I had a glimmer of hope for spring this week, and now I just can’t let it go. I was in Austin at a conference for work, and while it wasn’t as warm as it could be in Texas this time of year, it was in the 60s, and it made me excited for spring…even after I came back to the snow. But spring is coming, and if it’s coming, for me, that means planning for the garden and ordering seeds.
I love gardening. Whether it be flowers, trees, shrubs, vegetables, it doesn’t matter, I just love to play in the dirt, as I like to say. And when those catalogs arrive (see my post from January for more on that), I get so excited about the possibilities. The most exciting for me at this time of year is the vegetable garden, because I basically start from scratch every year. While there are some perennials people may have (like rhubarb or asparagus), I don’t have any in my vegetable patch. I get to reconfigure every year, and last week, that’s just what I did.
My first step was figuring out what I wanted to plant this year. Sure, I have the staples every year, tomatoes, lettuces, zucchini, and squash. But this year, I wanted to try a few new vegetables. I love beets and kale, and especially fava beans, so I’m adding those to the mix this year. And I’m giving Brussels sprouts a try (mainly because I love them). The next step was figuring out the varieties. If you’re used to picking up plants at your local garden center, you probably haven’t had the opportunity to play with different varieties. Sure, there were probably many varieties of tomatoes, and maybe even one or two heirlooms, but aside from that, many garden centers just carry one variety of other vegetables. That’s one of the reasons why I like to start from seed. When you open those seed catalogs, there are so many different varieties, it’s amazing.
This year, I decided to get my vegetable seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. I really wanted to focus on heirloom varieties this year, and I’ve heard great things about their seeds from a friend of mine (who also blogs, but, unfortunately for me, it’s in French…Le Hamburger et le Croissant). If you haven’t seen their site or catalog, Baker Creek has a great variety, and their catalog is beautiful. The vegetables and plants are expertly photographed.
The next part, and for me one of the most fun, is planning out the layout. I’ve found the easiest way to plan out the garden is to use graph paper. Just figure out your dimensions and use some sort of scale. I used one block for one foot in the garden. Then go through and plot out your garden. Pay special attention to any light restrictions (mine is all in the sun, so that wasn’t an issue) but also how far something spreads, if they are vines, etc. Once you have this map, it’s so much easier to get out there and actually plant in the next few months.
I don’t know about you but I’m excited. My seeds are already on their way, and I’m looking forward to starting them indoors. I’ll probably write about that in another week or two. Oh, and if you’re interested in what I purchased, here’s what I chose:
- Extra Precoce A Grano Violetto Fava Bean-SKU: FB105
- Detroit Dark Red Beet-SKU: BT110
- Long Island Improved Brussels Sprouts-SKU: BS101
- Marketmore 76 Cucumber-SKU: CU101
- Astrakom Eggplant-SKU: EG174
- Birdhouse Gourd-SKU: GD108
- Tronchuda Kale-SKU: KA107
- Sugar Snap Pea-SKU: SN106
- Caserta Squash-SKU: SSQ138
- Rouge Vif D’ Etampes Pumpkin-SKU: SQ118
- Boston Marrow Squash-SKU: SQ221
- Brandywine Tomato-SKU: TK115
- Zucchini-Lungo Bianco Squash-SKU: SSQ119
Happy gardening (or at least thinking of gardening if you’re still dealing with snow on the ground like we are)!