Monday, January 6, 2014

January is the Time for...Gardening

Yes, really.  And you may be thinking "yeah, after the two feet of snow in my back yard melts" but I remember as a kid, snowed in during the cold months of January and February, that one of the bright spots during that time was planning for the big garden we would soon be planting.

First comes planning.  You map out your garden space, look at the previous few years' garden maps, and figure out where you will plant things.  Remember crop rotation is a good thing.

And then you order your garden catalogs.  Here, here, here, and here, for example. (note, this was before being able to browse and order seeds online).

Next you start dreaming of what you will plant.  If you have lots of space, you may plan for a variety of gardens: vegetable garden, flower garden, herb garden, an orchard, a berry patch, medicinals garden, for-profit garden (such as u-pick berries, pumpkins, sale grapes, etc), etc.  Beware, people usually plan a much bigger garden than they can deal with in reality.  Start small and grow, pun intended, from there.  Gardening is a lot of work!

Check your garden journal and note any problems you had during the past year.  Some items just don't grow well so you may want to skip the crops that don't grow well, try similar crops and see if the problems can be averted, or challenge yourself to grow the same crop and figure out how to solve the problem.

You may also want to schedule rototilling and order manure/hay/cover crop/fertilizer for use before, during, and after the season.  Now is also a good time to make sure your tools and gardening machinery are in good working order.  If you have a big garden project planned--a corn maze, a business selling u-pick pumpkins, building a green house--now is the time to pre-plan those projects as well.

Remember, if you need help or are new to gardening, there are plenty of free resources to help.  Simply Googling your garden questions will get you a lot of information.  Also check to see if you have a local county extension office with myriad gardening resources or a local Master Gardeners Program.

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