These are my notes from the talk I am giving tonight at West Seattle Nursery:
Plan Well: You will do much of your planning based on when each of the crops will be done, then you will know when & where to place the next crop. It helps to buy plants already started or start your own in a separate place or between the crops so you can just place them in where you can, but you can start directly in the bed as well.
Calculate your needs: You will need to be honest about how much your family can eat in a given time, and how much space you have. Your family may be able to eat more than 1 salad per day, but not much more- the salad will be bolting after awhile- it is the same for all the early crops. Don’t be afraid to thin your plants- the best ones will feed you well, too many will be stressed at this spacing.
If you don’t have much space to grow the plants that normally take up space out in the yard- you can go up. Dig a trench and supplement the soil underneath with the complete fertilizer before planting Tomatoes, Squash, & Cucumbers on a trellis or fence. This will cut down on soil-based diseases, too.
Irrigation: If you are tending a small garden, and in the garden daily, it might work out to have a pitcher for water right by the garden bed. If the garden space is larger, you can use soaker hoses or a drip irrigation system with a timer. It depends on your commitment and availability.
Season Extenders: Use irrigation pipe over rebar and greenhouse plastic to help your tomatoes, eggplants & peppers ripen in the summer and keep your chard from freezing in winter.
Steve Solomon’s Complete Organic Fertilizer: *4 parts Cottonseed or Canola Seed Meal
*½ part lime (agricultural) *½ part Phosphate Rock or Bone Meal * ½ part Kelp Meal
Mix this together and add when prepping the bed, transplanting and mid/late season- it will break down slowly through the season and be available to your plants when they need it.