My best garden ever is planned in January.
Sitting by the wood stove, cat in my lap, dog at my feet, thumbing through seed catalogs planning and dreaming of juicy tomatoes, fresh herbs, and tall stalks of corn. In this garden in my head, I have no bugs, no disease, no shortage of sun and rain, and plenty of time to take care of it all. Hey, dreamers gotta dream.
But, for those of us that have gardened for a long time, you know all these factors never happen at the same time. New gardener’s go into gardening with high expectations of growing enough food to feed not only their family but the whole neighborhood as well. And, although I applaud these efforts and ambitions, it’s just not realistic and just might defeat your gardening spirit altogether. I don’t want that.
So, if you are new to gardening, or have decided to try gardening again, take time now to really think about what you want from the garden. How much space do you have? If not much, can you can grow tomatoes, peppers, herbs, or flowers in pots on your patio? Are you wanting to devote part of your yard for a garden or flower bed? Do you want just veggies or just flowers? How will you break the ground? Is the soil good or will you need to bring in some topsoil? How much sun reaches your garden area? All veggies need about 6 hours of sun a day. Do you have a water source nearby? Drought conditions can halt garden production very quickly. And most important–how much time do you have to devote to gardening?
Although this is a lot to think about at once, tackling one issue at a time should make life a little easier. Let’s start with time.
When I started gardening years ago, my boys were still young. Time spent in a garden was not there. I think I had one small flower bed that had a couple of tomato plants thrown in. That was it and that was enough. As they got older and began to drive, they stopped asking me to take them places and left me at home. Kicked me out of the loop. They were too cool to hang out with mom. They didn’t need me anymore. You see where this is going. So, to keep myself from crying because they abandoned me, and worrying about their well-being constantly, my pity party turned into a garden.
I now had a little more time to spend in the garden and I have to admit it was very therapeutic.
The flower bed grew a little bigger. I needed to do raised beds because we have about one inch of topsoil before hitting rock. I wanted to use native stone for a border so that meant time looking for the “right” rocks.
I prepared the site, planted the site, mulched the site, and weeded the site. Time, time, time, and time. Fortunately, all of this work does not have to be done at the same time.
While it’s easy to plan an elaborate garden in the middle of winter, try to fast forward to spring and summer and think of all the activities your family participates in. My plan is not to discourage you from gardening, just to realize that it can be time consuming depending on what you want to achieve. It can be done, it has been done. It just takes some planning. I want you to succeed!
Just a little something to think about if you have some time on your hands.
Your friend in the garden,