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.