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Re: creating 4X6 raised gardens for Habitat housing

Here is a possible plan for your Florida 4x6 beds below.  It's planned for
2 plantings of cool season crops and one planting of warm season crops.
An excellent book for planning gardens like this is How to Grow More
Vegetables than you ever thought possible on less land than you
can imagine, 5th ed by John Jeavons.  It will help you figure out
a design and planting schedule that will work well in your area.  It's
been my experience that raised beds with good soil can usually
achieve the medium levels of yields the first year.

Also, I would urge you to do as much edible landscaping as possible
for the yard in general.  For this year you may wind up with smaller
fruit trees, and shrubs(fruit or herbal).  What would be great is if you can
find several people who will grow trees now for the houses the group
builds in 2004 and beyond.  Then you could have larger trees to go
in the yards at less expense.  If you can get someone to do perennials
for flower beds too, that would add to the beauty of the houses.

You may want to design several different plans based on the
cultural food preferences of your habitat families.  And also
choose favorite varieties of plants.  If you plant edible flowers
they can be used in salads, desserts, and rice dishes.  If you plant
nonedible ones, avoid the super toxic ones or sweet pea flowers
that might be confused with garden peas.

Cool season--plant this in the spring and the fall
                            1 planting yield         total yield/year in pounds
2  Cabbages                4                                   8
4   Collards                  8                                  16
32  Carrots                 16                                  32 (large 
yield carrots)
2    Chard, Swiss          4                                    8
2    Kale                       4                                    8
8    Lettuce, leaf            4                                    8
8     Mustard                 4.5                                  9
18   Onions                   4                                    8
18  Peas, bush             1                                      2(more if 
edible pod)
288 Radishes(72/month) 16                                 32
8     Spinach                 4.5                                   9
4  Pansies(spring)           - 
-(pansies edible, don't
Stocks(fall)                                                     know about 
Total cool season yields                                 140 lbs plus flowers

Warm season--plant this once in the summer
24   Beans, green snap    6
2     Cucumbers               6
8     Lettuce, leaf              4 (See Cooks summer leaf mix)
288 Radishes (72/month) 16
4     Peppers                    4
1     Squash, zucchini       3(put at one end of bed)
2      Tomatoes                4(put in 2x1 at end of bed)
1-2    Nasturtium               -  (pretty flowers, tasty in salads)
1      Herb square              .5  (1 plant each of basil, parsley, 
oregano & dill)

Total warm season yield    43.5 lbs plus flowers

Total for year = 183.5 pounds of vegetables plus flowers

With careful timing there could be  something to eat fresh everyday
except for the first month.  Although if you could plan well it might be
possible to plant the gardens even before the house is done as long
as the grading  is finished so that there will be a good garden by the
time the house is finished.  The homeowners will need flats to keep
a steady supply of transplants coming along for when a plant or crop
is finished and removed.  It would be helpful to include a hose,
nozzle, ruler, trowel and copy of Jeavons' book as well.  The bottom end of 
an old toothbrush works well as a dibble.  Each pack of many of the seeds
will provide enough seeds for 25 or so houses.  Exceptions for most
packs would be beans and radishes.  Jeavons' book has info so you
can figure out the seeds from the weight of the package if the catalog
doesn't tell the number of seeds per package.

For the homeowners who would like to save more money and have
seeds better adapted to their location, you could have a seed saving
class and later a seed swap.  Please use heirloom/open-pollinated
seeds to make this possible.


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