Looking Forward: The Garden

Tuesday, February 21, 2012
The seed catalogs have been piling up since the new year. Although I'm already anticipating this summer's garden, I haven't paid the seed catalogs too much attention yet. Really, I have enough seeds leftover from last year to take care of most of my seed starting needs and if I want to garden to save money, there's no reason to go all crazy with seed orders when I don't have to.

But now, as February starts fading into March and the sunset lingers farther and farther past 5:30 each evening, it's time to put some serious thought into what this year's seed order will actually entail since I'll be starting the first of the seeds in just over a month. (Oh sweet Hallelujah!)
I find I can't really plan out the seed order until I've plotted out a rudimentary plan for where everything's getting planted this year. Crops need to get rotated each year to get the most of soil and each year I learn something new that shapes the next year's garden. This year, I want to use the space in the raised bed we put in last year more effectively. Little things, like training the cucumbers up the fencing and planting spinach in the shady corner, will boost efficiency.

We'll also be moving the garden Andy put in two years ago over to a sunnier spot. While the installation of the garden was by far the sweetest thing anyone has ever done for me, after two years of battling an increasingly shady aspen tree, I am awarding victory to the aspen and we'll be using leftover supplies from last year's raised garden to put in a couple small raised beds where hopefully the onions will, at long last, prosper and thrive. (Longest sentence ever.) 

If I'd been a thinker, I would have actually saved seeds from last year's crop. However, this thought did not dawn on me until my friend Sarah visited last week, bringing with her cone flower and marigold seeds saved from one of her acquaintances' garden. Not that buying seeds is such a major expense, but free trumps cheap any day in my book. I'm glad to have such large reserves of seeds from last year; it helps me feel like I didn't totally miss the boat on the seeding saving thing. 

This year's order from the seed catalog (probably Seeds of Change, but I could be persuaded if anyone has a better suggestion) will be teensy tiny compared with last year's:
  • Tomatoes (Early Girls or . . . .)
  • Jalapenos 
  • Beans (bush)
  • Chard (Bright Lights)
  • Winter Squash (Butternut and Gold Nugget)
  • Seed starting mixture
I might throw in a early ripening melon if I'm feeling optimistic and I've thought about an early ripening eggplant too, although neither Andy or I are terribly crazy about the aubergine and its nutritional value is so low it seems like it wouldn't be worth the space.

My mom grew a bountiful crop of butternut squashes last year so I'm anxious to see how the winter squashes fare up here. The squash will be replacing one of the summer squash plants because as much as we all loved the summer squash (And yes we do still have some shredded zucchini in the freezer. Coincidentally, Andy actually just requested some chocolate zucchini bread, so that frozen zucchini is getting put to good use and I don't regret having spent the time shredding that last ginormous zucchini.) we eat (and enjoy) winter squash far more than we do summer squash.

Although I still stand by my belief that those initial zucchinis at least last summer were the most beautiful zucchinis I'd ever seen. . .

The pumpkins will also be giving up their space this year to make room for the winter squash. The pumpkins were great fun to watch grow last year, but they just didn't produce enough to justify their keep this year. 

Are you looking forward to this year's garden? What will you plant? When will you start your seeds?



  1. Soon! I will be starting my seeds soon and I can't wait. I'm actually just in the process of writing a post about this, for later this week. There is a seed trading/buying afternoon in Mid-March and I am hoping to get seeds the ones I don't already have) there. Including some heirloom tomatoes! So excited :D

  2. I wish you could come plant a garden for me..and keep it alive...and take care of it :) I never even knew seed catalogs existed!

  3. our peas have started growing, and we already have little green tomatoes. this girl from new england will never understand the SoCal growing season! i'm excited to see what you plant!

  4. Ada--- I think I have been reading your blog a little over a year now, because I seem to remember this process from last year! How exciting!

    I am not going to be starting a garden this year. Too much change a foot (details to come---- hoepfully soon). I wish I was... I would love to grow tomatoes and melon....

  5. I wish we had the space for a garden. I would love to grow some butternut squash!

  6. We only have a concrete slab, so I guess at best we could have a few potted veggies like tomatoes or peppers, but I long for the day when we can grow real veggies in our yard!

  7. Hi!

    Stopping over from the 'I love my Online Friends Monday Hop'.

    My husband and I recently moved due to a job opportunity for him, we had to move very quickly---so we are now in an apartment and won't have room for a nice garden this year. :(

  8. Mmm, still thinking about cutting down a few trees to let the light in so I can have a garden.

  9. This year, I am trying something new. I am going to push the limits of the weather here in Maine by growing in a hoop house. In early January, I ordered seeds from Johnny's Select Seeds (great varieties for northern states). I planted spinach, radishes, carrots and a few other greens in the hoop house under a row cover. Despite the outdoor temperatures hovering in the teens and twenties, the temperature under the row cover reaches 70 on a sunny day. That's good enough to germinate seeds! Who says, gardening in Maine doesn't start until June.

    May I suggest the Sweet Dumpling, winter squash. It is sweet and delicious. Definitely, worth the space.

  10. I just can't wait!! i bought tomatoes and cucumbers from the grocery store and they just were not nearly like a gardens produce! I will start the lettuce, spinach, radishes very soon..yea...can't wait...
    good luck in your garden too!

  11. I am looking forward to fresh basil for pesto making ... yum.

  12. I'm the world's luckiest slacker- my husband is a gardening fanatic so all I have to do is wander outside and pick what I want! But yes, he's got the plans drawn on his computer and we're prepping for the local plant society sales that start in March. This year it will be zucchini (and yours were gorgeous!), tomatoes, cukes, radishes, beans, and herbs.

    Visiting from the Not a Mommy blog hop.

  13. I wish I had any shade of green thumb but I am almost hopeless in the garden it seems. I clean up a whole nice section of my backyard last year to start a shade garden and hope to make big improvements on it this year. New Twitter follower from Wayback Wednesday blog hop; find me at http://potatochipcats.blogspot.com/ if you'd like to follow back :)


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