Since February is the time for garden planning, I've started thinking about what I'll do with my rented garden plot ($18 for 20x25 feet) later this year. Two summers ago I started a garden, but that was the summer I got married, and a garden plot doesn't do well after a honeymoon's worth of neglect. (I did get some great salads out of it, early in the season.)
Here's a seed-starting chart where you plug in your region's last frost date, and it fills in the planting dates for a bunch of common vegetables. I'm in Zone 5, so I'll be starting a lot of my plants indoors; I can't put much outside until May or June, since I expect the last frost to be around Memorial day.
I thought I would share some excerpts from the 1942 book Gardens for Victory, "A little book to help your garden, however modest, produce continuous supplies of nutritious food, properly selected, on the smallest space in the shortest time, for the least cost." It suggests that you buy Defense Bonds with the money you save.
The endpapers alone contain more information than some books. The front endpaper has a chart of vegetables along with their preferred soil pH, row and plant spacing, days until harvest, whether they can stay in the ground over winter, how deep to plant them, when to plant them, whether their lifespan is short enough to plant them 2-3 times in succession, how many ounces of seed to buy per 25-foot row, whether they are hardy or tender, annual or perennial, warm or cool weather, and what vitamins they are rich in.
And that is before the first page.
There are lengthy discussions on vitamins, on espaliering fruit trees, and on creating a visually appealing garden out of vegetables or herbs (since you'll be ripping up your flower beds). Here are a few of my favorite charts.
"VITAMIN C" GARDEN PLOT
peppers, red or green
(If you live in the South or Southwest) avocados
- Garden vertically as much as possible.
- Select dwarf varieties when you can.
- Intercrop, and plant companion crops.
- Rotate early, midseason, and late crops by successional sowings.
- Grow some plants in barrels, tubs, pots, and window boxes to utilize and decorate odd spots about the garden and the house.
A FEW CHOICE VEGETABLES THAT GIVE THE MOST FOR THE LEAST
With suggested amounts to grow per persontomatoes (two plants for each person in the family)
bush beans (five feet of row for each person)
beets (two feet of row for each person; but sow several times in succession)
carrots (two feet of row for each person: several sowings)
lettuce (three feet of row for each person: three sowings)
Swiss chard (three feet of row for each person)
New Zealand spinach (two feet of row for each person)
radishes (one foot of row sown three or four times successionally for each person)
Plant or sow these outdoors as soon as ground can be worked in spring
For Boys' and Girls' Gardenets
Quickest from Seed to Harvest
radishes, globe varieties: 25 days
Swiss chard, large ribbed dark green: 60 days
turnips, early purple-top milan: 40 days
bunching onions: 45 days from sets
lettuce, Simpson: 35 days
mustard, Tendergreen: 32 days
carrot, early: 63 days
beets, Crosby's Egyptian: 55 days
corn salad (fetticus): 45 days
garden cress: 45 days