Monday, February 8, 2016

2016 Garden - The Big Picture

Is it too early to think about my 2016 garden?  Surprisingly, no.  In fact, sometimes I think that I am behind when I start garden planning in February, but I know that in my current zone (5A), this is a good time to start thinking about the big picture for my spring/summer/fall garden.


Now, for those of you that are thinking flower garden, stop.  I am not a pretty gardener.  Instead, my focus is always on food.  Yes, I do have some lovely flowers around my home.  Thankfully they were here before we bought the house, and surprisingly I have not killed them.  They need very little maintenance, and that is my type of flower!  No, I am definitely speaking about a vegetable garden.


Last year I did not have a garden.  I have written about how disjointed I felt about that repeatedly, so I won’t continue to drone on about it now.  But, because I didn’t have a garden last year, I am feeling quite optimistic about the entire thing.

Now, in years past, I have had issues with pests.  It started with the cucumber beetles, moved onto squashbugs, and then, most recently, I had a family of woodchucks that no matter how many we trapped and disposed of, kept coming back.


My positive thinking is “I didn’t have a garden last year so the pests will have moved onto greener pastures.”  Clearly, I am delusional, but, I am going to keep that delusion going for the time being.

Two years ago, my desire was to grow all of our summer vegetable needs from the garden.  That may seem like a big deal, or for you more experienced gardeners, not a big deal at all.  For me, it was a big deal.  Especially considering it was year 4 of me battling pests.  We did surprisingly well that year, regardless of the intrusion of uninvited guests.

My goal for this summer, again, is to provide all of our summer vegetables.

Having the option to go outside and pick part or all of your meal is probably the most satisfying experience to me when it comes to food prep.  I love to cook, but picking vegetables straight from the garden, and then preparing them is an amazing accomplishment to me.


I love the entire process – well, except for that whole weeding thing, but we don’t need to think about that now!

With the goal of growing all of our summer vegetables, that means planning starts now.  While I do spend a fair amount of money on buying seedlings from the farmers’ market and our local greenhouse, one area where I have wanted to improve over the past several years is our seed starting capabilities.


My mom has always been a wonderful gardener (both with food and flowers), and she used to start her own seeds.  Several years ago I did actually go all out and start all of our seeds.  I was incredibly proud of that accomplishment.  That accomplishment was then destroyed when the town came to dig up our entire yard (including my garden) to replace the sewer lines – who knew all those sewer lines were running right under my yard?  Not me!  After that experience, I have put in some half-hearted attempts to start seeds, but I think in the back of my mind I am always concerned something else will happen, and all of that effort will again be wasted.


The kids are a bit older now, obviously, and they (thankfully) love gardening as much as I do.  They have been asking me about starting seeds, and so I plan to sit down with the kids to choose some seeds from the seed catalog (most likely anything purple) and will place a seed order.  Then we will do a homeschooling unit on starting seeds.

I’m really excited about the possibilities this year.  I figure it will be a clean slate, especially since I left the garden beds alone last year. 


Do you garden?  Are you already planning for spring plantings?  What is your favorite vegetable?

43 comments:

  1. Love your motivation with your garden! We have tried doing small pots of veggies, but then gave up after those bugs and deer interfered. Last summer we didnt do anything! Maybe this summer we'll give it another shot!
    Karen | GlamKaren.com

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    1. We haven't had problems with deer before, but I am sure it is only a matter of time before that happens!

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  2. I only have a few plants and herbs in pots. I wish I had the space for a garden.

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  3. This looks just like the small "postage stamp" gardens in the book I just reviewed! I can't wait to get started gardening this year!

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  4. I wish we could garden, but we are in an apartment. I may try some planter gardens this year.

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  5. I don't garden and have zero ability to keep anything green alive, but it's definitely on my list of things I want to learn about!

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  6. I love your garden plans and your determination! In our backyard, the only food plants that seem to thrive are blackberry bushes, strawberry plants and hot peppers of any kind. I gave up a couple of years ago, and that's what I stick with now. I still love to,pore over seed catalogs and dream, though. Aren't they so much fun?!

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  7. I want to have my own garden too when I move house! I had one in my last place but not in this one.

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  8. I want to plant a vegetable garden at our new house one day! I have always thought it would be so rewarding to grow some of my own food! I can't wait for spring flowers!

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  9. Ahhhhh if there is one magic power I could be granted it would be the ability and desire to garden!!! I have a horrible black thumb and no patience to really learn the skills to keep a garden going! I can't wait to see your crops!

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  10. I am not a gardener but when a preschool teacher there was a school garden. We learned all about aphids and released ladybugs to eat them! This brought back memories!

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  11. Yes!! I have tried many of these things and not had very much luck. Good tips!

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  12. I LOVE LOVE LOVE gardening! We expand our garden every year and agree, there's huge satisfaction in growing and eating your own food!

