I would be mighty disappointed to find only two peas in a pod. Thankfully it is not ever the case. So let’s plant snow and snap peas. Sweet shelling peas are planted
later in the season with the beans. Yes, it could still snow, yes it will probably hail a few more times. What ever! The worst that can happen is that we’ll need to replant.
When planning a veggie garden, here are my concerns:
- Where is the sun and where will it move during the day?
- What are the sun needs of my vegetables?
- When the plant reaches its height, will it shade others?
- Where can I plant my perennial vegetables as to not shade the annuals or tranform my vegetable patch into an obstacle course?
- How can I keep the cats from using the soft cultivated new bed as their private toilet?
- How to keep the dog out!
Having a multi-hose-faucet permits you to have at least four hoses hooked up. I use a 100′ hose to clean up, fill watering cans, hose-down the dog, and give out-of-the way plants extra water. It stays coiled close to the faucet. I do not recommend buying commercial hoses which are heavy and very difficult to maneuver. Make sure that the area around the faucet is covered with stepping stones, a good amount of straw, or gravel to keep from walking in a muddy puddle every time you go to the spigot. The other hoses attached to the multi-hose-faucet go to central points in the garden and bring water where I need it.
Quick release connectors are attached to the end of hoses and permit me to switch sprayers, wands etc., very quickly without screwing and unscrewing every time.
The hoses are kept in place with garden staples up to the last 3′ (to give me flexibility). Be very patient and gentle when unfurling your new hose; once it kinks it has a permanent fold and that’s a pain. I find it much easier to enroll a second person or child to hold on to a section of hose while I untwist and staple it in the ground.
Build your vegetable beds close together because you will visit those plants a lot during the growing season.
If you have dogs you will need to put a barrier to keep your companion out––another good reason to have the vegetables beds close together. There are many different fencing possibilities.
Cattle fencing is a bit more expensive than simple chicken wire but it will last forever, and you can have heavy vines growing on it–like pumpkins, or kiwis. Wire fencing will let the light in and keep shadows to a minimum. Take a trip to a large farm store (vs. one of the many urban stores that do not have cattle fencing!). They come in various heights. The gate should be wide enough for a garden cart, or if you are planning on a multi-family garden, big enough to have a pickup truck unload compost etc. Gates can be a bit tricky to install, and I get that part done by a pro.
Fences can be as easy as a few bamboo poles and a gate that you lift to let yourself in and out. You can also buy ready-made light wire fencing. Fred Meyers and Home Depot have them as tall as 3 feet, which should keep your dog out.
Keeping the cat out of a newly seeded bed is very easy. Just cover the soil with chicken wire. Cats do not like to walk on wires. Motion activated sprinklers are the most effective method to keep all critters out of an area. Once they go elsewhere, they probably will keep going elsewhere, and as the vegetables grow it won’t look like a cat-box anymore.
- Tall crops like peas, beans, corn on the North end
- Medium crops like broccoli, tomatoes in the center
- Small crops like lettuce radish carrots on the South end
I said “the simple way” because dividing vegetables by size for their needs is simplistic but I want you to have at least one 5×3 bed going this year. 1 x (Sungold cherry tomato + 3 cucumber plants grown up on a trellis + 1 mix lettuce seed pack + 1 seed pack of radishes) = fresh salad for your meals!
See you out back…
Tip of the day: Buy and read read read the 6th edition of Growing Vegetables West of the Cascade by Steve Solomon. It is important that you get the 6th edition because Steve changed his approach to feeding the soil. I loved him as a teacher, and still follow his instructions.