Anticipating gardening season

A wise gardener anticipates June in January
Author unknown

This is the opening statement in my newest book on gardening, Momma’s Guide to Growing your Groceries , by Kimberly Eddy (an ebook I recently purchased from Biblical Womanhood). As a fairly novice gardener, I can see the wisdom in this statement, since it will likely take me all winter to feel like I even have a mild grasp on what I am doing once I get going in the spring!

This is only my second year gardening (well, I tried briefly in patio boxes when we lived in Japan, but let’s not talk about that unfortunate experience). Two years ago I had a large 16 x 16 ft plot in an organic community garden, which was both an incredibly invigorating as well as extremely difficult challenge. I successfully harvested some respectable amounts of lettuce, carrots, green beans, tomatoes (oh, the tomatoes!), hot peppers, and a bit of cucumber and zuchinni. The squash, broccoli and cauliflower, peas, bell peppers and herbs? Hmmm, not so much. I learned many (many, many) valuable lessons!

As January creeps by, I am trying to fit in pockets of time for garden planning. This year I hope to be much more purposeful in my planting, and am hoping to have much extra for canning, freezing, etc. I also have the added benefit this year of having moved into a house, with a good-sized backyard and an adequately large garden area sectioned off (I believe it’s around 8 x 18 ft, though I need to properly measure it).

I have been devouring this gardening ebook, as well as my trusty Square Foot Gardening, and also referencing the classic How to Grow Vegetables and Fruits by the Organic Method (any other recommended reads for an novice gardener?). The image for this post came from a site I just discovered called You Grow Girl , which I am eager to check out more! I’m also on the lookout for heirloom seeds, and have already found some in Azure’s winter sale catalog, which I plan to order next week, and hope to find a good site where I can order some other varieties of seed.

Oh yes, I would also love any direction in setting up my own composter. I’m just itching to get one going, but extremely lacking in know-how. How big, what type to buy, how to turn it, etc. Any tips for me?

How about you? Are you planning to garden this year? And if so, have
you started preparing? Any tips or lessons learned from previous years
that you’d like to pass on, or any resources for gardening supplies
that you think are fantastic?

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  1. I’m really looking forward to doing some gardening this year. We had been trying to sell our house since March ’06 (unsuccessfully), so the past two summers I haven’t done anything. We have incredibly rocky soil, making it difficult to plant anything so I think I’m going to opt for container gardening on the deck. No composting tips, but my husband is really fascinated with worm bins, and we might do that. Supposedly they are easier to set up, smell less and turn over faster than traditional compost. I haven’t done much research on my own yet, but that might be something to check out. Good luck!

  2. Sadly, current home has no place for a vegetable garden. In the past I have loved Territorial Seeds as a source for both seeds and growing advice for the NW. Good luck!

  3. I don’t have the yard space to have a garden right now. I am hoping when we move in a couple of years to have a yard big enough for one. I have great memories of helping my parents with their garden when I was a child. We also had a strawberry patch and a pear tree.

    I am going to check out some of your references for future use.

  4. Hi Carol, thanks for the worm bin tip. I will look into that! Hope your house sells soon!

    That’s too bad you can’t have a garden, Pieces. I will definitely check out Territorial Seeds- thanks!

    Tami, I have memories of gardening too, with my grandparents. Having my own garden two years ago, with my little girl running around and “helping” was so special that I’m even more eager to really learn how to do it well!

  5. You can make your own compost bin for FREE! Use discarded wooden transport pallettes for your bins. Take four pallettes and nail them together to make a box. Place 3-4 of your bins together in a line. As your wastes decompose, transfer them to the next box over, by the time you get to the end box, you’ll have rich organic compost! Toss in a handfull of worms and you’re good to go!

  6. Rather than just lurk I will let you know that I found you through “Rocks in My Dryer” and ended up perusing many of your entries on budget and finances, etc. Your motives seem to be so biblically sound and it is so inspiring to witness how you’re making them work for you!

  7. I tried to grow a garden last year. It was really sad. All my seedlings were coming up beautifully and then all the wild rabbits ate them all up. I was very very sad (I had a young baby, so it was a big sacrifice for me to go and work in the garden). Anyone know what to do, if I want to try again (which I would like too!)

  8. I grew heirloom tomato plants last year in my basement with a heating pad to start growth and, florescents for light. I grew peppers, tomatoes, zuchhini, broccoli and a few flowers. In the garden I grew green beans. If you start early you can grow 3-4 crops. One right after another. I got in two. I put up quite a few beans in the freezer we purchased last year. You can also buy local grown, organic sweet corn and freeze it. I put up 30 dz last year and we’re still eating it. I have a strawberry patch and, I will put in two new fruit trees this year. Our yard if very small also.
    Our compost bin is simple. Its just plastic coated yard fencing bent into a square. We put all yard waste, except sticks, and we put the kitchen waste in their also. Don’t put any meat in it though. It will draw rodents and, it doesn’t decompose quickly. Just get a pick fork and open one end and turn it every week. It does take one season to decompose though. But, it is nice in the Spring to get that rich soil and put it in the garden.
    You can find some heirloom seeds on Seed Exchange and, Heirloom Seed Swappers. Just give it a google.
    Good luck and if you have any more questions. I can try to answer them.

  9. Welcome Jolyn, thanks for delurking!

    Joann and Michelle, thanks for the great tips!

    Awww, Kimi, that is so sad! I would have been upset, too. I gardened when Abbie was 1, and it was a lot of work with a little one. I guess I am back in that place again this summer, with a little one under 1, but at least he has a sister to help keep him busy! I hope that you try again, and actually get to see the fruits of your labor!

  10. Good luck with your gardening. I am also going to try gardening this spring. This is my first house and we have a great big yard. I would also like to try composting and it just confuses me right now. We’ll see how it goes. I really enjoy your blog. Good luck with everything.

  11. Thank you, Jessica- I hope that your gardening goes well also! And when I learn more about composting, I’ll post about it! 🙂

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