Monday, February 9, 2009

Anticipation and Planning

I put in my seed orders back in January. My Territorial order arrived promptly, but I'm still waiting on the bulk of my order, which is from Fedco. I think that they may be holding on to my whole order until a couple of backordered things come in. I thought that they'd send out all but the backordered items, but I guess not.

It's still too cold to plant anyway, and will be until March. Even then, the only things going in the ground will be the more cold-hardy stuff like spinach, peas and lettuce. I used to plant my peas in February, but realized that they do just fine, if not better, if planted in March. But for now, the sun is out, and there is a light dusting of snow on the ground - planning days, to be sure.

What? Still planning? Yes. Last night I decided that after all the mapping out I've done, I'm not going to plant potatoes this year. The voles are just too plentiful, and since potatoes seem to be their favorite food, I'm not going to help them out by providing for them. Hopefully over the course of the year their numbers will dwindle to the point that it'll make growing potatoes worthwhile again. Until then I have a whole lot of space to fill.

I brought home The Complete Kitchen Garden by Patrick Bowe from the library this weekend. In it, he claims that 100-150 square feet will be large enough for salads and tomatoes for a four-person family, 200-250 square feet will add beans, onions and fruit, 600 square feet is a "full-sized domestic kitchen garden," and not until your garden is 800 square feet should you look at planting potatoes. I have 400 square feet of vegetable beds, 64 sq ft of strawberries, and about 240 square feet of herb garden. So I guess I don't quite make the 800 square foot limit for potatoes anyway.

Those numbers seem rather small to me, though. I think Steve Solomon said his garden was 3,000 square feet for 3 people, not including row crops, and Rosemary Verey's potager was over 5,000 square feet. I often see the question online "How big does a garden need to be to feed X number of people?" Obviously, geographical situation, fertility and gardener experience will affect the size of a garden, but how about a ballpark estimate? No one wants to give one. This is the best I've been able to find.

More cold and wet is forecast for the week, so it's time to snuggle around the fire with a cup of tea, my plans, and an eraser.

No comments: