To Start or to Sow?

Each February, hubby and I get so excited about the next season’s garden.  Each February, we also chastise ourselves for the ridiculous failures of the previous season whilst ordering WAY to many seed packets.

*sigh*

People, it’s a problem.

This year will mark our 3rd growing season on the Farm and we ‘hope’ that it will be our most productive.  Hubs spent hours reviewing our planting plan from last year, yields (they were meager at best) and outlined a plan for this season based on rotational plantings that would hopefully bring our productivity back to where it should be.  He researched soil testing,  the best ways to amend soil to be the viable for general vegetable production as well as checked into varieties that would work well in a companion planting environment that was based on intensive methodology and regulated maintenance. Mic drop? Carrot drop? The man is a research beast, everyone.

In other words, let’s just say, he totally left me in the dust when it came to preparing for this year’s garden. THANKFULLY.  Seriously, he is such an incredible partner in homesteading grime. Yeah, he also puts up with my sense of humor, too. #lucky.

garden1
2018 Planning (not shown: potato boxes, corn bed on the hilltop)

I don’t think I could have done as thorough of a job, or really found the time to invest into preparation that he did.  The challenges of a retail career significantly limit my time during the 4th quarter of the year, so his dedication to this analysis, research and forethought is so appreciated…. and thanks to it, I don’t feel like we will be throwing spaghetti at the wall this year and hoping for great yields.

trays
trays ready for seeds, overlooking where they will live in a few months!

When March arrived, so did our seeds. This year we decided to buy 100% from Seed Savers Exchange who “conserve and promote America’s culturally diverse but endangered garden and food crop heritage for future generations by collecting, growing, and sharing heirloom seeds and plants.”

May Seeds
slowly converting our seed catalog to all heirloom/heritage

When you garden, there are many methods, but usually it boils down to two:

  1. THROW IT IN THE GROUND
  2. PLAN PLAN PLAN PLAN PLAN PLAN PL- (you get it, right?)

We opted to plan more this year. Paying more attention to when to start seeds, when to transplant and which seeds we could direct sow so there was less of a tug on the wallet thanks to those pesky (read: EXPENSIVE AF) grow lights that kill our bills and eat up our solar production offset. We started approximately 140 plants in March and are gearing up to start our next set of April starts over the next few weeks.

After almost a month, we have a very healthy group of March starts:

  • Bok choy
  • Georgia Collards
  • Fennel
  • 13 different tomato varieties
  • Purple & Amarylla tomatillos
  • 9 different pepper varieties (hot and sweet)
  • Romanseco
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli

 

In a few weeks we will start (just a quick grow in the greenhouse then right out into the chilly weather for early spring harvesting):

  • Kale
  • Big Boston Lettuce
  • Arugula
  • Spinach
  • Chard

 

Everything else we plan to direct sow (May-Jun and later for our fall plantings):

  • Beets
  • Radishes
  • Sweet Peas
  • Beans (snap and dry this year)
  • Corn (sweet and dry this year)
  • Carrots
  • Squashes & Pumpkin
  • Melon
  • Cucumber
  • second spinach
  • second kale
  • second arugula
  • second (an third radishes)

 

As I stated at the beginning of this post, this is what we HOPE will yield us a productive garden this year. Although we technically have a farm, I would never call us farmers… (we pale in every light against the skill and fortitude of those that farm for a living) so I’ll just say that any GARDENER worth their salt will tell you that growing food is more of a… NUANCED sport. There are many W’s and L’s each season which overall will leave you either ecstatic at what was a banner season or traumatized by the plagues that hit you at every turn. Us? We are the ever optimistic underdogs, bolstering our confidence with practice, planning and post-season debriefs.  We work to eventually hit that sweet spot and land in the big leagues (or at least the league where we can hold our own and maybe even get into a Farmer’s Market…) Why? Well, in short, it’s freakin’ FUN and very rewarding to grow your own, even with all the distress, heartache and frustrations that come with trying to grow your own. Honestly, it FEELS good to do it, however successful you are.

So….. to start or to sow? How do you grow?

Ladybug Helper
Thanks, lady 🙂

 

 

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