Thursday, February 3, 2011

Planning the Gardens - 2011

Well, today is rain-rain-rain! Had hoped to get out for some garden 'spring-cleaning', but that will just have to wait a bit longer. Sometimes it's hard not to get too eager & excited for spring.

What I am doing instead is planning my planting calendar. I tend to be obsessively organized & regimented when it comes to certain aspects of gardening. I print off one page for each month & mark in my moon phases (as it was pointed out to me a while ago to be in-tune with how many aspects of how Mother Nature works, it's important to know where the moon is... it also gives you an excuse to get outside on clear nights & do some star-gazing). I have a column for starting seeds INDOORs and another for seeding directly OUTDOORs.

Then I mark down in each month when & how to plant my seeds. I've had some interesting 'weeds' come in with transplants that I pick up from nurseries, so I'm very hesitant to purchase plants & like the hands-on feeling of planting seeds each year.

Last year, I used the Farmer's Almanac planting dates (these are for 2011) which uses an estimate for last frost date & a weather prediction & the phases of the moon. It was fun & a great learning tool. But, I had a dismal crop of everything except peas, lettuce & tomatoes.

This year I will use the West Coast Seeds planting calendar which is much more broad & interestingly enough has later planting dates than the Farmer's Almanac on a lot of veggie seeds.


I read a few days ago (Why Vegetables Bolt Early in the Spring) from Garden Wise magazine that gave me a few moments of pause, followed by an 'Ah-ha' moment. I planted too early last year & when things got hit by the frost on May 1st, they were unable to recover.

So, this year, I will take things a bit slower (which may allow me to work on the larger projects first) & hopefully I will realize a better, if not larger, harvest during the summer & into the fall.

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