Planning your garden

This is post 4 of the series I have been writing to get you up to speed on my farming journey thus far. If you haven’t read my previous posts, please start with my first, second and third post here.

4 March 2018

Though our dream farm house construction is underway, our plans of starting a garden with a vegetable patch, fruit trees and flowering trees is still not in the picture. And I figured, it won’t happen if we don’t have a concrete plan of action handy.

So with construction going on at a good pace, we have been doing some serious thinking on the lines of vegetable planting. Though we are itching to start off planting but we have to wait it out because we don’t want any construction debris around the plants. But how do you plan your garden when their is construction happening all around the space?

Well, but just sitting idle till the construction gets over was not something I could do. And truth be told, there was loads to do before sowing season which is 4 months away. Once I sat down to plan the months ahead of me, there was plenty to do before I could even think of planting. We need some serious planning to do…

Kalpavriksha Farms

While the construction was happening we decided to start working on a mini garden in an area away from the construction site. This was our small experimental patch to learn how to grow each plant and get ready for the bigger project later. This is very important to plan if you are new at gardening like we are. It’s important for novice gardeners to practice before any big step. This way we could keep experimenting and learning by starting seedlings and sort of get ready for plantation by the time it was sowing season.

You might think there is enough time, almost 4 months, what’s the hurry, right? Wrong! There is so much to do that my head is spinning. Then I calm myself down with some deep breathing and advice my anxious self to just put one step in front of the other for the time being. That seemed to do the trick to make me relax and actually tackle stuff.

“You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step” – Martin Luther King Jr.

So, I make a list and discuss it with my husband, who looks in disbelief wondering why in the world should we start anything now? Yeah, just like you were thinking back there…But then I break it down to him with month by month progress and he agrees instantly. Let me break it down for you too.

Kalpavriksha Farms

Planning, planning and planning…Let’s look at my list of actionable plans just for better clarity.

My Action Plan:

March:

  • Till the land to uproot weeds and loosen the soil.
  • Sow urad dal (black gram) seeds on the vegetable patch (for natural nitrogen fixation without adding fertilisers)
  • Take care of regular irrigation of the patch
  • Monitor growth
  • Make a list of fruit trees and flowering trees we would like to plant
  • Identify the location of plantation
  • Identify the source for the saplings
  • Dig out large pits 4 ft by 4 ft at identified locations and make sure they have minimum 10 ft spacing from each other
  • Start plantation of fruit trees as they take a long time to grow

April:

  • Start experimenting with planting various vegetables in small pots away from the construction site
  • This will give us an idea on how our soil fares and whether it is enables good growth of crops
  • Start on the live fencing, using bougainvillea, bamboo and other border plants
  • Attend workshops to understand the nuances of organic farming

May:

  • Source native organic seeds for july sowing season
  • Harvest urad crop
  • Till the soil
  • Source bricks and cow-dung manure for preparing raised beds

June:

  • Start working on seed starters
  • Learn more about companion planting
  • Learn about the seasons and understand seasonal crops of Tamil Nadu
  • Start working on the raised beds for the vegetable patch
  • Collect sugarcane husks from street vendors
  • Get started on planting the peripheral border crops for natural pest control

July:

  • Start sowing seeds from second week of July
  • Start them in the store room in a dark area
  • Prep the seeds like soaking them in water for 8 hrs or more to jump start germination
  • Name them and leave them to germinate
  • Once germinated, take them near a window sill for some indirect sunlight
  • Once they are big enough to be transplanted, take it to the farm for transplantation

 

Oh my god, the list is exhausting to say the least, isn’t it? Yeah but it had to be done to have a clear plan of action. Otherwise this task was getting a little too daunting for me. You can’t be sitting idle till July and then suddenly get over-whelmed about the sowing when the sowing season is upon us, right? Because, I don’t work well under pressure.

A little planning goes a long way and in my case an extra mile, because I am known to have little bit of OCD. I always need a plan of action, always. Can’t work without it! So this little something written out on my brown diary (yes, I have one exclusively for farm related stuff) and now I can breathe easier; putting things under various timelines gives you a sense of control, that nothing else gives.

Kalpavriksha Farms

Now that we have gone over the list, my husband is totally convinced more than me that we better get on with things while the construction is still underway.

PS: I might have succeeded in transferring a little bit of my restlessness onto my usually calm and composed rock of a husband. It’s always better to have two people on the same line to get things done. I really believe in this. It never works if one person is not as pumped about an idea than the other.

Yes, now we are talking business!

The first step towards gardening is of course, preparing the soil. Click on to read more on that here.

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