Forty Reasons to Change the Garden Plan

Does anyone else go through the angst of which vegetable should go where?

I get caught up in the process of plotting out vegetables that are good neighbors.

Don’t put tomatoes too close to cucumbers, and keep them away from corn.

Cucumbers and tomatoes don’t play well with potatoes, so give them separate space.

If I hadn’t been craving garden fresh tomatoes for two years, I’d consider them bad neighbors and leave them out of the garden entirely.  That’s not happening!

I plotted and planned to make certain everything would have its optimal space.  You know how that saying goes?  Something about “best laid plans”, or “life is what happens when you’re making other plans”?

purple fingerling potato


Potatoes showed up and changed the plans.

I wasn’t even going to plant potatoes this year.  The rear garden, Garden Two, has such a horrific soil issue that I decided to put it to rest this year while I work on building good soil.

garden put to rest

Potatoes would take too much of the remaining garden space, so I figured we would do without them.  Conveniently, one of my primary nearby grocery stores began stocking organic potatoes and that sealed the deal.

Until potatoes showed up.

Forty potato plants.

Forty reasons to change the garden plan.

Just popped right up in Garden One like they owned the place!

Who invited them?  Sheesh!

Yes, yes, I know.

I did this to myself.

It seems I missed a lot of potatoes when I harvested last year.  That must mean that I need a new potato fork, wouldn’t you say?   ;)

So, back to the drawing board I went.  Those beloved tomato plants had lost their space, so new plans were in order.

tomatoes ready to plant

I pulled out three of the metal containers and filled them with sterile soil mix, then placed ollas into them.  They will sit on the patio, which gets almost 8 hours of morning and midday sun, but gets shade from the sweltering late afternoon sun.

metal planters ready for tomatoes

Hopefully, the ollas will help compensate for the heat of the metal containers.  Tomatoes and marigolds and basil will grow in the containers, so I’ve fashioned limb “cages” to see if they’ll support the tomatoes.

metal tub with ollas

This year I’ll also prune the contained tomatoes, to keep the plants at a manageable height.  They can easily reach 6 ft if left untended.  Since I have eight tomato plants, I’m going to risk late blight and plant the remaining five with those surprise potatoes.  We’ll see how that goes.

basil in tub

The cucumbers also have to move, since I’ve been dreaming of fresh cucumber salads.  I staked the tool handle teepee trellis into the water trough planter and will place the cucumbers there.  I’ll lash small limbs across the trellis to provide supports for the vines.

handle teepee trellis

Since the space is now available, I might plant corn.  I have two heirloom varieties, one of which was a host to corn smut two years ago.  I planted the second variety in the rear garden space last year, and it did fairly well considering the horrible growing conditions, but it’s not as sweet a corn as the first.  Perhaps we’ll see if it grows better in the front garden.

Is your garden working according to plans?