My season planning to-do list is looking a bit like an uphill battle right now. Now that we’ve thoroughly moved in to Liberty Hollow, we’re having to get serious about facing the season. If you’re not planning a garden this year but you’re interested, stay tuned. We’re sure to make mistakes that you’ll hopefully be able to avoid. If you are planning a garden this year, you’re probably farther along than we are. We have a few strikes against us already.
For the last two months we have had a series of warm days followed by hard frosts pretty much every other week and it has been unusually wet all winter. The ground is a marsh and our last threat of frost isn’t until the end of April. Usually it’s warmer by now. The garden plot needs to be worked to provide proper drainage for all the stagnant water but this could turn out to be natural irrigation if we can keep the garden beds from staying soggy. Without any good place to start seeds indoors, we’re looking at a slightly later harvest. This is disappointing because it prolongs our hard work paying off.
The money we have right now is to get us by until we have income, but we have to buy certain things to prepare for the season. We already have most of the tools and seeds we need, but unforeseen circumstances always cost something. We’re trying to keep track of the budget but little living expenses and gas really add up.
We’re in an area where the nearest farmer’s market is an hour’s drive. Making the right contacts is going to be work in itself and let’s face it, it’s not easy trying to get acquainted with the right strangers when you’re the new folk in town.
Here’s what I need to do this week to get ready for the season:
⦁ Measure the two garden plots
I’ll need to measure out some string since I’m sure the plot beside the barn is over 100 feet in length and my measuring tape isn’t very long. I’ll measure the full perimeter of the plots and then later use those numbers to determine the area of my actual beds. Right now I can’t physically walk around these areas because of the depth of the mud so I need to wait for it to dry out quite a bit.
⦁ Draw the plots and plan the rows
Once I have measurements, I’ll want to draw out the plot from a bird’s eye view and then plan the lay of the garden itself. I don’t want unnecessary pathways or decorative flower or herb gardens in these plots – there’s plenty of room by the houses and existing pathways for that and I’ll plan those later. The plots will be dedicated to growing vegetables and fruit.
⦁ Finish the seed inventory
I have a spreadsheet that I’m using to take stock of what seeds we have before any seed gets used. Some of our seeds are old or were improperly stored overwinter, so we’re guessing the germination rates will be terrible for some of them. I want to be able to record the germination rates of each packet once I have a complete inventory. Keeping legible records from the beginning can really help in seasons to come.
⦁ Buy or make seed trays
To test the vitality of our poor seeds I would like to use either 50 cell or 100 cell seed trays. I can still calculate the approximate germination rate using egg cartons or whatever else I can find, but regardless I’m hoping for warmer weather so I don’t have to keep the trays indoors with the heater cranked up.
⦁ Copy down the 10 day forecast
I like to copy down the high and low temperatures for at least the next week onto my desktop. I need to reference the forecasted weather almost every day and it’s time to update my information before the week starts.
There’s a lot to do, and this is only my garden-related work. I’m a full-time housewife (even if it’s a tiny house) and my war against the ants is in full swing, which means everything needs to be meticulously clean all the time. Soon I will add motherhood to the daily to-do list and everything will not be meticulously clean ever again. 🙂