It’s nearing the end of January and that means it’s time to start the first garden-related activity of the year. Time to go through the seed catalogues and decide what to plant and where to plant it.
Burpee seed catalog is usually my first choice but there are many other sources out there.
Browsing the seed catalogues is a particularly pleasant activity this time of year because it’s cold, grey, and wintery outside (well, this year was strange because of the delayed winter but it’s finally here) and the photos inside the seed catalogues by contrast always seem to depict halcyon summer days. The vegetable pictures are usually the best – featuring many images of ripe, plump, tender, fleshy orbs of tomatoes, hanging pendulously on the vine (huh, the pages are stuck together – wonder how that happened? )….but I digress….
Last year’s big garden disappointment here was the sweet corn (lost most to moles/critters) so this year I’ve decided to go into cool weather vegetables in a big way: lots of cabbage, peas, spinach, broccoli, chard, lettuce, and radishes. Pumpkins worked out well last year (I STILL have a pumpkin we grew in our garden sitting on the kitchen counter with a witch, turkey, Xmas tree, and an hourglass painted on it – hoping it’ll make it to Valentines Day) and I’ll probably grow a couple of them as well. I’m glad I didn’t plant a lot of tomatoes last year, as I understand the crop was somewhat disappointing for many other area growers. This year, though, I have a hunch is going to be a good year for tomatoes so I’ll probably plant 8 or 10 and have enough for salsa, ketchup, and canning to get us through next winter.
One other thing that worked out quite well last year was starting everything from seed indoors – the only transplants I bought from a greenhouse were a few replacement plants. This year I’m going to anticipate a few replacements and start a few extra plants so I hopefully won’t have to visit the greenhouses at all. Mrs. Maister has in years past usually spent in the neighborhood of $100 when she bought her flower flats. Last year I started a flat of zinnias indoors and they transplanted/grew wonderfully. I’ll try to start six or seven flats from seed this year and see if I can’t keep her under $20 this time.
I actually map out on graph paper where I intend to plant everything. I’ll bet I’m not the only planner-type who maps out their proposed garden layout each year. A big change appearing on the map this year will be the addition of an 8' x 4' section exclusively for herbs.
So what are y’all planning for your upcoming gardens this year?