A Moveable Feast

Plotting and Planning

I realise I’m not planning on feeding the world nor am I plotting an invaison of a country, but all the same it’s nice to plan and plot a wee while. It’s part of the dreaming that goes on in a gardeners mind as they dig and clear and then sow and plant. What space do I have this year? What do I HAVE to grow again? What do I fancy that’s NEW to me? I really must use THOSE seeds up. etc, etc, etc.

So I usually scribble a VERY rough drawing on a scrappy bit of paper that ends up tea splattered, soil marked and generally dog-eared. A few lines here, an abbreviation or two there and usually some crossings out as I remember that I planted X there last year, so I need to plant Y in it’s place this year. You get the drift?

But seeing as I have a blog this year I thought it about time I smartened my appearance up. So I got out a RULER, yes I drew straight lines for you dear reader, then I jotted things down in pencil, hummed and aahhed, and rubbed out and shuffled this and that along, wrote a list of veggies I’m growing and then like a game I tried to puzzle the pieces together. Well you can’t plant the beans next the the onions you know they’ll only sulk, where should the winter squash go this year, but if I put them over there what about shelter? And on the thoughts go and around a few more times, and EVENTUALLY I have some sort of workable pencil plan.

Next I get a drawing pen out and start filling in the gaps, all SMART and PROPER. I try and do NEAT and LEGIBLE handwriting, I need to emphasise the word TRY.  I stand back and consider my paper dreams, I realise I am far from being an Illustrator, but I scan my paper wishes and upload them to WordPress. I wonder if uploading them to WordPress is the equivalent of sending your Wish List to Father Christmas, maybe Santa’s Elves will get busy and my wishes will be delivered by a Red Nosed Reindeer …..

In the meantime I go to the allotment to carry on clearing and weeding, all the time I have my Brown Pen drawings in mind, I clear some garden debris for compost and voila, I realise it would make the perfect spot for peas or beans. Uh oh, back to the DRAWING BOARD.

You see the plots and plans are FLEXIBLE. They need to be. Maybe there will be a late frost, perhaps a batch of greens or salads will get decimated by a Platoon of slugs, or maybe I’ll forget to sow something or other (it usually happens – last year it was parsnips). The plans don’t even include the possible extras of lentils, chick peas and soya beans, let alone a potential watermelon or two. I could triple the size of my greenhouse and still overfill it.

So let’s call it a Flexible Plan for the Plot

Or maybe it should be called a Movable Feast 😉


    • Sadly we will still be getting veggies from the shops and market, some things I can’t grow (citrus for one) and other things we just don’t grow or don’t grow enough of, like onions. Either way, I’m hoping there will be plenty to eat 🙂

    • It’s a bit of a first really, normally I jot a few notes down as an aide memoir, as I can never remember what I’ve sown and where, and also what worked and didn’t. Happy gardening 🙂

  • You’ll be planning everything in Excel or Project next:-)
    Liking the idea of a pond…but you do realise that I will have to buy you gnomes to go round it:-)

    • Don’t push it girl!! You know that invitation to France can be recinded…………. Mind you is that an offer to dig the pond……. thanks, I look forward to it 🙂

      • Nooooo I have to come and play!
        Not too sure me digging a pond is a good idea. Particularly the straight bits. Three words: bread slicing skills:-)

        • Look at the plan my friend, notice anything about the pond? Did I use the ruler? No, it’s freeform, so your wiggly digging will be perfect. Looking forward to seeing the pond dug, oh and you too!!

          • We may be contnuing this conversation at a later date! Not too sure if I could dig a pond in the soil at the allotment. Although if it is exactly the same size as on the plan I’ll give it a go………:-)

  • I knew I’d ‘crossed over’ the year I bought a spriral notebook with grid paper to keep track of where things were going, and where they’d been before… Love seeing your layout – it will give more meaning to your posts as we go through the season.

    And, how cool to have a friend like Carole to bring you gnomes to populate your patch! 😀

    • Ha, I love it “crossed over”. And those notebooks with grid paper are my favourites!
      You know Carole’s friendship may be up for renewal, if you can cope with gnomes you are welcome to take over!! 😉

  • How very organized. It reminds me of my dad getting out his two posts tied together with a long piece of twine and scribing straight furrows in which to plant his seeds. You gardeners are so meticulous. No scattering seeds willy nilly and letting them go wild. 🙂

    • I try and plant in staright lines but never manage it, everything always goes wonky. So hat’s off to your dad! and I will confess now to scattering a few seeds here and there, but they do tend to be flower seeds 🙂

  • this is excellent. I just may have to follow your lead and draw out my garden plot this year. I tend to just kind of go along and plant with a mental image in mind. But I can see that plotting it out would be a lot of fun with regards to anticipation and feeling like you are actually gardening before you even get a chance to get out there and work in the soil!

    • The mental image in mind is something I share with you, but making a note and a plan helps me rotate the vegetables around the plot so I don’t get a build up of pests and diseases.
      And you are right, it was a moment for a gardeners idle hands, sitting at the kitchen table with a cup of tea and a drawing pad. Lots of fun too 🙂

  • Wow! Look at all that. If I grew that much I would feel like I was running a farm (but I’d have to chop down twenty-some old trees to have the sunlight for it and we like the trees).

    • Hi Sharyn, I’d love to have more trees, but our garden is small (only the Magnolia) and we are limited as to what we can plant up at the allotments. Hope you have a great week, Claire

  • I really enjoy your blog so I hope you do not mind that I have nominated you for the Sunshine Award. Details of the award are on my latest post.

