This post is about how we plan our BIG garden on graph paper. We share this garden with four families, and we all work on it together. I have so much that I could tell you guys, but I am going to try and limit this post to how we actually put our plants on the graph paper.
This garden has 10 rows that are 150-200 feet long. Each row is 4 feet wide.
How We Plan Our Garden On Graph Paper:
1. We use graph paper to plan out our garden. Each square of the garden represents 2 square feet. So each row is 2 blocks wide. We have a path between each row that we show by coloring one row of the graph paper black.
2. The way that we planned the garden this year was to come up with a wish list first. We colored and labeled blocks on a separate piece of graph paper. We then cut out each colored section of plants. Each colored and labeled section of block represented the number of plants that we wished we could plant if we had enough room. We went through all of our seeds, and decided how many of each that we wanted as plants, and colored the sections of blocks accordingly.
3. We were able to take our colored blocks and move them around on the master garden graph. The reason that we really like this method, is you need to consider so many factors when you are planning a garden, it is difficult to consider all the plants at the same time. When we used to write out where the plants go on the master garden graph, we would be erasing, and it would take a LONG time. It is so easy to move the sections of plants around using this method.
4. Next, we looked at the previous years garden plan, and made sure to rotate the plants.
5. Since we save our seeds, we also have to be careful that different plants were far enough apart that they would not cross pollinate. For instance, our squash plants need to be separated, we don’t want yellow zucchini. We grow hot peppers and bell peppers. We don’t want hot bell peppers, so there has to be a good distance between them.
6. We also mark certain plants in the garden to save the biggest and best produce for seeds. This year we marked those plants in blue. Anytime there are large produce, with mature seeds from these plants, we will save those seeds for the next year.
7. We look at companion plants, and try to plant certain plants together. We make sure that corn is planted in a square. As I go through each of the seeds that we are planting in different posts, I will tell you specifically what we look at for each specific plant.
8. Once we are sure our garden plan is complete, we will laminate the graph paper. We need this plan to last all year, and we need to refer to it in future years, so we need it to stay nice. Plus, you never know when it will start raining outside, and you don’t want your hard work ruined.
A couple of notes about the pictures:
1. I tried to write some of the plants in a Sharpie marker so that you guys can read them, but some squares were too small. Hopefully these pictures will give you an idea of how we plan our garden.
2. We couldn’t show all of the graph in 2 pictures, and it is all one sheet taped together. It looks like one graph is smaller, but it is just the way the picture was taken.
3. Pluma green beans are actually seeds that my Great Grandmother gave us years ago. We have no idea what kind of green bean they are, but they are by far our family’s favorite green bean. We just keep saving the seeds each year. So if you are trying to get some of the same seeds that we are using, you won’t find those anywhere. I wish I had enough to share with all of you. They are absolutely delicious!!
How do you guys plan out your gardens? I can always use new ideas.
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