garden planning


The 2016 Growing Season is already in the works. There aren’t many things as exciting in the winter time as studying seed catalogs, mapping out planting beds, and putting together seed orders.

The recent snows only got me daydreaming about this



Do you have your gardens all planned out and seed orders placed yet? Trying anything new?


Just got a song in my head and cannot get rid of it…which in most cases can be annoying, but in this case, I really don’t mind. It’s one of my favorite songs; fully of alliteration.

It came to me while I sat noshing on my dinner at my desk, gazing out the window. Rhythmic beats of the gutter dripping rain water on the metal roof below. Out the window, a hawk suddenly landed. If it were a little brighter out, I’d be posting a picture of him. Majestic! He stool fearless in the middle of the front yard, unfazed by rain. Glad I got to see him! Which led me to thinking of these lyrics…with a little poetic license…

Wordlessly watching she waits by the window and wonders, at the empty place outside (I’m thinking of my garden blank slate)

Heartlessly helping herself to her bad dreams, she worries, did she hear a goodbye (see ya winter)? Or even hello (hiya spring)?

Anyway. Those aren’t the real lyrics to Helplessly Hoping, but they are my twisted version to apply to gardening.

What exactly is going on right now? Well, a little of nothing, a bit of waiting, a lot of anticipation…and in between…some tillage, some list making, some plans of attack, and some seed starting.

Here is what is in the works: over 5 thousand onion starts, over 4 hundred leeks, over 4 hundred cabbages (with 400 more to go), bed prep for more asparagus, and fingers crossed for a dry weekend so some serious garden work can happen.

Tilling in spring weeds

Tilling in spring weeds

I love spring.


Sorry for the silence

So sorry for the radio silence. Awkward. Boring. It isn’t that nothing has been going on…or that too much has happened. Instead, we’ve fallen somewhere in the middle.

We did a small piece of travel and caught up with some farming friends.

Had a big stretch of garden planning and placing of orders (seeds are arriving each day, by the way).

As always, multiple jobs to boost our infrastructure are underway, all at once, with the ultimate challenge being how we find the time to fully complete at least one or two.

The pig is ever growing in size as is our future heifer…both with new housing / fencing needs.

Winterizing the garden is….STILL going on (oopsy on my end).

And…oddly enough, you can sense the impending change of seasons.

How about you? What excitement have you seen?


All is quiet on the ridge

It has been a little while since our last post, but strong cold spells tend to put a halt to one’s outdoor efforts and ambitions.

So, while the ground is frozen and the temperatures fall…what is left to do for prepping a garden?


Yes, this post is not at all exciting. There are no fun photos. Little actual activity. But this part of garden preparations is just as important as all the physical stuff.

Here is what is going on right now while we try to keep warm and snug inside…

1. Crop rotation. Being a visual person, I always have to sketch out what has been where and the next spot it can go. Crop rotation is an essential challenge. To help minimize accumulation of pests or depletion of soil nutrients, we try our best not to put crops from the same family in the same spot year after year. With our current setup, we should be able to perform a 4 year rotation, meaning, for instance, that it should take 4 years of moving around the garden before tomato plants make it back to the spot where we first planted them.

2. Crop plan. Once the crop rotations are smoothed out, the crop plan pretty much is developed. Another important component to developing this plan, however, is the results of the previous season. No need including something that we couldn’t grow well or that didn’t sell. All of that harvest and sales data was entered into a spreadsheet over the fall. For the tentative crop plan, again…I have to have a picture, so I map out the layout and where everything is supposed to be located in all the fields. Closely coupled with the crop plan is the seed starting schedule, the planting schedule and the succession plant. I feel pretty good about the seed starting schedule (though we will be testing a new growing area this year). The planting and succession calendars don’t always work out how I like. Still, it is always good to at least have a plan.

Snap shot

Snap shot

3. Seeds and supplies. Currently in the works are the season’s seeds and supplies orders. At this point in time, all of the information comes together to plan what we want to grow in the 2015 season. We have to consider all the seasons, all our successes and anything we want to experiment (there always has to be something new to try).

It is at this point that feedback is valuable and influential. So…with that in mind…

are there items you’d like to see us grow? Are there things we should stop growing?

What are your garden plans?