    • No, surely a step too far ?! Besides my video skills aren’t great – we’ve been trying to do some videos in the Alps, and it’s all too wobbly, or I’m giggling and chattering too much in the background 🙂

  • I got many good chuckles out of this post. Plus I loved the plan. Those tea-stained scraps of paper you talked about would be a big step forward for me; so you are inspiring some organization on my part. Wow, using a ruler; that would really be a big step forward! I think sometimes our blogs are in synergy–today I wrote about being a “random” gardener. So I am glad that you are providing the antidote to that.

    • Hi Nancy, I’m pleased you chuckled, as I was giggling writing it. I guess I’m not too random up on my veggie plot as over the years I’ve found it easier to manage the crops if I do things in blocks or batches, it means I can net certain crops, or water or in fact neglect others!! Sometimes I think I should just scatter some seeds and see how successful they are.
      Right, I’m off to pop over for some synergy 🙂 Hope you have a great week, Claire

  • Wow!! When you said plot, I was imagining something on a much smaller scale. That looks like such an ambitious plan and I’ve no doubt it will be just like you’ve drawn in all its glory!! ps you’re a good “drawer” too!!

    • He, he, he 🙂 It’s still fairly small, but I manage what space I have. And over the years I’ve gradually realised what we like to grow, what does well, what simply doesn’t work (cauliflowers and cabbages regularly fail me). Besides it’s my hobby and I love it 🙂 Me a good drawer… hmmm somehow I think I’m still at the bottom of the class – there’s too many smudges and crossings out – somethings and some people NEVER change 😉

  • Wow, it looks like an amazing plan.

    I should really try to get my own garden plan off those post-its and scraps of paper and on to a real piece of paper, though perhaps not drawn with a ruler. (I might as well be realistic; I don’t like rulers.)

    • Ha, I still have plenty of post-it-notes and random words on scraps of paper!
      And you know I kept looking at the plan and thinking that there was something not quite right, I couldn’t put my finger on it. But now you have – it’s the straight lines, they don’t work for me, they don’t sit comfortably, slightly wobby is much better (and frankly more realistic). Consider the ruler ditched!!

      • I like to have a printed plan of the garden as an underlay and then a sheet of tracing paper (or any other semi-transparent paper) on top so I can see the true lines and then draw free-hand over it. It makes for a much more organic-looking plan whilst retaining some degree of accuracy.

  • What a beautiful garden! It is more organized and much larger than I ever pull off, but I so admire this! You should have a wonderful bounty! I do keep notes in a little notebook and I think that effort tends to make me feel more invested in the outcome. It isn’t entirely haphazard. I look forward to seeing how everything flourishes. I’m sure it will! Debra

    • Thank you Debra, this girl has got to have her dreams! I don’t think anything can be entirely haphazard, but I do like some flexibility and freedom, but when it comes to managing the veggie garden I find I’m better off doing a bit of planning and preparation. And in case you are wondering, I’ve yet to manage EVER growing in straight lines – straight lines ellude me, or maybe it’s just that deep down I don’t want them 😉

  • That plan is so awesome. I am absolutely not a garderner, but I love others to be. I especially like good neighbors that bring their bounty to my door. Yum, Yum. All joy in following your growing season with you. HF

    • Thanks, good friends and neighbours come in very useful to us gardeners – it’s a great way of managing gluts particuarly courgettes which always seem to all grow and ripen at the same time!

  • Oh Claire, you even have pea-climbing trellises arching over your head as you walk your paths! Oh i love you vision of a garden space, and how I wish I could walk those paths! Really spectacular. I would so love a garden like that, and I wonder, will I ever??? Even half of it would thrill me!

    • I’m wondering whether to add another trellis, I love them so much. I have visions of sweet peas, beans, peas, roses and my grape vine slowly clothing the bare arches and their bounty and flowers dripping down. Now I know I have imagination, I just wonder if I’ll ever be able to deliver it in reality!!
      I wonder if you will have a lovely garden some day – I certainly hope so!

      • I love your dreamy of a garden! & its trellises. I do. It just gets me all longing inside. Maybe that’s a sign.
        ?? 🙂

        • I’d take that as a good and positive sign then 🙂 And I’ll be sure to post photos – whatever the outcome of my trellis growing attempts!

    • Ha ha to pea green 🙂 It’s a one off (the France thing) and has been a wonderful experience, if not slightly crazy and my blog has ended up wandering (literally) all over the place! Lovely to have “met” you

  • Your post made me smile as we seem to have so much in common. I too plan things to be neat and tidy but the reality is crooked lines and wobbly planting due to my impatience to wait for the right tools! I’m sure your wordpress wishlist will be granted as your plans are gorgeous 😉

    • Thank you, I think we have to have a dreams, and one way to express dreams is to draw a little plan 🙂 It will no doubt change and warp over time, but the intention is all there!

  • Such an impressive plan and what fine crops! How I wish I had room and sun to even attempt such a plan. It will be lovely to reap the rewards of such a great garden.

  • I love your drawing, straight lines and all. You have an impressive number of edibles planned for this supper. I hope you have all the rain you need, all the sunshine you deserve and all the joy gardening can give.

  • I love your plan! I try each year but it always goes a little wonky. I remembered last year to keep a copy of my plan to help with rotation this year! Her x

    • Oh well done for keeping the copy – hopefully I’ll be able to look back at mine next year to help with the rotation. And thanks for popping in 🙂

  • Minsky said you were “an inspiration!” I will have to second that. Having a large garden is new to me since moving here, in California my plot was roughly 10 by 15, and who needs a plan for that? But now that I have more space I really need a plan! To the drawing board! Better late than never, right?
    ~ Lynda

    • Lynda that is so kind of you, I can’t say I feel like an inspiration, but sharing what I do is a pleasure and a LOT of fun!
      I know what you mean about having a small garden, ours is a tiny urban garden and if it wasn’t for the allotment I’d never grow anywhere near as much as I do.
      And always better late than never 🙂

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