The 2013 Garden Plan.  There is a full size picture at the bottom of the post
The 2013 Garden Plan. There is a full size picture at the bottom of the post

There is nothing quite like planning the garden to make you ready for spring to hurry up and get here!  So this past week, as we watched December’s snow melt and some warmer than average temperatures tease us – Mary and I put the finishing touches on our 2013 garden plan.

Many old standby’s remain in this year’s plan. A healthy planting of Roma (24 ea.) and Celebrity (8 ea.) tomato plants that are the staples for our pasta and pizza sauce, salsa and ketchup that we make and can.   Also back:  hot banana, jalapeno, cayenne and Cajun Belle peppers that we use in our hot pepper grinds, powders, and of course Mary’s famous hot pepper mustard.

New editions to the garden this year will be rows of head lettuce and cabbage, the multi-colored sweet mini peppers that are becoming popular, and a small row of popcorn.

The Italian Roaster. These peppers turn to a beautiful red late in the season and are amazing on the grill!
The Italian Roaster. These peppers turn to a beautiful red late in the season and are amazing on the grill!
The tomatoes and peppers that filled the upper garden area will now get rotated to the bottom half
The tomatoes and peppers that filled the upper garden area will now get rotated to the bottom half
The Roma Tomato will continue to be a big staple in our garden.  It is the perfect tomato for sauces and salsa
The Roma Tomato will continue to be a big staple in our garden. It is the perfect tomato for sauces and salsa
The deer have found the winter rye we planted in the fall as as cover crop to their liking.   Hence the fence you see in the background will now go all around the garden this year! :)
The deer have found the winter rye we planted in the fall as as cover crop to their liking. Hence the fence you see in the background will now go all around the garden this year! 🙂

We always leave  a row empty for trying new plants we might find at a nursery or greenhouse. It seems like we are always coming home with at least one unplanned plant at every stop! It is, after all, how we stumbled upon the Cajun Belle a few years back, an amazing appetizer and salsa pepper. And last year it led to finding the Italian Roaster, a great tasting and grilling pepper. They both have become two of our recent favorites. If we can get our hands on a ghost pepper this year (one of the hottest peppers in the world) – we will definitely plant one – but then that just makes for some tense moments this fall when we have to try it!

As we do each year, we rotate the garden rows to use new areas for last year’s plantings. Our peppers and  tomatoes will move from the top rows down to the bottom section of raised beds, and our greens, potatoes and beans to the top.  In addition to rotating the sections – we also flip the rows from where we planted them the last time they were in these beds – so it becomes 4 years before the same plant goes into the same space.

We will also be changing how we plant our cucumbers and zucchini this year – using the straw bale method. We will fill the two rows used to grow them with a line of straw bales. Then, we will dig out (3), 12″ deep and 12″ diameter circles in each bale and fill them with a rich topsoil/compost soil mix to plant the zucchini and cucumbers in. The plants can then grow above and off the ground, with the straw helping to hold their moisture in.  The bales also provide a cascading support for the vines and hopefully, lots and lots of cucumbers and zucchini.

One new edition will be the installation of the 5′ post and board fence all around the garden.  Up until this year, we only had the fence along the front – more as a decoration than anything. But the deer have found our garden to their liking over the winter. Moreover, I think it might be the lush green cover crop of winter rye that they found under the snow that they love! Deer have never really bothered the garden too much in the past, but we figure fencing it will keep it that way!

Although we didn't quite get it finished before winter hit - we will hopefully have the silo up and installed by the compost bins in the garden.  The silo will hold tons of shredded leaves to use throughout the year in the garden and compost bins
Although we didn’t quite get it finished before winter hit – we will hopefully have the silo up and installed by the compost bins in the garden. The silo will hold tons of shredded leaves to use throughout the year in the garden and compost bins

When completed, we will also have the garden silo.  It will hold tons of shredded leaves collected from last fall to use as mulch on garden plants and rows – and to add organic material to compost batches throughout the season.  Along side of the silo will be the double compost bin and one of our 275 rain water collection tanks.  The tank holds enough rainwater to water the garden for 20 days, and is filled from our rain collection tanks from the barn roof.

