It WILL be Spring! Not for a while but it will come, as promised in less than 2 months – March 20 – yay! Which means there is plenty of time to start the garden planning! I have mapped out my plan and purchased seeds from Crosman’s in East Rochester – they have been in the family owned local seed biz since 1838. I love their history and am in awe of the tenacity and wisdom it takes to make that happen. I got lots of great planting stories from Justine, Corkey and Dierde when I was there in Friday – wise and fun women working the office while we were all Talking Seeds. Good times. They sell their seeds there off The Seed Rack, most of them for around $1 a pack and have numerous other retail sites at other local businesses. More info here – go there! http://www.crosmanseed.com/
Now back to planning – I made 4 (2 x 8′) raised beds years ago when I expanded my garden from 7 x 7′ to 7 x14′ – I also shifted the beds 90 degrees to take more advantage of the how the sun moves in that space and put a better fence around the space. Over the years, I have learned what will grow (and NOT) in that space and have fine-tuned it to the above goodies. I like all of these and I have had good luck with them. Green beans were good too but I am not going to manifest those this year. I had minimal luck with brussels sprouts, peas, melons and squash so now rely on my farmer friends Fimka and Larry for these gems. I also have 6 black walnut trees in my Back 40 which make the soil – even in the beds – that may or may not have been the reason and certainly I am not blaming them! I count those trees as my Friends.
More than you need to know about Black Walnut Trees here: https://www.hort.purdue.edu/ext/HO-193.pdf
If you are starting from scratch – here is my contribution to a step by step plan…be sure to seek out your local experts at the garden store, farm market, and Cooperative Extension (yay Cornell for us in Upstate NY). Big Box Store aversion aside – I have also gotten kind and helpful advice from the garden folks at Home Depot!
OK – hope this helps….
1. Start now! Look at websites for ideas – also Pinterest and even Etsy! Take some time to hang around the garden stores and smell the dirt. You will be refreshed!
2. Budget – I could spend $1000 just thinking about my garden…AND I reigned in to about $100 for seeds, soil, gloves and a few plants…it might be more for you if you are starting fresh…it is astonishingly easy to overspend – this is a fun hobby for me and if that is or becomes true for you – beware! Having said that – start buying a bag of soil now and then and it wont be such a big cost all at once. I need 8 bags of soil – and I am buying 1 a week….that takes me into mid-March – yay!
3. Garden Map – Based on how much space you have and where you will plant, will you do raised beds? Maybe you don’t need them? Maybe pots on the porch for tomatoes? Growing ANYTHING no matter how small or how slowly you start is GREAT. To humbly quote Ron Finley “LA Guerilla Gardener” – “Growing your own food is like printing your own money” – huh. View his TED Talk here:
And take a look at this interactive planing site for more inspiration
4. What to plant, what to plant? Well, what do you like? What does your family or friendship circle like? Need sun or shade or both? Start with a few things or maybe a theme to keep it manageable – a salad garden? a pizza garden? a salsa garden? all herbs for grilling and roasting? YUM.
5. Raised Beds – the bigger the garden the more time it will take to maintain it – as a consideration you can buy ready to go kits on line, or pre-made boxes OR DIY! I favor beds over planting right in the ground for several reasons – better soil, more control over what grows where and it looks nice! I found this cool site for DIY beds and all kinds of 4×4 themed gardens – good stuff!
6. Tools – my go to tools are – hand trowel, hand weeder, large and small metal rake, hoe and a wheelbarrow. Start looking now and maybe make a small purchase or 2 for the next few months. There is a great second-hand tool shop in Fairport, NY Tool Thrift Shop – raising thousands of dollars for SOFI (Senior Options for Independent Living) – yes!
7. Decor – I am all for a garden that you like the looks of! AND this is the easiest place to overspend…Brace yourself for the pending arrival of garden gnomes (no that there is anything wrong with garden gnomes), statues, stakes, signs, ornaments, spinners, and lights….on and on! Keep on the alert for unusual items you can repurpose for decoration – my wonderful neighbors Joetta and Kurt are EXPERTS at this. Old metal tubs for planter, old chairs hanging on the fence, old muffin tins and vintage pots for planters. Buy used and buy a story instead of something everyone else has.
Happy Planning and Sweet Garden Dreams to you! Have a Nothing New Day! ~Kristin