Get Ready for Garden Season

Every year in the late summer I swear I’m not going to garden the next season. And every winter around this time I get really excited about the vegetable garden I’m going to have in the spring. It may seem early to even think about gardening but, by the time I order seeds, have them delivered, and get them going strong it will be time to put many things into the garden.

It really is time to get ready for garden season!

When I am wearing out from the work of gardening and preserving my crop I forget that I love being outside in my garden. I need to remind myself about the reasons I have a vegetable garden. And, with the sleet and general cloudiness we’ve had for the last few days the idea of being outside under a warm sun certainly sounds great!

I depend heavily on the vegetable garden for our produce.

Not only do I want to save money but I also want to know I’m getting non-GMO produce. I also want to buy heirloom seeds because I try to save as many seeds as possible from one season so I can plant them the next. Another money saver!

Since I want to feed Mr. Comfortable as well as I can as he recovers I’ve been researching different crops. An example is Amaranth. The seeds are about 13% protein which is higher than most other grains. And I can use the leaves in salads, stir-fry, mix it with spaghetti sauce, and even put it in meatloaf! Amaranth Edible Red Leaf heirloom seeds are my choice for my try-out of Amaranth.

I’m also planning some other new crops:

Artichoke – Ahh, the leaves dipped in clarified butter!
Baby Greens Apple Blossom Swiss chard Blend – The young leaves are great in salads, steamed, added to soups, stews, and lasagna. They even go well in omelets.

If you’ve read my recipes you know I love green beans. Last year I tried bush beans and I think I’m going to go that way again. Mr. C likes them better than pole beans; I think because bush beans aren’t flat. He’s a guy. What can I say? I also want to plant some purple pole beans just because they’re purple!

I’m hoping to expand the garden so I can have a separate area just for herbs. There are so many culinary and medicinal herbs but I just don’t have room right now to grow everything I want. I’ll have to get Pete to help me do the work but first I have to talk Mr. C into letting me “steal” the space from the dogs!

This coming season I’m going to grow a lot more peas. We’ve now eaten all the peas I’d frozen from the garden and it’s only January! And there’s something so calming about shelling peas. Maybe it’s just me but I find it very relaxing.

I grow both hot pepper and bell peppers and I want to try purple bell peppers along with the usual green, red, and yellow. They are purple on the outside with a lime green inside. And don’t worry about your family worrying about purple peppers. They turn green when cooked. And of course I must have my banana peppers!

Even if I have to grow a lot of things (like potatoes) in pots again I’m going to concentrate on root vegetables. Another summer project is fixing up the root cellar! It is my dream not to have to buy potatoes, carrots, or onions because my root cellar is so full of them!

I can’t wait to get my new seeds and start planting because so much requires starting the seeds 8 – 10 weeks before the last frost and some things will be planted directly in the garden even before the last frost! I really need to get moving because, believe it or not, it’s time to get ready for garden season!


Garden Things to do in Winter

I originally posted this last March and it’s amazing how accurate it is today! Just like in March, we’ve had two snowstorms very close together. And I’m still not able to escape winter with a quick trip to the Bahamas so I’m back to dreaming about summer and doing what I can to be ready when garden season comes around again.

Garden things you can do in winter

We’ve had two snowstorms about a week apart and another couple of inches fell right after the second storm. I need to get away from winter! Unfortunately, a trip to the Bahamas isn’t possible so I just have to think of hot summer days and long summer evenings. One way I mentally remove myself from thoughts of snow and cold is to work on garden things to do in winter.

  • Buying vegetable seeds – I tested my saved seeds and know which ones I need to replace. I’ve made a list of new vegetables I want to try, too. So it’s time to order my seeds.
  • Buying growing equipment – Some of my seed flats are no longer useable. I’m out of peat pellets and I need containers. It’s time to head to the garden store!
  • Inspecting fencing for winter damage – This one is a little tricky here. It’s been snowing like crazy lately but in a couple of days it’s going to be in the low 60’s. I’ll take one of the upcoming warm days to walk around my garden and make notes on any winter (or critter) damage to the fencing. I’ll also inspect the various poles, cages, and trellises.
  • Planning the garden – Since I’m adding vegetables I’m making a plan on the computer. I don’t use the planning software since it’s expensive and I can do it myself in Excel. I simply make a grid for every foot of garden space and then type in which plants will go where. I merge cells for plants that take up more than a single foot and I color the backgrounds so I have a quick visual of where each vegetable will be in the garden.
  • Research – I’ll do research on each of the new vegetables I’m adding so I know their best companion plants and their requirements for nutrition, soil, and space. I’ll also look for new information on deterring garden pests that want to ravage my vegetables.
  • Build – I’m going to have my husband build some trellises for my pickling cucumbers, zucchini, and Sugar Baby watermelons.
  • Make garden markers – So that I know where everything is in my garden I’ll make markets to put in the soil where I plant seeds or transplant vegetables started indoors.
  • Start the indoor seeds – Since some plants (bell peppers spring to mind) need a lot of time I’ll plant seeds indoors for later transplant. There are guides to starting dates by zone available on the Internet.
  • Check the bird houses for needed repairs – Bluebirds, Chickadees, Sparrows, Swallows, and Wrens are my best allies for ridding the garden of unwanted insects. I want to make sure they’re very happy in my garden.

If you put your mind to it you can come up with a lot of ways to escape winter…or at least start remembering spring is only a few weeks away!



Fun Facts about Fruits & Vegetables

There’s nothing more rewarding to me than being able to tell my family that they’re eating things I’ve grown in my garden. And the longer I garden the more interested I become in the history of the vegetables and fruit I grow. I use heirloom seeds so the past is closely linked to the produce we’re eating. But there were things about vegetables and fruits that surprised me. Did you know…

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Waiting for Vegetables

I’ve mentioned I am not a patient person. I’d like everything to happen right now. It’s no different with my garden. I plant seeds and want them to instantly pop up their little green heads. Then, after I’ve waited and waited for them to grow, I want them to produce vegetables at the speed of light. This waiting thing is driving me crazy.

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