It is so very exciting to see the garden in my mind’s eye finally and to have the components mostly on-hand. The seeds from Sustainable Seed Co. are in. I did feel guilty about the carbon footprint of transporting the seeds, so that was just a one-time order. The accompanying visuals are more so I can study it while I’m doing dishes. The tally is at 890 plants planned in so far, but as an overachiever, there are many possibilities awaiting still. It seemed boring and a waste of energy not to do it this enthusiastically, as the potential for an abundance of food is a worthy goal. Furthermore, it’s also about challenging myself in a new direction and building my skill-sets.
The way this matrix is plotted this out combines what I already had in my own lists, with the Zukeeni garden planning app. That way a schedule of tasks is automatically created in a garden task calendar. It also covers spacing, fertilizer, light and other requirements. At the end of the day though, I found it easier to do it with my own color coded system and dots as far as planning exactly where the seeds go in the dirt.
To the untrained eye, the above drawing may look like scribble. What is actually represents is a delicate ballet of companion and strategic planting. This is what I did before the Dot Matrix.
The very first step was this 3D model in SketchUp. I’m proud to say that when I went the actual location and tested the spacing (shown below), everything seemed to be right on the money.
The only challenge will be seeing how to fit in the strawbales, because as they are in the mockup may not be exactly right.
The is what 50 meters of drainage sawed down looks like. Hopefully my improvised technique to straighten the tubes out works because it wasn’t exactly easy. This was accomplished one layer at a time.
The preplanting process officially started on February 24th, 2016 to see if my windowsill has enough light to give the seedlings a head start. Survival is my main goal here — to get as many as possible to sprout and into the planter beds. I know the light is fairly low. I decided to keep a list of what gets planted and so far it’s up to 66 with seeds AND cuttings (my new thing I learned).
First bucket of potting mix — 1/2 compost, 1/2 sand from the garden sifted through a grate. I had a tiny bit of coconut peat that came in two tiny promotional seed kits from the grocery store this summer saved, so that went in there.
About half has sprouted in the first week. The front runner was Red Cabernet #9, which is looking very leggy by the end of the first week. That means it’s getting too tall and not sturdy because of the low lighting in my north facing windowsill. The mustard is the tallest at almost 5cm already in a week. The cress was the slowest of the greens. Russian Red Kale #19 was stuck sideways in a piece of sticky clay or something so I very carefully did my best to clean it off and set it right side up with extra dirt support and it made it through the day. Go #19!
The second planting was last night and consisted of only Lil Marvel Peas. The story on those is they don’t like to be disturbed much so I planted them in little toilet paper roll halves in plastic food containers. One tight and one looser. I’m hoping the tight one works too but apparently they like loose, well drained soil. Since they are more inclined towards the cold weather, I’m hoping to have these outside rather fast, considering there are 54 planned in the back (planter #8) and 13 in one of the strawbales under the lemon cucumbers (Bale A). I couldn’t believe that you can plant so many that close together, but that’s what’s recommended so I’m going for it. They are mini after all.
- The pond liner for the inside.
- Coconut peat.
- More drainage tube drilling, sawing and straightening.
- Cardboard for under the planters .
- Scooping and sifting compost and sand.
- More pre-planting.
- Source more plants and seeds.
- Then build it! (This statement brings forth a new list of tasks.)
If this just wasn’t enough information for you, here are the links again to explore to your heart’s content…
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