I can’t believe February’s almost half-done, & time for some frantic garden prep…

I spent the past day getting all my garden seeds together, and all day today planning what to grow in the coming months. I didn’t expect it to take so long, but it was because of the same reasons that always get me in projects like this: impatience, enthusiasm, curiosity, and over-estimating my abilities.

I used my garden planner app to lay out what needed to go where when I finally got the beds back together. I mean, they’re made of concrete blocks, so not destroyed or anything, but the area needs serious weeding. I was working on that for a couple of days before the temperature dropped like crazy. So yesterday was spent trying to stay out of the wind and rain best I could and planning the garden. And today was drier, but not much different otherwise. The difference was I filled the gaps in my garden supplies so I could spend all day doing what I needed with what I had.

And boy, it took more work than I thought it would because I have SO many different types of plants and seeds. I wanted to have a lot of some things and make room for some others… but the first two plans I had were just too grandiose. I mean, I have quite a bit of square footage and planters to play with, just in skinny beds rather than standard sizes, which makes gathering items together and crop-rotation a bit interesting.

I was also trying to figure out the best way I could do a variant of the “three sisters” growing method for corn, beans, and squash. I am super interested, but since I don’t have a normal setup, I’m trying other ideas that will let the plants grow where they need to. Of course, as the weather improves, I’ll go out and take measurements and get a better feel where things must go, but the planner will go for now.

I just had to keep scaling back my ambition. I finally discovered it a few hours ago, what I needed to focus on: what do I already eat now, and what would I want to eat the next few months. I wouldn’t make a lick of sense to put all new stuff I’d never had before (and might not enjoy) in the beds. I have oodles of tomato seeds in my collection, but I don’t really need four different tomatoes growing (peppers are a different story). I figured two different kinds with two planters each would work best to get the most yield I can. I hope to get tons of tomatoes and make sauce and can them this year. Next year, perhaps, I’ll plant cucumbers and make my own pickles. But I need to focus on the simplest in the meantime.

So, I scaled it back… which meant I cut out about half what I planned. I tried to have some variety, though, in the planning, like several types of beans (but plenty of each so I don’t end up with just a handful), two different types of carrots, lettuce, spinach, corn, melons, onions… lots of possibilities.

And I haven’t even picked out my herbs, yet, for my kitchen planter garden by the window (sigh).

But it’s all stuff I know I’ll enjoy and eat, rather than an experiment that just sits there. The hard part will be learning how to properly pick and harvest, and store the materials and for how long. I never got to learn much of that last year and paid for it as the squirrels took what I didn’t have space for or wasn’t ready to pick yet because I didn’t know what I should to determine ripeness.

Well, lots of reading up and asking questions this year, so it’s going to be interesting. I have to spend at least a week getting the beds good and ready, and add more soil, but that’s why I started seed pods at least. While they’re enjoying the warmth of the house in this bitter cold time, they’ll get a head start (and not so easily plucked out and destroyed by the vermin) and I can make corrections before digging in the yard.

So, the great food experiment has commenced. I hope this year is far better than the last, with learning and good food galore.

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