I planted my garlic yesterday. I would have liked to have done it a bit earlier but I couldn’t. This is largely because I refused to pull out the cucumber plants that have done so well this summer (from 4 plants they produced a cucumber a day from December until late February, slowing to a couple a week by the end of March). Instead of pulling it out in March when production was slowing (and I had put in my plan) I left it in and left it in and left it in until there was just one cucumber left on it but even then I didn’t want to pull them out until that ripened. Ripen it finally did and my 4 year old daughter grabbed it for a salad which she was making which she then pronounced disgusting and refused to eat. She makes very odd combinations and frankly her diagnosis was correct – the salad was yuk and went straight into the compost. So I had wasted a week of valuable bed resting time to produce compost.
Of course you can plant garlic pretty happily in this (temperate) climate anytime up until about June so I could have left the beds to rest a little longer but I felt like playing in the dirt so I carefully measured out my bed and planted 14 rows of 7 cloves at 12cm intervals with 12cms between rows. My point in all this is actually to point out that I did actually consider my winter crops when I chose where and when to plant at least some of my summer ones, otherwise I might still be waiting for beans to finish etc and I wouldn’t have got to spend yesterday playing in the dirt.
I do find the planning does actually help. I plan to both ensure that I rotate my crops around the bed and also to ensure I follow some basic companion planting principles. I have to say I’m not yet sure about companion planting, exactly how beneficial given the amount of potential planning it needs but I do still follow some basic principles just in case.
My principle method of planning is to map out the beds on paper and write in where and when things are to be planted. I break the beds down into 1 metre squares and then dedicate each square to a different crop/s. The below links show the last few seasons and my current plan.