No matter what happens, one thing is for sure – we will have fun with the whole gardening process!

Happy gardening!   – Jim and Mary

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The 2013 Garden Plan.  There is a full size picture at the bottom of the post
The 2013 Garden Plan

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0 thoughts on “The Garden Plan For 2013

  • September 15, 2014 at 11:30 am
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    If you build your fence the same height as the back one, Deer will jump over it. They jump over our wire fence about 5 ft. high just by standing next to it. I’ve seen them do it. You may think of going a little higher. Good luck to you. Thanks for the garden tips.

    Reply
  • October 8, 2013 at 10:40 am
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    Would LOVE to see your garden plan for 2014 as soon as available!

    Reply
  • March 2, 2013 at 12:00 pm
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    Like your silo… great way to hoard leaves while saving space! Your Nice plan has motivated me. :-). Apart from my five 15 sq ft raised beds I sneak a lot of veggies into my ‘no grass’ front yard. Lotsa result from the lemon cukes there last year and I think I’ll do all my tomatoes and peppers in front this year. Really enjoy gardening vicariously at your place! Thanks for having me! 😉

    Reply
  • March 2, 2013 at 9:42 am
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    I never stick to my plans lol. I never draw them out because it’s pointless, I change my mind on a whim.
    Only yesterday I was dividing perennials and plnting them haphazardly where I thought they’d look good, come summer I’m gonna be embarrassed by the display lol.
    But I do envy people who can do what you guys are doing. Keep up the good work and the fabulous blog 🙂

    Linda

    Reply
  • January 29, 2013 at 11:36 pm
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    What kind of straw do you use in your garden?

    Reply
    • January 30, 2013 at 5:20 am
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      Michele – we use whatever available Ohio straw that we can find for the garden that is usually made from wheat or oat stems.

      Reply
  • January 23, 2013 at 10:28 am
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    Hi Jim. What are the dimensions of your rows? Thanks.

    Reply
    • January 23, 2013 at 10:42 am
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      Hi Marcia – Our rows are about 18” long and 18 to 24″ wide. And we have 17 rows in each level with four feet that separates the two levels, for a total of 34 growing rows. -Jim

      Reply
  • January 15, 2013 at 3:15 pm
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    I was wondering when you start your seeds. Our friends father works part time for a nursery and he said he plants seeds for them starting sometime in January or at the latest Feb. It seems in order for the plants to be the size you find them in the stores you would have to plant them much earlier than 6-8 weeks prior to planting them outdoors. We usually plant outside sometime in May depending upon the weather, but have planted as late as Memorial and sometimes first week in June with fabulous results. We are in SE Wisconsin…so probably not much different than your climate. Love your website, ideas, work completed…well just everything.

    Reply
    • January 15, 2013 at 3:22 pm
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      Hi Julie….we start our tomato plants about 8 weeks before we plant – and we try to plant them in the ground around the 15th of May. For us, starting around March 1st is about perfect. They are a nice size to transplant (maybe not quite as big as greenhouse plants) when they are around 6″ tall. We have found that as soon as they go in the ground -they grow and catch up within a few weeks of any we have ever taken home from a nursery. I hope that helps…and thanks so much for the compliments about the website – and for following along with us! Jim

      Reply
  • January 14, 2013 at 6:39 pm
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    If you intend to keep out the deer, you will need a high fence for they can jump a five foot flat footed with ease. I enjoy your e-mails very much.

    Reply
    • January 14, 2013 at 7:16 pm
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      Thanks Lowell – we are glad to have you as a follower of the blog. I am afraid of the same thing with the fence…we are going to see what happens in the spring, and if need be – use a wire with horse tape another few feet higher around the fence to keep them out. We have heard that if we take that another 3′ up to 8′ that it should work. Hopefully, they leave it alone like they have in the past and it wont be a concern 🙂

      Reply
      • January 14, 2013 at 8:12 pm
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        This is a good thread with some ideas for deer deterrents: http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/load/organic/msg120108257989.html — we have a 6′ fence around our garden but I am going to try the VHS tape and old CDs to add to the deterrents because the deer have been visiting this winter. We don’t watch VHS anymore and we have plenty of scratched CDs so we are using materials we would normally throw away!! I surely don’t want to rip out the fence we have and build a new one if we don’t have to! Also, thanks for the answer on the bush beans.

        Reply
  • January 14, 2013 at 4:21 pm
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    You have a remarkable setup that saves many steps. We are still in the planning stages. Your post is inspiring me to quit procrastinating & get busy or planting will be here before I’m ready.

    Reply
    • January 14, 2013 at 7:17 pm
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      Its amazing how quickly January turn into April and May and time to plant 🙂 Good luck on your garden this year!

      Reply
  • January 14, 2013 at 10:47 am
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    Just wondering what garden planning software you use?

    Reply
    • January 14, 2013 at 7:20 pm
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      We used to lay it out on paper, but the last few years I have just used a graphics paint program I have to make it a little neater. It seemed like my writing and my hand notes could never be read the next year – even by me 🙂

      Reply
      • April 17, 2013 at 3:11 pm
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        Could you be a little more specific on which graphics program you use? I have tried on my computer (Excel) to graph my garden, but it is difficult and doesn’t turn out as nicely as yours. I’d like something better.

        Reply
  • January 14, 2013 at 7:01 am
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    I love your garden plan! I’ve been working on mine over the weekend although it isn’t complete yet.

    Reply
  • January 13, 2013 at 7:22 pm
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    Hi all I love the idea of straw bales that you are going to plant, is there anything I need to know to try this myself? I read that you were going 12 inches deep and 12 each circle. I hope to try a couple of the bales.

    Cheers Linda

    On Sun, Jan 13, 2013 at 5:15 AM, The Farm Old World Garden Farms wrote:

    > ** > oldworldgarden posted: “[caption id="attachment_6908" > align="alignright" width="243"] The 2013 Garden Plan. There is a full size > picture at the bottom of the post[/caption] There is nothing quite like > planning the garden to make you ready for spring to hurry up and get here! > “

    Reply
    • January 13, 2013 at 10:25 pm
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      Hi Linda! It’s actually a pretty easy method – and yes – we dig holes into the straw about 8 to 12 around and 12″ deep and just fill with good soil. The straw really helps keep in the moisture. You will have to let us know how it goes! Jim and Mary

      Reply
  • January 13, 2013 at 5:50 pm
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    I have heard of the straw bale method before and I was planning on trying it as well for my squash.. I look forward to comparing notes in the summer! Meanwhile, where you have shown a double row of bush beans can you tell me how you keep them neat and tidy? Last year one plant took up a 2’x2′ space but you’re planning only an 18″ row with double plants? Thanks!

    Reply
    • January 13, 2013 at 10:22 pm
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      SarahB – We plant a double row with the two furrows toward the middle. This helps keep the weeds down with the solid growth – and lets the plants fill the full length of the rows. They do come out into the row a touch – but for the most part they stay tidy.

      Reply
  • January 13, 2013 at 4:06 pm
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    Just a FYI that happen to me. I planted a row of squash (yellow squash) and a row of cucumbers next to each other and they cross pollinated and both were ruined!! Yikes they were like gourds!! From that point on I alway plant them as opposites ends. Good luck.

    Reply
    • January 13, 2013 at 10:23 pm
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      Wow – that is interesting – I have heard of that – but in the past few years we have been very fortunate not to have that happen. Thanks so much for the tip!

      Reply
  • January 13, 2013 at 12:57 pm
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    Love the idea of using the straw bales for planting! This will be my first “proper” try at veggie gardening and that’s an idea I will employ!

    Reply

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