Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Garden Planning

I put us on the waitlist for a community garden this year instead of doing a CSA share.  Hopefully we'll get a plot nearby, but then the question is - what do we plant?

The garden plot is organic, but I'm not sure if that means using organic seeds or just no pesticides or Miracle-gro or things like that.  I'll assume organic seeds.  I'm also not sure if there is any way of keeping squirrels out of the plots, as we have been having quite a time with that in our apartment, but hypothetically, let's say we can.

So then the question is: what do we grow?

But I know that we want to grow tomatoes, both cherry and roma, and peppers - red and yellow and green bell peppers.  I would like to grow cucumbers because they are easy and don't take up a ton of space, and I think something prolific and delicious, like yellow squash or zucchini. Then there are the requisite dark leafy greens like spinach, arugula, and kale.  I'm tempted by some kind of green bean or broccoli.  But I don't know how anything but tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and zucchini grow.  I know zucchini will ruin your life and take over your garden, but it yellow squash as bad?  Herbs we will continue to grow in our aerogarden and our window box, since that has worked out pretty well for us (minus the squirrels). 

There are some other tricky details about taking part in a community garden - for example, how often do we have to go tend it?  Daily?  Every other day?  This website recommends 3-5 hours a week, which seems pretty manageable.  Do we need to bring our own gardening supplies?  (Only hoses, wheelbarrows, and wood chips/manure are provided.)  Do you have a community or container or square foot garden? Any resources you recommend?  Should I attempt to grow squash or not? 


  1. This is very timely as I'm about to attempt to start my first garden too. Sadly, that means I'm no help but I'll be interested in hearing about your progress!

  2. I would assume you would have to bring your own tools, but I have never participated in a community garden. Make sure you wash your tools after using them, especially if you are going to be using them in a couple different locations. You do not want to transmit any pest from home to the community garden or vice versa.

    You need to think about when during the growing season your crops will grow best and plan around that. For example, greens and peas tend to do best in spring and the fall when the weather is cooler. You can start with a vareity of greens and switch to other plants when the greens are done or you are done with the greens. You might want to either use starter plants for tomatoes and peppers and squash or start seeds indoors so they are ready at the appropriate time.

    I recently got the square foot gardening book, but I have not had a chance to read it yet so I cannot recommend it. I get lots of seed catalogs if you ever want to look through them. You can get more interesting varieties than available at Home Depot for example.

    1. Good point about washing tools! We're only 10 blocks from the garden, so I'm not that worried about invasive species but viruses, etc. are probably something to be concerned about.

      I hadn't thought at all about crops being "done" and then you can plant other things. I would definitely be using starter plants, at least the first year, since I'm lousy at growing things from seeds.