Planting Groups

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laying out the fence

We spent some time last weekend laying out the fence line. We measured fence, counted corner posts, t-post, and supports, and we decided where to place gates and what sizes they will be. Our plans are to start planting posts in January. The fenced area will include enough space for four equal-sized plots for growing seasonal crops; the apple, blueberry, plum and muscadine orchards; a storage shed/barn and various work areas; herbs; a composting area; two fig trees; a medium shade tree; comfrey beds; and many smaller planting areas for sunflowers and wild flowers and such.

Of the four equal-sized plots, one will be fallow every year. The Planting Groups for Plot #1 includes a fallow spring, summer, and fall. Plot #2 includes spring plantings of both garlic and onion; summer plantings of squash, zucchini, cucumber, melons, pumpkins, and dill; and a fall planting of field peas and cabbage. Plot #3 includes planting sweet Italian Basil early in spring; planting tomatoes, hot & sweet peppers, eggplant, and marigolds in summer; and a fall application of lime followed by a broadcast of buckwheat. Plot #4 will be planted with baby lettuce, sugar peas, and radish in spring; beans, field peas, and okra in summer; and turnips, collard greens, and radish in fall. Each Planting Groups rotates to a different plot each year.

Rye and hairy vetch will be broadcast between and around plots and throughout orchards each fall to be mowed in spring and left for mulch. Crimson Clover will be broadcast between rows within the plots each fall and under fruit trees. Compost will be added to plots in the spring and, hopefully, worm castings will be ready to add then too.

Now we’re studying crop varieties. We plan to grow 35+ vegetables and herbs in 2015 along with blueberries and maybe a few strawberries. Apples and pecans are still too young to produce. A few heirloom veggies we’ve decided on are Tommy Toe Tomato, Marketmore 76 cucumber, Yellow Crookneck Squash, Rattlesnake Pole Beans, and Pinkeye/Purple Hull peas. We’ll spend time next week finalizing our decision on crop varieties.

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