches to figure out plant spacing and rotations. Consider the fact that shadows from trees and buildings and plants shift as the sun moves higher in the sky until summer solstice and lower after. Of the fruits and veggies you love to eat, which plants like cool weather and which like it hot?
  • Do we have the tools we need to prepare our garden beds for planting, maintaining and harvesting our bounty? Hint: If so, are they clean and sharpened?  If you wait too long to ask this particular question, you may not have your tools ready when your garden is ready for you. 

Continue to write down your garden planning questions as they come to mind and use the following section to help guide your answers.

Recommendations to help you organize for gardening success:

  • I recommend using a book such as the Maritime Northwest Garden Guide. It includes a planning calendar for year-round organic gardening to help determine good PNW gardening practices. It is an excellent reference that will help you with the details of planning your garden. We sell it through the Cornell Farm gift shop.
  • A paper journal is helpful for sketching, and keeping notes, shopping lists and to do lists; choose something you don’t mind getting wet and dirty.
  • A portable paper calendar is super helpful for documenting what you plan to plant when and where in your garden. By putting plants with estimated harvest dates onto your calendar now, you will find it easier to plan and schedule later on.
  • Use a camera to take photographs of your garden beds throughout the year; it is always fun to share your successes with friends and family, and compare how your garden grows year after year. You could share your photos with friends and family, perhaps a contest for biggest tomato harvest, hottest peppers, most slugs captured...
Questions I am asking myself as I make the Cornell Farm Kitchen Garden
plan for 2021:
Below is a short list of the questions I am asking myself as I plan our kitchen garden this year:
        • What is the best strategy for preventing insect infestations and funguses that disfigure fruit and fruit tree leaves?  
        • Given my garden spaces and their light and heat conditions, where am I going to plant the fresh peas and green beans I love so much?  
        • What Asian vegetable seeds and starts do I want to plant this year? When should they be planted and where?  
        • What rare and unusual medicinal plants can I add to our medicinal herb demonstration garden that will attract pollinators for nearby blueberries and fruit trees?  

          Stay in Touch:

          A word to the wise: Plan early; shop early; watch our website for inventory available through online ordering and, remember we will continue to offer “pick up at store” and home delivery options... 

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          Happy Gardening from the Cornell Farm Kitchen Garden,