I can’t believe we are staring the New Year in the face. What a perfect opportunity to carve out a little time to reflect on the past year – favorite moments, hurdles overcome, and lessons learned. What do you want to carry with you or let go as you enter 2016?
So what better opportunity than now to specifically reflect on this last year of gardening? Plus, a great way to start planning your 2016 garden.
- Started the Seed and Sprout blog one year ago – I am thrilled that I took the time to reflect each month and share my learnings with all of you. You don’t have to have a blog to document your gardening progress and learnings, consider a garden journal for 2016.
- Used a garden cover (cloche) – Last March I received a fabulous birthday gift – my Dad built me the structure to use a cover on my garden bed. It was easy to construct and well worth the small time and effort investment. My veggies in this bed were much more protected from pests and larvae, they lasted longer (my greens lasted into November), and the neighbor’s cat stayed away. This would be a great birthday present for my second bed (hint, hint).
- Soil is the key – I am continually reminded that healthy, nutrient rich soil is the key to a bountiful and nutritious harvest. I could have started preparing my soil for planting earlier last year, so this year I will plan to add compost, fertilizer, and lime near end of February/early March vs late March/early April.
- Make fertilizer – it is easy and smart to make your own fertilizer. I made some last year but it was not enough to last me through the seasons so I had to keep buying bags of fertilizer. This year I plan to make my a lot of my own fertilizer to last through the year – see post here for making your own fertilizer.
- Grow what you love to eat – only grow fruits and vegetables you or someone in your home truly enjoys eating. The reality is that you will not harvest it if you don’t like to eat it, and then it is a waste. As you plan, make this a key priority.
- Plant for Fall no later than early August – I seeded my Fall crop way too late this year (late August). Plan to seed Fall crop late July/early August so there is plenty of time to grow and establish a foundation before the cold and rain return. If you plant early enough, the veggies can last well into November.
- Make an herb pot – in June I wrote a post about the importance of visiting a Farmers Market for inspiration and education, in which I mentioned planting your favorite herbs in a pot. I never did this and wished that I had. You always need herbs and it is such a pain to buy an entire packet of herbs at the grocery store when you just need a sprig or two. This year I plan to grab a pot and fill it with the herbs I use the most.
- Grow tomatoes in a pot – this year we grew our tomatoes in pots. This saved a lot of space in the garden for other veggies and made it easier to grow and maintain the tomatoes.
- Peppers are a lot of work – now I know why they are so expensive! I tried to grow these from seed and did not have success. I eventually purchased starters and at this point, planted them too late. I definitely encourage experimenting with more challenging vegetables but be sure to plan when and how you will grow them and spend a little time learning about how to grow them so you can actually enjoy.
- Grow flowers – I said this in June and in September and I want to state it again now…there is nothing better than having fresh flowers in the yard and the house year round. Take the time to plant now and throughout the year for a steady influx of flowers.
- Experiment – Tracey (who taught us all about the importance of winter cover crops) has inspired me to not be afraid to try new techniques in the garden and to test and play with the soil, compost, and building organic matter. The garden should be a place to learn, be inspired by growth and life, and full of fun.
Cheers to a wonderful 2015 and a fresh new year of continual growth, learning, and yummy food!