I’m an old, old thing and so is this spreadsheet! It’s from a post I did a few years ago and is still one of the number one ways people find this silly garden blog.
I like to talk to people about gardens. When I’m talking to people who want to have a vegetable garden, but haven’t started one, I very often hear them say that they just don’t know when to plant things. I also hear people who are somewhat seasoned gardeners who struggle. This spreadsheet will tell you when to start your seeds, when to plant outdoors and when to plant again.
There are lots of planning calendars out there. This one isn’t perfect, but it allows you to customize it off of your own last frost dates. If you’re not sure when your last/first frost dates are, use this… it can help.
My goal this gardening season is to get some small hoops up over at least one of my garden beds. I’ve been reading about how to grow greens through the winter and it’s really about two warm and comfy layers – a warm row cover and a greenhouse. It’s simple enough to create a small hoop house covered in greenhouse plastic. Even I should be able to construct that!
And it’s equally easy to use row covers. You can see a couple of my garden sections covered with a light row cover in this picture. These row covers add some protection against the cold. It’s not a lot of protection (these are very light row covers) but it’s enough to protect against the cold nights for my lettuce and broccoli.
Using these light row covers at this time of year is a good idea – mostly because they keep out pests and blowing weed seeds. If you’re not using row covers, give it a shot. There’s nothing to it. They allow in water and sunlight and keep out the bad stuff!
We’ll see how it goes this winter when I build the layer system. But for now, the light row covers are helping my plants get a jump start.
I’m probably one of, I don’t know, 16 million people linking to this article by Michael Pollan in the NY Times Magazine. In it, he covers why we should bother trying to do things to improve the earth. And the majority of his point is spent covering why it should be more than switching our evil, energy consuming lightbulbs into less evil, less energy consuming lightbulbs. Plant a garden says Mr. Pollan.
The general scientific consenus is that the climate is changing and that man has had an impact. For many, this still feels unsettled, but… it’s settled.
Pollan’s comments on growing gardens (with a lot of history included) is fun to read as is always the case with him. Check it out. Feel good about your gardens.
In fact, feel smug.
It’s time I think. Nights are still frequently below freezing here, but spring is definitely here. The lawn is getting green and we’re getting a lot of rain. It’s time to get the garden going.
This year I am expanding. My garden last year was only at 17 x 13. This year it’s going to be 24 x 24 with more traditional rows. This means that I need to pull out the chicken wire fence and start over. I’m not going to create a permanent, nicer fence yet – I want to make sure this year goes well and I’m not exactly sure what the new size is going to mean for sun exposure.
But at any rate, I’ve got tilling to do, compost to add, topsoil to add and trellises to build. No big deal! It can all happen. Next weekend, it’s time to plant.
I’ll be chitting my potatoes tomorrow too. I’ll take pictures and post that.