Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Let the preparations begin!

I was looking out my bedroom window this morning at the snow and ice when I was seized by an urgent call to action: I must begin planning my summer garden!

Considering the hard-earned success of last year's garden, there is no way that I'm going to let this Spring catch me off-guard! Now is the time for me to be planning out what my garden is going to look like, so that I can maximize space, make sure I have the supplies I need, prepare my garden, and be ready to transplant strong seedlings as soon as the warm weather hits.

There are a few things I did not account for last summer, due to pure novice. This year, I plan to take these things into consideration so that it makes for less work for me throughout the summer.

Strategic placement
Last year I had some issues with certain vegetables crowding, shading or generally overtaking others. I never imagined that I would need so much space for a cucumber plant, for instance, nor did I think that my tomatoes would get so large. I also learned that some of my garden is not good for planting, particularly the bit that sits just below the overhang of the roof, where the soil gets badly eroded from the rain running off the roof. Some of my vegetables (onions, for instance) are apparently things that I could have planted on the perimeter to make sure rodents aren't attracted to my garden. As such, this year the onions will be sitting in the front row, keeping away the unwanted visitors!

Realistic consumption
Last year, I thought that having only four cucumber plants was going to be a problem. Now I'm more than happy to keep only one, on account of the fact that I had to eat so much cucumber last summer that I thought I might turn into one! On the other hand, I found myself frequently wishing for lettuce, which was a major casualty of the rabbit war, and so I plan to plant more and make sure my defenses are much better! I also realized that there are things that are not worth the effort of growing. Corn, for instance, is nearly impossible to keep the raccoons out of, but local corn is easily found in the grocery. On the other hand, getting local peppers or zucchini proves more difficult, and these are the areas I wish to focus more on.

Stronger start
Last year, I started my seedlings in April. That's way too late! I was transplanting little seedlings that could hardly survive inside, let alone in the hostile environment of an outdoor garden. Most of my lettuces were too weak to survive little rodent feet, and even my bean and pea plants had trouble. My broccoli never even flowered in time for the first snowfall. All of this tells me that I need to get an earlier start. Is January too early? No way! If I haven't got some sprouts by early February, I might as well not bother with some of the vegetables that I'm interested in growing.

All in all, it looks like January is going to largely consist of me busily planning my garden. If it means that I can benefit from all this amazing, fresh produce in a few months, why not?

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