Wednesday, April 20, 2011

goals for this year's garden

hello everyone! i don't know about you, but seeing natalie's beautiful garden made me a bit jealous, especially since we received a nice blanket of snow here in minneapolis this morning (i'll be honest that it was all melted by the time i got home from work, but it was still a bit discouraging to wake up to!).  

since the season here in the northern latitudes is just beginning, i'm still in planning mode for this year's garden.  last year was the first year that i actually drew out a plan for my garden instead of just sticking plants in my garden willy-nilly with no rhyme or reason (you can see last year's plan here).  and this year, i'm working on one again.  

before i started drawing out my full plan (which still isn't quite completed- i promise to share it here as soon as it is), i spent some time thinking about my goals for this year's gardens.  each year, at the end of the season i reflect on which of my efforts were successful and which ones could use some improvement or aren't even worth repeating.  i also think about what new things i want to try the next year.  now that it's spring, i'm thinking again about some of these overall goals, and what new things (whether it's new plants to grow, or new techniques) i want to try this year.  in my four years of vegetable gardening, i've come to learn that tending a garden is, above all, an experiment.  

below is a list of some of the new things that i'll be trying in this year's gardens:

:: start seeds indoors early.  this one is already in progress and you can read more about it here.
:: save seeds at the end of the season.
:: grow more medicinal herbs and do a better job of harvesting and using them.
:: grow plants to use for dyeing yarn or fabric (such as hollyhock, zinnias, marigolds, indigo).
:: grow enough of something to can or freeze, or otherwise preserve. (tomatoes maybe? or green beans?)
:: plant in containers.  i'm hoping to fill up my second floor balcony with containers filled with tomatoes, peppers, pole beans, and flowers.
:: grow potatoes in potato towers.  last year i tried growing them in burlap sacks, with moderate success.
:: try more vertical growing to deal with limited space.  i plan to build different types of trellises for squash, melons, cucumbers, and pole beans.
:: and here is my list of plants i'd like to try growing for the first time this year: radishes, arugula, onions, quinoa, amaranth, peas, melon, and more flowers (marigolds, zinnias, hollyhocks).

well, then, i guess that's a pretty healthy list, isn't it? what are your goals for this year's garden?


  1. Our goals look pretty similar! We are also growing quite a few firsts this year, and are off to a much better start with a 'plan' for our space. In our zone, we also have the possibility of year round gardening, which we began experimenting with last fall and is something we feel really excited about. Just having the simple luxury of garden kale all winter, made a huge difference on minimizing our shopping trips - and still does, as spring starts are just getting going.

  2. julia, i too never told you how much i loved your post:) our lists are a bit similar! i have been wanting to try potato towers for years now and have everything ready to do it. in fact i plan on posting about it on friday.
    i love that you are growing quinoa and amaranth. and you can never grow too much arugula in my book! xo