How to Make a Basemap

An abundant, easy to work vegie patch relies on smart placement decisions, and smart placement decisions rely on knowing all about your little corner of the world first.

Learning all this stuff takes time, it means waiting a bit ok. Be the 2 chocolate fish kid and you’ll be rewarded in spades with a garden set-up that hums, minus the yukky doubling back to un-build + re-build.

Things you need to know

Kathand Matts Basemap

Get a big square of cardboard or paper and make a rough sketch of your place on it. Draw in houses, sheds and fences. Note down all your observations as you learn them. It’s a good idea to leave this sketch out.

  • Where do the seasonal winds blow and swoop?
  • Where does the sun shine summer through till spring?
  • Does frost hang out at yours, and if it does, when and where?
  • What’s the rainfall in your hood?
  • The low + high temperatures?
  • What’s the soil like in all the different corners?
  • Where does the ground go soggy late winter/ spring?

And if you are on ex farmland/ industrial space use this pause to get soil tests done.

Make a wishlist

Here’s another bit of knowledge well worth figuring out before leaping in – “What is it you want to grow?”

Permaculture calls this making a wishlist. It’s fun to leave a sheet of paper out for the family to doodle, colour and jot wishes down on. It’s tempting to want to grow everything! I still fantasize about rice paddies and oats, but with limited space and/or time + limits of climate, it’s smart to be targeted here.

  • Make your garden a reflection of your favourite things to eat + preserve.
  • Focus on stuff you cannot buy locally + organically, and crops that suit your climate.
  • Plan for tonnes of herbs and leafy greens and a lemon too if your climate allows. These are the best value nutritionally and also the easiest to grow.
  • Plug the gaps by joining your local veggie swap or community orchard.

Once your basemap and wishlist are finished you’re ready to make some very smart decisions about what goes where. If it’s still a bit tricky this is a really great time to get someone like me in to help you.