Plotting the Plot

Some scheduling conflicts and a spate of cold, rainy weather have prevented us from doing any more work on our newly-acquired plot at the Flatbush Community Garden, but we have been thinking about what to plant once we get in there (hopefully this weekend).

We’ve got a 4 by 8 foot plot to work in, and a lot of choices to make. I’m thinking that it might be fun to grow a few stalks of corn, but I’m not sure if those might take up a bit too much real estate. We might make another attempt at strawberries, despite being burned on multiple occasions – most recently when we came home to find that heavy winds had dashed our poor little plant to the ground.

Some other options include: pole beans, broccoli rabe, carrots, cucumber, fennel, greens, melons, chard squashes, and radishes. My head is spinning.

Internet public, what should we plant?


17 Comments on “Plotting the Plot”

  1. Elaine says:

    This is so exciting. I feel like you should try a mix of risky things and guaranteed success things. In the second category I’d put cucumbers – they seem to come up like gangbusters for my dad. He also does butternut squash which is fun for the end of the season. And actually, if you guys like arugula, which I have to think you do – it totally grows like a weed (i.e. zero maintenance required to grow lots and lots of it) and it tastes SO much better home grown than bought, super peppery. Risky to me are tomatoes (success entirely depends on the weather and getting lots of sun). But it would be so dreamy to have home grown tomatoes. Post pictures?

  2. P says:

    You are of course right about arugula, Lainey. That sounds like a great idea. I know what you mean about the tomatoes…and I sort of worry that corn will be the same way.

    Pictures for sure.

  3. Smita says:

    Will delurk to say peppers! One summer we tried herbs – basil, mint and lemon thyme. The mint took over but the basil was good for a couple rounds of home made pesto. Chard sounds like a great idea, particularly because it may continue through the fall.

  4. Claudia says:

    Choose veggies that taste best freshly-picked, are expensive to buy in the store, and are faves of yours! And check out the book “All New Square Foot Gardening” by Mel Bartholomew, so you make the most of every inch.

  5. Aaron says:

    Corn does take up a fair bit of room, but you know what biodynamic farmers do? They plant poles beans next to them and let the beans climb up the stalks. These crops have a reciprocal relationship in terms of the nutrients they take out and release in the soil.
    That could be fun if you’re bent on the corn thing.

    • Claudia says:

      I’ve seen something similar to what Aaron’s mentioned, except also including squash. It’s called a Three Sisters Garden, as per Iroquois legend.

  6. janie says:

    My choices would include something simple like carrots. Fresh carrots from the garden are heavenly. And peas… I love fresh peas– you don’t need to cook them and you can never get them as good from any store as a garden. What about rhubarb if you are doing strawberries…And then some sort of chard or kale or zucchini and other cookable veggies. I guess too, i would agree with earlier comment of trying to balance things that take forever to grow with things that come up rather simply and quickly so that you get a little immediate reward and some longer commitment items–! Good luck! And looking forward to hearing of your gardening adventures.

  7. Lea says:

    I have always thought of tomatoes as easy. I grow them every year with very little maintenence work and have tons and tons of tomatoes – lots of canning and freezing at the end of the summer. Zucchini is also wonderful to eat during the summer (and you can enjoy the blossoms – impossible to find in the store) and the squash. They also preserve easily (I shred and freeze in bags). I also plant lots of fresh herbs so I can use them fresh and dry them to use in the winter.

    Rhubarb takes years to establish itself.

  8. Katrina says:

    I find that spinach and leafy lettuces are a great investment, once they hit picking point they just keep on giving. I had a really hard time with cucumbers and heat. They just burned in the sun, but I am in Miami. I don’t know how hot it gets by you.

    Good Luck!!!

  9. Karalyn says:

    Be careful with corn… I’ve never grown it myself but I believe that you have to plant at least 6×6 rows or it won’t pollinate properly. Makes sense to me because there are a lot of farms with corn in my area, and the stalks on the outer edge are always puny with no ears. Maybe there is a different type for home gardens but it’s something you might want to look into first!

    Good luck with your garden!

  10. Lee says:

    I’d go with carrots definitely. They are hearty and you can use them with lots of dishes. Yellow squash and zucchini are really delicious too! I would pick vegetables that you can use in lots of different applications.

  11. eric says:

    I wouldn’t bother with corn, as noted above. I do agree on the arugula and other lettuces. (EASY!, although a very heavy rain last week killed mine, so I have to replant. And if you snip it short when it’s young, it grows back. Successive plantings will have you in salad for the first part of the summer, anyway.)

    Radishes are easy and fast, too.

    Just a couple of pepper plants last year got me through the winter with dried and pickled peppers.

    I staked up 2 cucumber plants (in tomato cages), and they did OK but not great. If you let them sprawl, they take up too much room.

    And finally, eggplant!

    We’re gonna want to see pictures, kids!

  12. Jenni Bowring says:

    I grew zucchini last year and loved, loved, loved having what felt like free food every night for dinner, when I grilled it up! And now that I know that radishes are fabulous roasted (thank you NY Times), I’ll be growing more of those this year. I’ve planted carrots and am waiting for the first round to emerge, and we’ll try cukes for making pickles, too. See the Splendid Table’s website for a great pickle brine recipe! Lots of herbs in pots this year, I hope…the squirrels already dug up my parsley seeds so I’ll be trying again. Bon chance!

  13. Alison says:

    Check with the folks who run/organize your community garden….ours won’t let us plant corn or sunflowers for a few different reasons, including the fact that you’re likely to cast a lot of shade on someone else’s plot. Ask your fellow community gardeners what has/hasn’t grown well in the garden, that can save you some heartache. I like to plant things I can’t get from our local CSA, or are just much better right off the vine (so to speak). Just have fun!

  14. Stephanie says:

    If it is not too late for peas, I would do those. I would skip the corn, wind pollinated and needs more than a few stalks. Tomatoes, crookneck squash, radishes, beets, kale, spinach, a mix of lettuces, a sweet and a hot type pepper, pole beans, some kind of melon, and probably a few nasturtiums. Some herbs would be good too.

    I would do crookneck or another type of summer squash because usually people are overwhelmed with zucchini and give it away. Nasturtiums are edible and bring beneficial insects.

  15. […] 6.) “Plotting the Plot” at 30 Bucks a Week […]

  16. Janice Cook says:

    We’re in CT: Cucumbers and zucchini were easy and we were able to use them for lots of things. I would agree to try peas. They really couldn’t be any easier and you get a ton. You can plant them in the spring when you do the lettuce and arugula and again at the end of the summer to have some more in the early fall. We like the amish sugar snap peas. Great for snacking, a saute, a stir-fry, etc.

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