January is the time to start your garden planning, get organized and get ready for spring.
Well, here it is January. Here in zone 5a, that means everything is frozen solid, buried under a pile of snow and planning to stay that way for a few more months. Our last frost date here is generally June 1, so I make sure I don’t put anything delicate in the ground until the following weekend. However, in the dead of winter, one of my favorite things to do is to start my garden planning! I start by get all my seeds sorted and flipping through the pile of beautiful seed catalogs that magically appear in my mailbox every January. (A gift from God to give me a glimmer of hope and keep me sane in the dark, cold days, perhaps?)
So, what have I been up to lately? Well, first I got my mess of seeds that were all stuffed in a box sorted out and filed neatly in a couple old CD cases I had. It’s not a perfect system, but it’s definitely an improvement.
As I was doing that, I also tossed some really old seeds that I’m sure were not viable anymore. (we’re talking some as old as 9 years old here!) Many of my packets are expired, but quite often they remain viable much longer than the plant before dates. I’ll test seed viability on a few before I sow them.
Next up, I need to decide what I want to plant and how to plant it. This is quite a task, as I need to look over last year’s grocery expenses and see what produce I’m spending a lot of money on that I can grow and preserve myself and determine how much I think I’ll need. (Yes, I actually track where every cent of our grocery money goes. Mr Canuck thinks I’m nuts.) Then I can flip through those glorious seed catalogs and decide what to order – squeeeee! my favorite part!
Now that that’s done, it’s time to review my garden plot diagram and plan what goes where in the garden. Last year, I had a brilliant plan, based on optimal crop rotations and companion plantings and…that went right out the window. I ended up just starting at one end and planting out my plants in the order that they went out. So that meant the first row was broccoli, next came peas, then beets and so on. This year I’m hoping to stick to my plan.
Based on last year’s layout:
This is the garden plan I’ve come up with for this year:
A medicinal herb garden is poking around at the back of my mind these days too. I wildcraft several medicinal plants that grow wild on our property, but there are a few more I’d like to plant. Given how busy I am spring, summer and fall with my current vegetable garden, the small fruit orchard, the bees and whatever livestock we happen to be raising that year, I’m wondering if adding yet another garden will put me over the edge, though. A girl can dream though!
How are your garden plans going this winter? Leave your garden planning tips in the comment below.
P.S. This post is linked up with Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop