In the midst of yet another snow storm in the North East, I decided it was time to start planning my summer garden.
There is something about planning for the summer in the dead of winter that makes me happy. Thinking of the dirt between my hands and the wonderful plants that we have the opportunity to grow is like food for my soul, especially when it is freezing outside, and the ground is covered by over four feet of snow.
I think that everyone should grow something every year. Even if it something as small as herbs on a windowsill, you can grow something! For those who are new here, I live on ¼ of an acre in a small city, but we have quite a bit of space to grow our garden, and for that I am thankful. However, when we first moved here, I started much smaller with only pots.
I still use those pots every year, and often get better results – especially when using my earthboxes.
Two years ago, my wonderful husband built me several 4x4 frames for my garden. The reasoning was two-fold. I thought it would be easier to organize my garden planning with the square foot method, and I thought that it would look nicer. It definitely looks nicer, well, at least until the middle of August when it becomes a very large jungle.
Because I don’t have a huge amount of space, I continue to use the square foot model to grow food. The method continues to build up the soil, and seemingly grows more food than the traditional row method, at least on the small scale that I am gardening.
If you have been reading for any length of time, you will know that I have had many issues with squash bugs and cucumber beetles for the past several years. I am still able to grow some squash and cucumbers, but it is not nearly as much as I would like, and ends up being very labor intensive. However, last year I read another blogger planted radishes all around her squash, and she didn’t have any of those darn stink bugs! While I don’t eat a lot of radishes, I think I will be incorporating them into my diet this spring, and hopefully it will do the trick to get rid of those bugs.
How do you plan on what to plant? Well, the way that I like to plan is to figure out what my family will eat.
It doesn’t make sense to grow things that your family will not eat; it wastes precious growing space on food that will most likely be wasted. I also like to skip growing those items that take up a lot of space, although I do try to grow pie pumpkins every year.
One of my goals each summer is to produce the majority of our vegetables. We do a pretty good job of it and are able to eat from the garden every day. I also hope to preserve as much as possible for the *very* long winter. I did not do a lot of that last year because I was in my third trimester, and it was no longer important to me to eat from our garden when we have a perfectly good farmers’ market downtown!
This year I hope to plant more food for preserving, I also want to work on companion planting as well as succession planting. The last two are goals I have had for the past couple of years, but never end up working out.
How do you plan for your spring/summer/fall garden? Do you start in the winter, or wait until the seedlings are at your local greenhouse to make a decision?