Monday, January 7, 2013

Planning your Summer Garden - Part One


It seems strange writing about the summer when it is 20 degrees outside and we have 2 feet of snow on the ground, however, it is time!  In fact, I'm sure a lot of very serious gardeners (and farmers) started planning in the fall.  I like to think of myself as a serious gardener, but perhaps it would be best to think of myself as a serious novice gardener.


If you are like me, you have forgotten that your garden last year was more weeds than vegetables by the end of the summer.  You will have forgotten about the insane amount of squash bugs that came to visit you.  And you will most certainly have forgotten that you were unable to grow green beans when you never had trouble with it before.  It is a new year!  And that means new plans, and working on what didn't work last year.


Step One - Think about space.

I seem to always forget this step and jump right into the purchasing of seeds.  For some strange reason, I cannot seem to fit all the winter squash I can eat in a year, rows upon rows of sweet corn, potatoes for storage and 15 different varieties of tomatoes...especially not among the green beans, sweet peppers, hot peppers, cucumbers,  zucchini, summer squash, and other assorted vegetables I seem to plant.  At least I can't fit all of this in my 16' x 20' garden bed.  So this year, when thinking about my spring plantings, I will be considering the space that the vegetables I want to grow require.  No matter how hard I try to force next to zero spacing, it does not work!  You will be happier if you allow yourself the room to get into the garden to pick the vegetables.  I may or may not be speaking from experience here.


Step Two - Look at what seeds you already have.

I frequently skip this step as well.  When those glossy seed catalogs with their beautiful pictures come in the mail, I will have all but forgotten that I already have 4 varieties of summer squash, and probably do not need to add another to the mix.  But, if I already have a list of seeds that I own sitting next to me, I will know not to order another package of blue hubbard squash seeds.


Step Three - Make a list of what you want to grow.

What does your family eat?  Even though you think it would be amazing to plant all those zucchini plants, if your family doesn't eat zucchini, it isn't worth the space.


Step Four - Look through your seed catalogs.

This is a hard one for me.  You know you want to jump to this step first.  Even when you know you need to start with step one, there are so many beautiful vegetables that you want to grow.  They all look amazing!  This is why you make a list of what you would like to plant before you look at your seed catalogs.  You want to pay specific attention to how long that seed will take to grow into whatever it is supposed to be.  We have a relatively short growing season here in Maine, which is great for all the different greens you want to eat, but not so great for certain things *ahem* watermelon *ahem*.  I also like to try planting one new thing each year, so this is a great way to find something new to plant.

Planning for your summer garden is important.  It is what allows you to make the best use of your space and get the most out of your garden.

Are you planning your first garden this summer?  Are you a seasoned gardener?  What tips would you share?

Linking up at the Barn Hop, Clever Chicks, Healthy 2day Wednesdays, Your Green Resource

13 comments:

  1. I've been thinking about it. I need to go out and clean up the garden space some.

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    1. Definitely wish that I could get out and clean my garden up some! But, I will have to wait until the snow disappears. Luckily, that seems to be happening in March the past couple of years.

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  2. I def need to figure our what I am doing - not today but soon!

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    1. It sometimes seems early, but because I want to start seeds I have to really get a move on! What typically happens is I wait to long and then end up buying seedlings :-)

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  3. I'm not much of a gardener, but the thought of it makes it feel like the warm weather will be here sooner rather than later.

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    1. I think this is exactly why I do garden, it makes the winter seem a bit more bearable!

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  4. Looks like we have a very similar system for picking seeds. And I , also, tend to skip step 2 even though I know better. This year, I decided that I will order from one catalog only (I found a place that sells only heirloom vegetables) and then if I have space left (ha ha ha, how unlikely is that) I will fill in with items I can find at my garden center. The problem is that I plan to buy a grow light to start my own seeds this year and I am afraid I will overbuy seeds. I made my list and put it away so that I can double check it after thinking about it some more to see if I really NEED all those tomatoes... This year I decided to not even browse the whole catalog, I just flipped to the category for each food I know I need to plant, and picked one from each.

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    1. I believe you can never have too many tomatoes! And just remember, even if you buy too many seeds, you can put them in your freezer for next year! The thing I like about seeds is that they are very inexpensive compared to buying the seedling, so if I happen to overindulge, I'm still not out too much money :-) Happy seed starting!

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  5. Ooo thanks for the reminder. p and I need to start our new garden. We had one before, but the past two years we have been in apartments. S excited to grow our food again!

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  6. Great tips! We had our first garden at our new home last year and we were overrun with weeds by the end of the season! We are making plans this year to avoid that at all costs. It's hard to pick out what seeds to buy, so we are going to have to sit down soon and figure it all out. It's that time of year!

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  7. I am jealous! I can't wait until we're settled in a place long enough to really be able to get into gardening. We're renters, and we could be moving out of state at any time, so there's really no use in investing the money to start a garden. I've considered container gardening, but we wouldn't be able to move those in a cross-state move, so that just won't work. Hmph. I grew up having gardens, and I miss it. My grandfather loving gardening and involved me in everything he did. He even visited my family when we moved states away and helped my parents set up a garden in our yard. Fond memories...

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  8. What are some of the best seed catalogs? I am clueless.

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    1. Great question! The ones that I go to most frequently are http://fedcoseeds.com/ http://rareseeds.com/ and http://www.highmowingseeds.com/

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