Gardening: Let’s Get Started!

It’s finally time to start working on our gardens again!  I’m so excited.  Last year was the first year I had my own full garden, and God provided such a bounty out of it!  I started small, learned what I needed and what I didn’t need, and learned what I need to do differently.  Now I’m ready for a bigger, better, more functional garden this year!

First thing’s first.  You need to plan and plot.  I took a sheet of grid paper and just made some rough sketches.

I’m planting green beans, peas, corn, zucchini, yellow squash, pumpkin, watermelon, cantaloupe, two kinds of tomatoes, two kinds of cucumbers, green peppers, hot peppers, turnips, onions, garlic, horseradish, and I’m going to have a weekly rotation going of lettuce, carrots, and radishes.  In my herb garden, I’ll grow basil, oregano, parsley, chives, tarragon, dill, thyme, and cilantro.

Once you’ve plotted and determined what you’re going to grow, you need to get seeds (if you plan to grow any from seeds.)  I had tremendous luck last year with starting everything from seeds, so I’m going to do that again this year.

Some seeds can be pre-planted.  This week, I intend to use some seeding trays and plant:

onion, both kinds of peppers, the tomatoes, and some spinach greens

Some plants roots don’t like to be disturbed during the transplant process.  So, instead of a tray, I’m going to plant the following in individual peat pots, which I will place directly into the ground when it’s time, instead of actually transplanting:

cantaloupe, cucumber, pumpkin, yellow squash, watermelon, and zucchini

part of my garden - July 2009

I’ve determined the time for me to start planting my seeds now based on the fact that I live in Zone 6, and have about 6 more weeks before the last worry about a frost.

For detailed determining if you need to plant now or wait a little longer, visit this site:  The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone.

My plan is to discuss gardening every Monday.  So, next week we’ll look at how my planted seeds look and discuss building a raised garden to start planting some of the more hardy plants.  My cilantro and leaf lettuce need to be planted two to three weeks before our last frost, so I want to make sure I can hit that window of time.

If this is your first year gardening, something you need to consider before you start:  it takes time.  At first, it’s just every couple of days while you weed and water.  As the summer progresses, it’s every day, weeding, watering, battling bugs.  By the end of summer and into fall, you need to realize that there are entire days where you’re going to be doing nothing but picking food, digging up food, putting food up, preserving, freezing, canning — the floors will go unswept and windows unwashed.  THAT’s OKAY.  I’m not trying to dissuade you.  I just want your eyes open going into it.

Nothing is more satisfying that opening a jar of green beans and serving them to your family, knowing that you grew that healthy wonderful bounty from a single seed.  Few things are more delicious than a loaf of zucchini bread fresh from the oven.

SO- make your lists.  Draw your plans.  Go buy seeds and trays and soil.  If you’re in a good zone for it, start some seeds.  I’ll meet you back here next week and we’ll talk about it some more.

May God bless you with a bountiful harvest!


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