But since if you’re anything like me you haven’t actually started yet, let’s just do a quick 3-point lesson:
1. No garden is “no-maintenance”, so be realistic about how much time you can spend working in the garden. I’m usually reluctant to use the word “working”, because I always want people to feel like this is an enjoyable activity, not a chore. But in this case, since success is what we’re after here, I have to admit there are a few garden-related tasks that are less fun, more duty. Like weeding. It’s pretty hard to grow vegetables without incurring weeds. So what do you think? One hour per day? Two hours per week? Can you get into the garden for 15 minutes before or after an 8-hour work day?
2. We’ve already established that as a novice vegetable-gardener, you’re going to start with just 5 crops. But if some of those 5 are cool season crops, they’ll stop growing early to mid summer, so in the same location, and for no extra work, you can substitute a 6th crop. Say you started with radishes in one 3’x3′ space. By mid June they will pretty much give up trying, so why not sow beans now in that space? Better yet, if you knew beforehand that by mid-June your radishes would be exhausted, at the end of May you could have started beans indoors and have transplants ready to go into that spot. (That’s what calendars are for!)
3. Another thing–mentioned yesterday–is to only sow a portion of your patch at a time, then sow a few more next week and a few more the following week. That way the crop will mature over an extended time instead of all at once. Now having said that, some crops that are slow to put on growth in the cooler weather will be faster when it warms up a bit, so the later-sown ones may actually catch up the the earlier-sown ones. No problem, you’re still getting vegetables on your plate.
Tomorrow’s subject: draw it all out.