2008 Garden Plan

I have been curiously unenthusiastic about gardening so far this year. Well, my own. I’ve been very interested in other people’s gardening…but somehow, I just haven’t felt like playing with garden layouts or placing my seed orders. And that’s been fine with me; it’s easier to be patient with the 8″ of snow when you aren’t chomping at the bit to get out and garden.

Well, the sap is starting to rise, and with it, I’m getting eager to get out in the garden. Today I finalized my garden plan. Note: north is to the left. This layout is what I see when I look out my kitchen window, so this orientation makes more sense to me.

2008 garden plan

All the gory details after the cut…

  • Bed 1 is brassicas this year: curly and dino kale and broccoli.
  • Bed 2 will have edible pod peas early and green beans and sweet potatoes later. The beans have two kinds of support: poles and a “bean tower” cage. Some will be green beans for fresh eating and some will be dry beans (Hidatsa shield figure).
  • Bed 3 is mostly Quinoa this year, and a couple squash will be planted at the corners and run out of the bed.
  • Bed 4 is all nightshades: 2 tomatoes, several hills of fingerling potatoes, and a few pepper plants.
  • Bed 5 is miscellaneous salad crops: carrots, beets, lettuce, leeks, and chard.
  • Bed 6 has winter wheat in it at the moment; I’ll let some of that go through the whole growing cycle, but I’ll overplant most of it with pole beans. I make the outer rows fresh green beans (planted a couple weeks apart to stagger the harvest) and the center row is dry beans (so I don’t have to get in there and harvest until the frost has knocked down the outer rows).
  • Bed 7 is grain: I’ll do a row of quinoa on the north side and fill the rest with wheat. Or maybe I’ll finally plant that Three Sisters Garden in this bed…
  • Bed 8 has asparagus and strawberries planted in it. I’m going to move most of them out to the berm this year; they’ve taken over the whole bed. After I’ve moved some strawberries, I’ll plant approximately 2.5 million onions in this bed.
  • Bed A has squash.

The beds are planted more or less by plant family to make crop rotation easier. Next year, each plant family will move to the next-higher numbered bed. So brassicas will be in bed 2, peas in bed 3, etc. Tiny Bed A rotates on its own schedule: just tomatoes, beans, and squash.

Hmm, now I just need to be sure I have all the seeds I need and, you know, actually build beds 5 & 7…



  1. Robyn M. said,

    February 24, 2008 at 6:48 pm

    Wow I’m glad to hear someone say this. I’ve got a ginormic stack of seed packets on my desk here that I just never quite seem to bother getting around to seeding… This is pathetic. I’m WAAAAAY past my sane onion window here! I guess the fact that it’s currently like -14 has something to do with it.

  2. Onestraw said,

    February 25, 2008 at 1:38 pm

    Looks great! I have had poor results thus far from my 3 Sisters plantings in the past two years. This was mostly due to bad soil not pushing the corn high enough, but last year that bean timing was off -how do you screw up beans? I found a way apparently.

    This year I plan on a 300 sq ft attempt out at one of the farms using traditional Indian stains and will be reading up on Buffalo Bird Woman’s Garden for tips and solace. I love the idea of the simple polyculture and I really wan to see it work!

    Good luck and nice rotation!

  3. Emily said,

    February 27, 2008 at 12:53 pm

    Rob – let me know if you find out optimal spacing for the Three Sisters. Do we need to add a fish to the hole for the corn?

  4. Cloud said,

    December 28, 2011 at 6:55 pm

    What did you find out? I am planning on 300SF of Three Sisters, 300SF of Potatoes, and 300SF of Grain in the backyard….

    • Emily said,

      December 28, 2011 at 7:50 pm

      I have still (3 years later) not gotten Three Sisters to really work. An 8×4 bed is far too small – you need the corn around 2′ on center, with 5-6 beans growing up it, and squash in between. But the year I tried it that way (2010), it was in fairly new manure, and the beans were pretty pathetic. What did grow was a pain to get to – walking amongst the squash vines is no picnic.

      On top of that, I’ve never harvested even one ear of corn before the critters get to it – and I’ve tried a lot of different deterrents. So I’ve decided I’ll take my three sisters in rotation – but honestly, I’ve also given up on grain in this location.

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