It is springtime. You are excited about your first heirloom garden. But how to you begin? I simply lay out a plan. Decide what I want to grow. Does your family like/eat green beans? tomatoes? carrots? onions?, etc, etc. How much do they like them? Every garden is an experiment, but these are expeiments that never fail. If I have too much, I give some away. If I could use more, I plant to grow more next year. There are no failures; only learning. This is just a starter article. I will write more about the actual planning.
Here are some general guidlines for a family of four:
Beans– plant 15-25 feet of row.
Beets–plant 10-15 feet of row.
Brussel sprouts, cabbage–plant 10-15 plants each.
Carrots–plant 20-30 feet
Corn–plant 20-30 feet.
Lettuce–plant a row10-15 feet long
Peas–plant 30-40 feet of row.
Pumpkins/squash–1-3 hills each
Spinach–10-20 feet of row
potatoes–25 feet of row
melons–4 hills each
These are simply guidelines. If you want to freeze or can some beans, plant 2-3 times as much. If you want to can tomatoes, or anything you make with tomatoes, plant twice as much. If this is your first garden, you will buy less in the grocery store and you will learn how easy gardening can be. We helped a neighbor to learn to garden. She was overjoyed with the fresh vegetables, but also with the frozen corn, and canned beans. Try something new every summer. Use open-pollinated seeds. Heirloom are all open-pollinated.
This year, I am going to plant rutabagas and parsnips and turnips. I want to have fresh heirloom vegetables available in late fall and winter also. It is March and we still have a few leeks in the garden. Each year I learn more. My carrots never grow very well, so I am going to put them in a completely different section of the garden.
Two years ago, I had my best tomato crop ever! After we had made spaghetti sauce, and pizza sauce and tomato sauce and tomato soup and salsa, and plain canned tomatoes, I still had enough to give to others. I had so much, in fact, that others were also able to can a bunch of tomatoes. We never buy tomato anything. We put it all up ourselves.
Don’t be afraid. If you plant, you will harvest. If you don’t plant, I can guarantee, you will not harvest.