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?