Surprisingly — or not — garden planning has become more important the smaller my garden gets. When I started out with the first plot of my very own back some (garbled) years ago, I had plenty of room. It was easy to plot crop rotations year to year and find space for vegetables I’d never tried before. Sure, I’d pour over the seed catalogs, then order too much. I’d draw up a plan that I often deviated from when I actually put my garden in. Because the entire, quarter-acre space was in full sunlight when the sun indeed shone there in the rainy Pacific Northwest, I didn’t have to worry about plants to grow in shaded parts of the garden (except for that spot just north of the Jerusaleum artichoke patch). But I did have to worry about selecting vegetables that grew well in cool, cloudy locations, pretty much the same thing.
I often tried to raise vegetables that weren’t really suited to my growing conditions. Catalog descriptions made those wonderful plants so desirable! But after a few years I’d learned my lesson. With the help of local, experienced gardeners, I found the types of corn that would (mostly) make it to harvest despite the conditions, tomatoes that would set fruit if not ripen up, and winter squash in enough of a hurry that we’d harvest fruit late in the season. (more…)