This is the time of year that we research new techniques we have yet to try and make tweaks on things we have tried but want to change. There are so many excellent ideas out there right now that there is no way that anyone can have tried them all successfully. Each year I hear about something new, be it hydroponics, square foot gardening, lasagna style beds, composting, vertical gardens, beds for small spaces, companion plantings, integrated pest management, I could go on and on. Even as a more experienced gardener I am still trying something different each year. I am not sure that any gardener ever gets everything completely down to perfection.
It is a time that we gather our information of what worked and what didn't work last year. Some gardeners are actually organized enough to take notes about their gardens as the season progresses. When they started their seeds, what they used to feed their plants, how they amended their soil, when they hardened and transplanted their seedlings, how often they watered, how often they weeded, what kind of harvest they got,... Maybe someday I will be organized enough to do that, but I do write down what I remember though. I am thinking my blog would be the best place for me to take those notes. It's rather easy to lose a notebook, but how could anyone misplace a blog?
At this time we plan what we will do this year. We don't always plant the same things every year. For example, if I have a bumper crop of green beans and have a 3 years' supply then I don't need to plant that particular item. Likewise, if I ran out of tomatoes 7 weeks into winter then I need to plan to grow more tomatoes. If we know we have a major event or trips planned we may chose to plant differently than if we are staying close to home all summer.
Many of us figure out a plan of what we will plant where this year. Anyone who has grown plants knows that they need to rotate crops if they want the best performance and the least problems. I like to create a map from one year to the next as to what seeds I planted in which plots. Some seeds followed by a different one the following year gets more benefit from the soil, while others should not be planted in the same plot as a veggie from the same family because they have similar nutrient requirements as well as similar pest problems.
Pouring through seed catalogs is a favorite pastime of many gardeners. The descriptions of plants are just dreamy. It's almost like reading a romantic novel really. Just thinking about sinking your teeth into a large, ripe, purple tomato is enough to get some gardener's toes curling. The hardest part is limiting the number of seed packets you buy. I mean, these things are SO tempting who can blame anyone for buying twice as many seeds as they actually need?
If we start our own seeds, we also need to plan when to plant those so they are ready for planting to get the earliest possible start. I know there are many who think it is just way easier to just buy their plants from a nursery, but in my experience it is much more satisfying to plant my own. I mean, if you buy seedlings from someone else you are limited to growing whatever they decided to plant for you. Planting your own seeds opens the possibilities to just about anything you might want to grow. You would also know of they are GMO, if they are organic, and all of those other buzz words that people worry about.
As you can see, there are plenty of activities to keep us busy even when the snow is on the ground and the dirt is frozen solid. Most of all though, I think we dream of the sun warming our faces, butterflies and bees flitting from flower to flower, and picking basket after basket of produce to nourish our families with. Think spring!
Thank you for stopping by to chat with me. Please leave me a message. I'd love to hear your thoughts! Cindy