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  13. I always think about starting a little vegetable garden but I never do. Maybe this year will be the year. Guess I need to start doing some research on it!

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  14. I did a square foot garden last year and had written down that I needed to start the seeds in February and well it's February! Thanks for the reminder, I almost forgot. The square foot garden did pretty well, my favorite thing was really it got NO WEEDS! There were a couple mushrooms but they were easy to pull out. We got a pretty good crop, highly recommend it!

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  15. We're going to start over on our garden. We didn't get to do what we wanted last year because we we're moving at the time. I want heirloom tomatoes this year. And basil.

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  16. It's not too early to think about the garden at all! We already started the seeds in our kitchen. As soon as the weather gets warm, we can move our plants outside and get our fresh veggies much sooner!

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  17. Your garden looks beautiful! I try very year with a small garden in my front yard (best sun) While I always get a small harvest - I have much more to learn.

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  18. You garden looks so beautiful! I really loved planting flowers when I was a kid and dream to have a really big one in 20-30 years.

    http://www.siniciliya.com

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  19. I am thinking about my garden this year too! We moved in the last year and so we don't have a designated spot anymore. Might be time to tear up some grass!

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  20. Growing up, we had a HUGE garden every single year. Back then, I hated it of course because it meant I spent my summers pulling weeds, trying to kill garden pests and canning numerous fruits and vegetables. Then i turned 18 and moved away from home for 11 years, vowing to never move back to the country again. I spent 8 years in Chicago and hated it. Boy what a dumb teenager I was! I missed living in the country. I missed having a yard. I especially missed having a garden especially when it came to my grocery shopping LOL. Last year I moved back to my hometown and the first thing I did that spring/summer was plant a garden.

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  21. I think it's great that you are working on it already. When I used to live in my old house, I couldn't wait until spring every year to figure out what I wanted to do - it is so much fun!

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  22. I'm so glad you shared this. I didn't have a garden last spring/summer and I regretted it. I won't make that mistake again.

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  23. I'd really love to grow some veggies this year. Especially tomatoes. I tried last year and the plant just died. I think it was too hot.

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  24. I can't wait for my bulbs to bloom. I'm a newbie so sometimes they bloom as a surprise! Lol

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  25. You've got me Googling how to grow carrots and potatoes indoors xD Because, uh, well, you can't really plant anything outside in an apartment - and certainly not for us, as our back porch area doesn't get any sun. Plenty comes in through the front windows, though!
    I'm sure I should just, you know, step away from Google right now (because am I *really* going to buy dirt and containers and seeds and all that? Probably not) but it would be nice to have *something* :)
    I hope you do not have any pest problems this year! Though I would love to see updates about what you've planted and how it's going and the like! :D

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  26. I love working outside in the yard and making it pretty. Landscaping really makes or breaks a yard, and pretty gardens add character and charm to a home. It's never too early to start thinking ahead to the next season.

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  27. I don't garden but I love the idea of growing all of your own vegetables! I try to eat as local as possible! Great job and good luck in keeping those pesky critters away.

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  28. I'm not a gardener, but I enjoy gardens. That probably sounds odd. My sister has a pretty cool above ground container type of garden. She gets an amazing amount of cucumbers and zucchini.

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  29. I've always wanted to have a garden, but I think I was born with the anti-green thumb. Everything I plant dies. But I love your determination! Good luck!

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  30. I cannot wait to have a garden. Snow, snow go away!

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  31. Oh, me too! I am so excited.
    Talking about your woodchucks - you should read this memoir about gardening called $64 Tomato. It is such a fun, relatable read. I laughed and laughed!

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  32. Such a beautiful and pristine garden! Makes me want to go there and read a book.

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  33. Woohooo, love the determination and goals! I'm not a gardener but definitely appreciate friends with gardens who share with me!

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  34. It is an accomplishment indeed! I love your excitement.

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  35. I love this! My husband wants to grow lots of vegetables in our yard in the future when we move to a home with a larger yard. Last year, he grew his own peppers and tomatoes!

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  36. I can't wait until we move out of our apartment! I'm so ready to plant a garden. I'm like you - I want one that will provide me with food!

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  37. Omg beautiful garden!!!! I so wish I had a green thumb! I want a garden so bad :)

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  38. I can't wait for the weather to get better so I can garden. Each year I add a new plant or two.

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  39. I have always tried to garden every spring and it NEVER works out for me. I don't know what the problem is, I simply forget to water. I start off easy with basil and mint.

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  40. Every year, I say that I am going to do container gardening, and never follow through. The one time I did a garden, deer, rabbit and groundhogs tore everything apart. My family jokes that it was the million-dollar garden.

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  41. I had a small veggie garden last year, it was a great feeling to bring in fresh veggies for dinner!

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  42. My mom had a green thumb (does that apply to gardens), however it was not passed down to me :( I actually have been thinking of trying my hand at maybe an HERB .. baby steps

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