Wednesday, January 25, 2012

my 2012 garden plans

Hi everyone,
I don't know about you, but I'm dreaming about this year's garden. Thought I would share some of my garden plans with you.

1. The first thing my husband and I did this month was to take an inventory of the seeds we already have. It's easy to get all starry-eyed looking at the seed catalogs and want to scoop up every variety in sight so we needed a game plan. Plus, some seeds last longer than others and we needed to take stock and see just exactly what was in our shoebox in our fridge.

If you're curious to know if your old seeds are worth planting, Fedco has a great chart in their catalog. Also, Margaret Roach has a nice post about seed viability over at her blog, A Way to Garden.

We created a simple spreadsheet that listed the varieties we had and whether we had a little or lot. We put a star by seeds that may not sprout due to age.

2. This year I bought most of my new seeds from a local source. I'm lucky to live in a town with a local seed company! Maybe you have a local seed company in your town, too. Check with your local co-op or garden club. I like supporting a local business and knowing that this grower did well with these varieties in my climate. In addition, this seed company grows varieties that are really hard to find in seed catalogs. I like that.

3. One of our big goals for this year is to improve soil fertility. We planted cover crops in the fall and added aged horse manure when we put the beds to sleep for the winter. In the spring, we'll need to add lime to our beds as our soil is acidic but we are also going to add tons of organic matter.

4. We keep a very simple garden journal and revisited it at the beginning of this year. We brainstormed ideas for the vegetables that really don't do well in the field garden and made notes on our spreadsheet about initial plans for where to plant each variety. For example, beans never do well in our field garden so they are going in the backyard garden this year.

5. We plant many many different vegetables and herbs and often try to squeeze more plants into a space than is wise. I'm going to grow some varieties in pots this year and see how they do.

6. On my wishlist are a cold frame and rain barrels. Don't miss Natalie's post from last year about cold frames.

7. I'm starting an herbalism program this spring so I'm hoping to add more herbs to our beds this year.

8. One new variety I'm excited to try is 'Musquee de Provence', a French heirloom winter squash. At our winter farmer's market, I had the most delicious soup made from this squash, pear, and garlic. So good and the variety is a good keeper. Over the course of the season, I'll write more about other new varieties we're trying in 2012.

Tell us your 2012 garden plans in the comments.


  1. i too am planning on some cold frames. i found a bunch of windows free on craigslist and my husband stripped the lead paint off.
    i have a bad habit of packing too much too close together. this year i'm going to minimize things and space things out more.
    and your herbalism class sounds amazing! would love to do something like that. i'm excited to hear more from you about what you learn.
    thanks for sharing your plans shari! i'm excited from spring!

  2. sigh- I'm also perusing seed catalogs. I did try a cold frame this year and it is nice to have some fresh arugula and more in this cold month (pic on our blog). I'm going to try to be a bit more organized in the way I plant things this year. We have a pretty curvy layout in our garden, so I'm going to have to get creative. :)

  3. just today i came across a couple of racks of seeds in a home-brew/home-grown (if you catch my drift) supply shop and found myself instantly getting all dreamy about this year's garden.
    i was quick to snap back to reality remembering the shambles that the garden was left in last fall. there is going to be a LOT of prep work to get things going again this spring: compost to sift and add to the beds, rhubarb to divide and transplant...oh the list is too long to share here. for now, i'm cutting off and washing out the bottoms of our milk jugs for starting seeds on the windowsills....soon...mid march!

  4. We will have a small gardening space this summer, for three months. I do not yet know the specifics of the space, so planning is a bit of a challenge. I know I want to use my time wisely and not end up waiting 90 days for all to mature and then harvesting everything in the end. My tentative plan is to plant a variety of greens that mature quickly, both greens for salads and for cooking. Kitazawa Seed Co. has an interesting selection of Asian seeds, lots of greens. I'm considering new-to-me seeds such as Red Komatsuna, Aka Shiso, and Tokyo Bekana. Many note "20 days baby leaf". Great! We'll also visit Mostly Natives Nursery and hope for some nice starts. If space allows, I will plant some carrots, radishes, and bunching onions (maybe a squash...maybe a Japanese turnip). Basically, practical everyday vegetables we'll want to eat often. I am crossing my fingers in hope of my space being larger and sunnier and less pest visited than hoped, but really, I'm so excited to be growing in my own little space again, any scrap of land will bring joy.

  5. This year is our first year for a garden of our own and I'm definitely at the starry-eyed, seed catalog looking stage...hopefully by this weekend I'll have the list whittled down to something slightly more realistic.

    And thank you for the cold frame link, I'm hoping to build one this summer for next fall/winter!

  6. This year we are opting out of our csa and making a go at growing all of our own for the season. We've grown in confidence and feel like we know now what grows well and what we use the most of. We've also gotten better at canning, freezing and drying so that there is less waste. In the Spring, that means onions, greens, spinach, peas, carrots, broccoli and kale. And the summer we'll grow corn, tomatoes, zucchini, squash, melons, beans, and more. We only have four large raised beds, but by growing a lot vertically, we get a good product from our small space. Yay for garden planning!

  7. Making the seed decisions is getting easier each year. Now I know that the winter squash I grew last year takes up too much space, so I'll try a bush variety (and take precautions against squash vine borers, yuck). Though I love lima beans, I can get fresh ones (shelled to boot!) at the farmers' market, so I'm going to try a different bean variety for drying.
    I'm looking forward to the herb discussions. I'm going to add caraway, fenugreek, and cumin to the herb standbys this year.
    The seed orders are placed, so now I waste a lot of paper drawing rotation schemes and trying to figure out how to schedule my spring, summer, and fall crops. Next task: set up my seed starting station.

  8. Just found your blog and can tell we're kindred spirits. :) Love hearing about your garden plans....we're starting to plan ours right now as well, and really looking forward to spring!

    Looks like you have a little more snow than we do at the moment (it's acting more like April than February, which makes it easy to get a little excited/ahead of ourselves...) Must keep reminding myself that winter's not over yet and we're bound to plunge into low temps once again before the real springtime arrives. :)

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