Friday, January 1, 2016

New Year New Garden Plan

Happy first day of 2016.  I'm not sure when I developed this ritual but many years ago I started to spend at least a part of this first day of the new year sketching out the details for my next garden.  It gives me some time both to reflect on last year's growing and to give some thought to what I will grow in the coming months.  I think I'm a pretty seasoned gardener at this point, but still have lots of new things to try, errors to make, and successes to discover.  I think that planning is a big part of the process.  
Here is how I do it.

1.  Take a seed inventory
If you have a big seed box like me, this can be a little bit tedious, but its worth the time.  I also take this as an opportunity to throw away seeds that are too old.  Seeds do have a shelf life and there are lots of good resources about that online and in seed catalogs, but those with the shortest lives include onions, peas, beans, parsnips.  If you have a pack of these more than 3 years old, it might still be worth a trial run, but I would probably buy back up.

2.  Make a "to buy" list.  If you are really organized, you have kept a running list all year long as you ran out of seeds.  If you are me, you kept a so-so list and step 1 assures you don't get to the first week of April and not have seeds for something you really love to grow. 

3.  Draw out your garden and start to plot what goes where.  Consider crop rotation, space needs, compatibles vs not.
You might ask, "isn't there an app for that?"  There is a really good computer program that you can get over at Kitchen Gardeners international.  
I like to do it like this though
I've got a thing for graph paper and I like to look at my old plans.

4.  Get input form your family.  It only helps to grow 5 kinds of beets if you someone else is going to help you eat them.  Besides, if you have little kids like I do, it gets them in on the action.

5.  Get out those beautiful color seed catalogs that have been coming in the mail and start shopping.  My current favorites are Seed Savers Exchange, High Mowing Seeds, John Scheepers Kitchen Garden Seeds, and Adaptive Seeds.

Happy New Year and New Garden!

Winter, finally (and seriously)

I planned to start this blog last spring as my garden flew into action, but then got into the actual work of gardening and abandoned the task. However, today its winter, really winter. I'm wearing long underwear and sitting under a blanket and I'm still cold.
Today is the shortest day of the year so from here on in it gets better. I look forward to longer days, that's for sure. But I'll also tuck in and enjoy winter's freeze and snow, it does mean skiing after all. Maybe more importantly is the snow pack - without snow there isn't water for the West.
The end of the year and the solstice are a good time to think back on the last 365. I have no reason to complain and feel really lucky about the last year and really hopeful about the year to come.