Creating the Dream Vegetable Garden
If you are a gardener there is no doubt that you have thought about what your dream vegetable garden would look like that you would love to have on your homestead. On this week’s episode, Travis is explaining what his dream garden would like and how he plans to lay it out. Travis has had an area on his homestead that was around 12 rows of planted pines and he plans to change this area into a productive dream vegetable garden. The first step in this process was removing all the pines so he could pile them up and create a burn pile. Once the pine trees are cleaned up, he will take the tractor with a chisel plow and harrow to get the area leveled out, the grass chopped up, and the soil cultivated. This will allow the soil to more workable when it comes to planting in the Spring. The area he is working in is around 125 foot wide by 70 foot long and the first step to laying out the garden is to square off the rectangular spot. To make sure all the sides were even, he figured out what the hypotenuse or diagonal was and ran a string exactly that length to make sure he has right angles on all four sides of the area.
Designing and Layout
Once the area is laid off and squared it is time to divide it off into subplots to provide better crop rotation and manageability. When gardening the entire area in long rows it will end up being harder and you’re restricted when it comes to rotating crops which is very important in having a successful productive garden. However, when incorporating subplots it allows you to work in one desired subplot each day and control the weeds a little bit better in the garden area. Travis took his area and divided it into six subplots that are all 30 by 35 in size which is almost square. He recommends square plots because for planting crops like corn it is better for pollination purposes. Another benefit of subplots is they offer you to plant individual families of vegetables in each plot and rotate those around so, in the long run, you avoid pest and disease problems. In between each subplot, there are walkways that are 10 feet wide to ensure Travis has plenty of room to move his mule around the garden when it comes time to harvest. When the subplots are all laid out, then he can start mapping out what he will plant in each of the individual plots. Travis prefers to map out the garden by sketching it out on a piece of paper in order to have a complete design plan laid out for reference. In this garden plot, he plans to plant potatoes, summer squash and cucumbers, peppers and eggplants, tomatoes, sweet corn, and winter squash in different subplots. Before planting all of these crops Travis plans to till the ground at least one or two more times to ensure he gets good workable soil before the growing season.