In the garden: January

IMG_0639The garden companies don’t wait until after Christmas any more. Seed catalogs start arriving as early as mid-December, and my garden daydreams surely follow.

This year I’m planning to plant more and a greater variety of vegetables. Gardening teacher Megan Cain, through her excellent books, gets me thinking about planting what we like to eat most; that’s sort of a moving target in our home, but I won’t mind if the list is different each year. I mull over past tomato blights and squash vine borers. Somehow in January I never think about the weeds. Ever. Until this year, because I don’t want to complain again about them in the summer (my readers breathe a sigh of relief). So more mulching in the raised beds and containers is the plan, along with an earlier attack on the weeds where the non-edibles grow.

It’s been maybe 5 years since we’ve started our own seeds. After that, I donated our long fluorescent grow light to the neighborhood school, hoping to get something LED and a little smaller if I ever tried again. My new seed-starting gear is on the way, and I’m super excited. It’s definitely less fuss to buy seedlings, but this way I can try all the vegetable varieties I want and start some dye plants as well! Stay tuned.

Thinking about starting your own seeds? Here are a few questions to help you be more successful:
What zone do you live in?
How much space do you need for the things you want to grow? Using wide rows, square foot gardening, or other methods, you can pack a lot of productivity into small spaces.
How much of each crop do you want at one time, and will you do succession planting to spread your harvest out over a longer period?
What do you need to simplify the care of your garden? By this, I’m meaning ways to water, mulch, maybe some trellises or stakes.
And if you’ve gardened in the past, what didn’t work? Too little light, bad drainage in parts of the garden? Maybe you can rearrange where you grow things or substitute other veggies or varieties.

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