Starting a veggie garden has been a goal of ours for ages, and with the cabin pretty much finished the time is now! Spring of 2021 is launch!
For the past several months I’ve spent countless hours researching: what practices do we want to use? How does companion planting work? How should we protect from predators? And on and on. I’ve purchased many books, watched lots of YouTube videos, learned from homesteaders I follow on Instagram, asked for tips from our neighbors and read blogs & magazine/newspaper articles. My final plans were created with the Old Farmer’s Almanac planner tool after I kept losing the pieces of paper I wrote each plant on and arranged on the table.
In the hopes of inspiring and helping others in their veggie garden plans, I’m going to give a high level overview of what we’ve landed on along with embedding the Excel worksheet I created to track my work. I’ve also embedded a blank copy for you to use should you so desire. The final garden plan for Spring 2021 is embedded as well.
I’ve also posted a YouTube video of these plans if you’d rather watch than read (or want to do both!). I’ll be posting more videos with complimentary blog posts so you can learn more specifics about which plants we’re companioning with each other and how it’s been successful or not so much. I’ll also share info on how we’re deterring predators, preserving our yields and more.
You may not believe that I’ll posting because I haven’t been very regular lately but I’m really going to try!
So, let’s start with one key practice we’re including in our garden – companion planting! What is it? It’s the practice of planting specific plants near others to either enhance their yield or protect one another from pests or disease. The main example everyone gives is the Three Sisters (which we’ll be using in our garden). And since you can find that in literally every blog post about companion planting, I’m going to set it aside here. Instead, here’s a quick rundown of some of our other chosen companions.
With the large variety of veggies we’re planting, I had a very difficult time building our plan. Companion planting is important but inversely, knowing which plants dislike each other and shouldn’t be near one another is important to consider as well. Keeping veggies that like each other together while ensuring that they weren’t near others was no easy task with 18 different vegetables!
I think of companion and “dislike” planting as a logic puzzle (which is no fun).
Plant A loves B and C, but B hates C.
Plant D loves E and F but F isn’t that fond of D.
See the struggle?
Tomatoes are a great veggie for many others, and was something I wanted to plant in about 5 different places. We landed on having it closest to asparagus, bell peppers, pumpkin, onion and carrot. They are a little closer to some of our potatoes that I’d ideally have them, but as I said above, companion planting is a tricky business!
Tomato benefits asparagus as they protect it against the asparagus beetle. Bell peppers also benefit from tomatoes as the tomatoes keep nematodes out of the soil. Tomato and carrot do well near one another as the lower-growing carrot will enjoy the cooler soil under the shade of the taller tomato and provide mulch for the tomato plant. The pungent odor of onions has been shown to deter pests from other plants, including tomatoes. The pumpkins and tomatoes aren’t particularly good for each other nor are they enemies; I just needed a decently-sized space for the pumpkins and this fit the bill.
We’ve also planted carrot near peas, with peas being near potatoes, cucumbers and turnips. Potatoes are also near garlic, lettuce, kale and broccoli.
Our full plant list is as follows:
- Asparagus (Jersey Giant)
- Bush Beans (Contender and Blue Lake FMI)
- Broccoli (Green Magic)
- Carrot (Tendersweet and Rainbow Blend)
- Corn (Allure)
- Cucumber (Northern Pickling)
- Garlic (Chesnok Red Hardneck)
- Kale (Russian Red)
- Onion (Patterson)
- Peas (Sugar Snap)
- Peppers (Bellboy and Rainbow Mix)
- Potato (Red Chieftain and Yukon Gem)
- Pumpkin (Jack O’Lantern)
- Spinach (Renegade Hybrid)
- Tomato (Roma Plum, Beefmaster, Husky Red Cherry)
- Turnip (Purple Top White Globe)
- Zucchini (Casaerta)
- Mushrooms – Wine Cap/Garden Giant
Below are all the documents I promised to share with you up top. If you’re a companion planter, please share your tips and tricks! I’m sure our garden will evolve over time as we discover more about what works well and what doesn’t but I am so happy to have our first pass planned out!
Future posts will include info on succession planting, why we’re including mushrooms in our garden, utilizing a no-till garden practice and more!
Watch our companion YouTube video and check out all our other goings-on in the link below.