Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Gardening. {making plans}

Let's just go ahead and call this year's garden the Pregnant Edition. Over the last two years, I have really fallen in love with our little garden. I've learned what veggies we do and don't use enough of and that I absolutely love being able to cut fresh flowers every day. Last year, I started everything by seed and felt so proud of myself every time I harvested tomatoes or basil or peas. I grew this! From start to finish! All around, even the daily watering, gardening is just a fun process for me.
   At the end of last season, I had already started dreaming up this summer's garden. And then I got pregnant and decided to scale back a bit. I definitely have the energy right now to tackle it head on and start from seed again. But I have a feeling that energy is going to start dwindling any day. So, here is how I've kept my garden plans simpler and much more manageable for myself this year.

No starters inside// Last year, I took a chance on starting my seeds inside and loved the result. But this year, I've decided to just buy baby veggie plants at the nursery, transplant them, and call it a day. My mom thinks I'm crazy for starting things by seed, anyways, since baby plants are pretty cheap. But I did still start some flowers inside, because I love having a shorter wait for blooms!

Sticking with what I know// Last year, I tried out some new plants and experimented with placement  and such. This year doesn't seem like the best time to do that, so I'm sticking with tried and true veggies and just about the same layout that worked last year. Easy, simple, tried and true.

Asking for help// When I talk about our garden, I really mean my garden. It's not that Justin doesn't love fresh veggies, but he's not really into the garden situation. Specifically the upkeep or planning. Which works, because I love those parts! I usually trek to Tractor Supply, load up on compost mix, and weed/fill the garden space on my own each Spring. Well, I'm thinking that might not be the smartest this year, pregnant belly and all. So, I asked for a bit of help. Justin helped me pick up all my compost dirt this past weekend, and after I clean out the garden plot, he'll help me fill it. I think I can still handle the planting on my own...especially since that's my favorite part!

Ok, now let's get to the specifics. Just in case you're planning your first garden or just want to hear how I do things, here it is:

starters// Last year I used a plastic greenhouse for all my starters, since I had so many. I thought about doing it again this year for my flower starters, but went a cheaper route with these Jiffy Strips and soil. To give my seeds a 'greenhouse' effect and keep them moist, I just popped each tray into a storage-sized plastic bag. I have them on a windowsill in our bonus room- which gets full sun and is HOT. 

markers// I've found that I don't really need real plant markers once my plants are mature. I have a pretty small garden with only about 10 different veggies/herbs, so it's pretty easy to remember what is what. When things are itty bitty, though, it's hard to keep track. So I wrap washi tape around a toothpick and stick in it with my starters, and then wrap the seed packet with the same tape. Easy peasy.

storage// I have a lot of seeds from last year, most of which I'll use again this year. They can last forever if you store them right! I keep mine in this old recipe box. 

plan// Unless you want to get in over your head, it's good to start of simple. And plan everything out. I draw out my plot and where I want each plant to go. I keep my vining plants {squash, cucumber} in the back, along with my tomato bushes. Smaller, more compact plants, like basil, stay up front. Also, ALWAYS account for things to get big. I do this every year, and still end up being amazed at how big my tomato plants get! Spacing everything out is really key to not having an overcrowded garden.

All in all, I haven't made too many modifications. In my specific plans, I'm gearing up for even more flowers this year than last. I learned last year that I really, really love them. Once they're planted, they pretty much take care of themselves and are just gorgeous. Once summer hits and baby boy is here, I'll have to be extra intentional about making time to water and harvest. And probably leaning on Justin for a bit of help with that sort of upkeep. I can't imagine a summer without a garden, and even with this busy one coming up, I'm glad we'll still have one!

Do you have a garden? What are you planting this year? How simple do you keep things?


Chelsea E. said...

I'm itching to plant a garden, so I'm living vicariously through you! I plan to buy some starts once we move and grow a limited selection of herbs and veggies in pots. Once we buy a house, I'm sure I'll go a little crazy! I want a cutting garden so bad!! Can't wait to see your pretty garden as it grows.

Sarah Voorhees said...

We have a community garden at our apartment complex and I was thinking of doing one this summer. I have been researching, but still have a lot of questions. Thanks for the helpful post!