In January and February, many avid gardeners take a little break from the garden. However, they don’t rest completely. They’re busy indoors, planning for the rest of the gardening year. I’m talking about seed catalogues. Planning the garden and ordering or swapping seeds is one of the gardener’s joys in the winter season. Here are a few tips as you scheme for a garden season that is even better than the last.
Determine What Produce Works in Your Garden
Assess what worked and what didn’t. I want to grow tomatoes – badly. I have a semi-shade garden space. I have not given up yet, but every year I try out a different variety of early tomato and hope for sun. This year I am changing my strategy. I’ll be growing the tomatoes in a greenhouse on our sunnier deck space. If nothing in your garden has changed, stop banging your head against nature’s green wall and think of different ways to meet your produce needs.
Consider Changes in the Vegetable Garden
Has anything changed in your garden? If your garden has more sun than before because a tree fell down, now is the time to try produce that loves to grow in the sun. If a tree has been gradually shading the vegetable patch, it’s a good idea to prune or try shade-loving greens like mizuna.
Plan for a Strategic Vegetable-Producing Season
Think about what you need and when you need the produce. We have a farm share that begins in July, so we have a lot of produce from mid-July to late October. I supplement the farm share by growing vegetables that it does not provide and I focus on early greens that I can harvest before July. What produce do you eat, and when do you need it the most?
Consider when your garden works well for you and what you need to improve. You may get a lot of produce in the heat of the July summer, but perhaps you want produce earlier in the season as well. Think about when you want your produce and how you can use the space to achieve this.
Maximize Garden Space
Think about what crops grow when and how you can maximize your garden space. Unless you live on an acreage, you probably have limited garden space. This means that it is a good idea to plan your garden over the gardening season so that one produce crop follows another. Last year I made the mistake of allowing potatoes to monopolize a good portion of a garden bed for most of the spring and summer and early fall. This year, I will move them into pots and leave the garden plot open for a succession of early and later greens.
Plan for Perennial Fruits and Vegetables
Is there any way you can do what you do with perennials or self-sowing crops? If you want to cut down on the maintenance that your garden requires, help your garden maintain itself with perennials and self-sowing crops. I love my sorrel, borage, strawberries and even my mint for the fact that I don’t need to buy and plant them from seed every year. They just grow.
What are your plans for garden produce this year?