During the winter I get the itch to get back into the garden. All the beds are hibernating through the winter just waiting for us to plant again in the spring. The beds have all been dug up, chicken manure has been added, and finally a nice snowy blanket was placed on top.
I start all my gardening planning now. First I flip through the seed catalogs. I primarily look at Johnny’s Seeds and Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. Our local nursery also carries seeds that I tend to pick up when I’m there. I also reread my favorite gardening books to read up on new items I’m wanting to try. I want to understand the growing conditions, the season, and what else I might need to do to make a successful harvest.
|Browsing through a seed catalog.|
Once the whole family has marked our selections in the catalog, I go back through and edit our order. We tend to go a little crazy with the number of seeds we order. When they arrive in the mail, we go open the box like it’s a Christmas present.
President’s Day weekend is our marker for starting our tomato seedlings. A couple of my friends and I get together and plant between 50-100 tomato plants. That’s way more than we can use, but those seeds are so tiny that it just doesn’t seem like much. We get back together to replant and then finally we divvy up all the plants. Once I have a plant in my hands, I just have to plant it. I tend to end up with a LOT of tomato plants. These all need to be started indoors and don’t get moved outside until mid May…if we’re lucky.
I do keep a template of the seeds we plant in the early spring and then carefully mark each plant as we transplant, but we always seem to have a handful of “unknown plants.” These are ones that are unlabeled and we really don’t know what they are. Last year it was a spaghetti squash that I thought for certain was a cantaloupe…but that’s another story.
Once gardening season is in full swing, all plans of keeping records go straight out the window. I barely find time to get plants and seeds into the garden, let alone write anything down. I didn’t used to be this “reckless” with my gardening though!
When I was younger and single and had just bought my first house, I had a garden. All my gardening skills came from my dad, who has always been a fabulous organic gardener..even before organic gardening was the thing to do! I remember as a teenage kid being so embarrassed that we had a compost bowl on the counter for the garden. And yep, I have a compost bowl – although ours tends to go to the chickens instead of the compost bin.
In my first gardening days, I never had a weed and I keep a meticulous gardening journal. Oh my stars…these days the garden has an abundance of weeds and I am lucky to get some items in the garden. I can’t believe I really kept such detailed notes. I laugh that I actually made a note that I planted 12 more radish seeds today. Pure Craziness! Not only did I make a note of that, but I actually counted out the radish seeds. What was going on??? I must have had a lot of time on my hands back then…
|My garden journal from 1996.|