This is the first time I have started planning the garden in January. Most years I tend to make a plan, but end up being behind the power curve for the rest of the growing season and into the harvest. It isn’t bad to be flexible and adapt with your garden as the year progresses but unless you have a solid plan to start, you spend more time on “crisis management” rather than enjoying the garden.
I’m very excited about the greenhouses for starting plants and extending the growing season. I think using starter plants is a great idea. It will be a lot cheaper if I can grow my own rather than depend on the local farm store. Don’t get me wrong, I figure spending a dollar or two on starter plants can pay off big at harvest time. Especially if you are a new to gardening or have limited space indoors to start plants.
This will be the first year I have a plan to take advantage of the different types growing areas/micro-climates around my house. The sun chokes did great in the alley way garden and the decorative kale proved out great in the semi-protected front yard garden bed with morning sun. The warm front yard garden bed garlic is looking good. This bed looks like a good spot for herbs as my sage plant survived the winter is looking great this year.
I am going to try out a 3 sisters garden mounds of pole beans, corn and squash rather than use the raised garden beds. My squash always seems to take over my garden beds. By moving the the squash plants I hope I will be able to use my limited yard space better, plus the beans will add great nutrients to the soil I want to improve. I’m selecting drought tolerant plants as a test for the 3 sister mounds. If I can grow the plants they will probably do well on the “future farm” for improving soil and provide the basic vegetable food stuffs needed to survive.
I’m going to reduce the tomato plants to a roma, a beef steak and an Arkansas Traveler. The last couple of years I have had too many tomatoes in my garden and I did not keep up with harvesting/processing them. I want to add a couple of tomitillo plants and a hot pepper along with the sweet peppers to make salsa and sauces for Latino taste/recipes to my canned goods.
A few lessons I have learned doing raised bed/city lot gardening:
- You need a lot of good supports and cages to go vertical with your plants. Growing vertical maximizes your growing area, plus with my disability harvesting tall plants seems much easier rather than working at ground level.
- Have a plan to take advantage of micro-climates and incorporate edible landscapes. There are a lot of flowers that are edible like Nasturtiums or colorful Kale and lettuce that look great in a front yard garden bed.
- This a new idea for me, but use plants to shade your windows and house in summer. Lots of garden plants can reach 6-8 feet like corn or are climbers and the create natural shade in summer then die back in winter.
- Don’t be afraid to try new things or fear screwing up. I was one of the original “black thumbs” when it comes to plants or growing a garden. Be persistent because when you fail, you learn. Also don’t be afraid to ask for help as there are a lot of very smart people that are more than willing to share knowledge.
- Use containers for plants: I really like the 18 gallon “party bucket” and a small “kiddee” pool for growing my herbs and strawberries. Just drill a few holes for drainage and you will have a an easy to work container garden. Most plants and herbs you cook with for “ethnic” recipes also tend to be great companion plants.
It’s your garden and if you learn, eat great tasting food and get some payback for your investment. I consider it all good!
Had unscheduled wood delivery this week, took me by surprised, but I think it worked out great. My wood guy called me up to take a cord of wood delivery “on sale” as he need a bit of cash for his power bill. I had some cash on hand, so I took the cord of wood for $30.00 off his regular price. While the “new” cord did not replace all the wood I have burned this winter, the wood stack size is now good until spring even if it gets below zero F. cold. The house uses about 2-3 cords from Oct-Jan. during a generally mild winter. Ironically the wood guy call my step-dad before me and he claimed to be too broke and could not afford to buy any wood even at a discount price.
I’m very sorry about how my step-dad is living. Sad to say he is finding out that “credit” does not equal wealth in the long term. I was helped by him and my Mom when I got disabled but I moved away from “easy credit’ and that has made all the difference in my life. I am now bouncing around a 760-800 plus credit rating and all I have done is get mostly out of debt (still have a mortgage) and taken out one small ($500.00) revolving credit at Les Schwab for tires and a short term signature loan via my credit Union for the wood stove. It might take awhile (5-7 years) if you “screwed the pooch” on your credit rating like I did when I got disabled. If you pay cash, live on less than you bring in and always look/implement ways to save money every month.
Getting your financial house in order is simple, but that does not mean it is easy.