“Anyone who thinks gardening begins in the spring and ends in the fall is missing the best part of the whole year; for gardening begins in January with the dream. ” – Josephine Nuese
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Getting started on the spring garden
Late winter is the best time to start planning and establishing your spring garden goals. What do you want to grow? Do you want to focus on food? Maybe add cutting flowers? Will you be adding fruit trees/bushes? Once you have your garden goals organized, you can get started on implementing.
Below are some garden goals I set every winter to help me and my garden get the best use of my time. Also, depending on the year, I may be taking on different projects such as adding animals or more raised beds. Check out some of the goals for your spring garden to thrive.
Start Seeds Indoors
If you live in the south or in warmer, coastal climates, you do not necessarily need to start your seeds indoors. In fact, there are many benefits (labor being one of them!) to not starting seeds indoors. However, as spring approaches, you may want to get a jump on the plants before pests and heat settle in.
To do this, you can start your seeds indoors. Annual edibles that do well indoors include peas, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, celery and many others. The goal for spring is to get a few supplies and have them ready to be planted out by the last frost date.
Before you get your garden ready to be planted, you will want to add some amendments such as processed compost into your raised bed or soil before you start planting. Give the area a week or two before you add any seeds or seedlings with a mix of compost, soil and organic fertilizers such as fish emulsion.
This settling can help prevent burning the baby plants but also will allow time for nature to spread out its nutrients. The settled raised beds, pots or in-ground soil will also need time to allow for good critters such as earth worms to find a home. This is especially important if you have tilled the soil in anyway.
Plan, plan, plan
“A goal without a plan is just a wish” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery
If you want to maximize your space or time, then you need a plan. You can check out more on how I use time management resources and long-term goals to narrow down my time and energy with my Homestead Time Management PDF.
There are five plans you want to make:
In January, when much of the US is too cold to plant pretty much anything, you will want a solid plan for which plants you want to grow, when and where. Seed catalogs are a great resource for information on everything from starting seeds to habits of plants. They usually go out in December-ish and you can have your plan solidified by the end of January.
Projected Harvest Schedule
Well now you have a plan for how to grow your garden. Now you need to project out when you think you will be harvesting. If you planted all of your lettuce at one time, then you will be hauling loads of lettuce leaves out of your garden in one go.
Go over the crops you want to grow, when you will plant them and if you will be doing succession planting. Then estimate when you should be expected first (and last) harvest so that you can plan for events in the kitchen to preserve your bounty. Some crops are one seed – one vegetable (think carrots, beets, etc.) others are one seed – many vegetables (tomatoes, potatoes, etc.). Keep that in mind when you plant as well for planning the harvest.
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