Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Seven Month Itch

I'm not sure if the number seven is the right one, but it sounded close. I am ready to get the garden going right now! I have plans to add additional beds and improve the existing ones. I have a ton of nicely composted chicken coop litter that I mixed with some grass clippings and maple leaves. I plan to mix that into the beds as soon as the ground will let me. I put some "raw" chicken litter on the beds last fall and hopefully that will mix in nicely and not be too "hot."

Are you feeling the same as I am? I know many of you have kids still living at home and they can really keep your mind occupied with all of their busy-ness. However, for me, I have a 28-ish year old daughter living in New York City, and a 27-ish year old son performing on a Princess cruise ship bouncing around the Hawaiian Islands. That leaves my wife Ruth and me probably a little more time to goof off than those with children responsibilities.

Ruth bought me a Gardening magazine the other day and there are some nice articles on pairing plants together, bed rotation plans, ideas on what to grow and how to keep the garden relatively pest free without dousing it with Dow Chemical products.


I spent a few productive hours perusing the Johnny's seed catalogue and made a list which will require another farm! I will probably add and subtract from this list as the next few weeks go by. I want to grow a lot of vegetables this summer, especially green beans, cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes. There are about twenty other vegetables, herbs, etc. on my list, but I don't want to bore you.



The Kitchen Garden in Winter

There are eight nice beds in this garden, which is between our house and the barn. I plan on extending all of them by four feet or more, and maybe adding two other 4' x 8' beds in-between some of the beds. This garden is surrounded by a circular driveway and a "still-not-completed" fence. I plan on covering the fence with climbing vegetables like beans, cukes and peas. It may end up looking a bit untidy, but hopefully it will yield lots of meals!



Like me, the garden needs a little bit of a slumber to get re-energized for another year of productivity. I am going to test the pH this year and see what exactly is going on out there.

Since I live in Michigan, and the "Three Fires" Native Americans lived in this vicinity, I am thrilled to use their way of gardening on land they once roamed. We have a little woodland, spring-fed pond and I want to believe that it was used by the Potawatomi and the Ojibwa. Ruth, Peter and I picked a lot sweet corn last summer and I am going to plant way more of it this year! The squash and beans did not do very well in here, but I plan on making a few changes this year to try to help them a little more. (2009 was a poor year in Michigan for all squashes!). I left most of the corn stalks in the ground. I couldn't bear to lose them last fall and they looked rather decorative for all of the Fall holidays.


When will you begin your garden planning? Maybe most of you are way ahead of me!!
Well, I'm off to find all the stuff I'll need to start seedlings in March and April. Hmmm, lighted Plant Cart, seeds, good starter mix, watering can. It was 2 degrees F (-17 C) last night and we have 7 inches of snow on the ground.
I may be just a tad early? Maybe you need to just come in for some hot coffee, or perhaps a spot o' tea?



33 comments:

henbogle said...

I'm deep into planning, gotta do something to distract me from the cold here in the east. Love Johnny's, great seeds, great catalog!

I posted my seed list on my blog, it is way too long :-/ I need more yard!

cheers,Ali

julie king said...

don, all your planning is so much fun to read. since i live in a subdivision and not in the country anymore i only do container gardening on my patio. i so miss the old winter days of planning a big garden. i think i'm living vicariously through you and your planning these days.one day i will live in the country again with chickens and gardens. not to self: talk bill into moving!!

take care!

Carol said...

When I lived in NY I had a big beautiful garden...lots of horse manure...manure tea and my organic Gardening Magazine. All of my window sills had small pots of plants started for that first planting. I remember that feeling of not being able to wait. How about a "cold frame" that would give you something to work on.

www.wildlifearoundus.blogspot.com

Razzberry Corner said...

Ok, I'll admit, I've only just begun thinking about my garden. Maybe I need to get more motivated... I resolve to plan my garden this week. Thanks for the encouragement! -Lynn

Jen's Farmily said...

We haven't started planning our garden yet. But I do want to start thinking about my flower beds at the lake.

I always clean out the chicken coop in the fall and throw all the chicken poop on the garden so it can break down over the winter.

EcoGrrl said...

i too am diggin' the new OG issue...check out Urban Farm as well if you haven't yet - their 2nd issue just came out this week and it's totally awesome (barnes and noble and most eco grocery stores).

i actually got out graph paper in a mad attempt to document my backyard and plan for the next evolution of my garden. we have no snow and barely even cold in oregon right now, very different from most of the country!

Susan said...

You are such an ambitious gardener, Don! Your plans sound wonderful and enthusiastic! Ours probably won't change much from last year as the garden space is not likely to get any larger. We would have to cut down too many trees. David hates to cut down healthy ones. One thing we won't do this year is plant the tomatoes in bags of top soil (Mother Earth News had an article). They didn't do very well, so D's building more raised beds. Another change will be no pole beans. I just don't like them...too stringy. They grew very well though.

Hey, want to sell me some hatching eggs this spring?

Garden Girl said...

Would love to come over for a coffee and to pore over your seed catalogue... If only I had a 'magic door' which would transport me instantly. Shame we're a good 5000 miles apart.

Gwen Buchanan said...

you are way ahead of me Don, and you have inspired me greatly...

your planning and enthusiasm is contagious..

I hope to pay more attention to my garden this year and make sure I harvest everything in its time instead of waiting too long as I did last year with a few things...

Spencer said...

I love that you have chickens and give a daily egg count. I have chickens too, but due to the exteme cold weather we are having in utah, they have stoped laying and started to molt. That is why I don't put pictures of my chickens on. Right now they are ugly.

Claire said...

Enjoyed reading about your garden plans. We have big changes planned for this year involving raised beds, since we struggle so much with weed problems in our heavy clay soil that is practically impossible to hoe. It will be a lot of work but I hope it will result in better yields. We have a great source of compost from our sheep and llamas, not to mention the goats. The chicken manure needs time to mellow out. My list is like yours - way too long and needing to be trimmed, but the planning is half the fun!

Stiggy said...

YAY DON!

Nice to see you back - I've missed you bro!

We too here have been looking at sorting out our vegetable plot, we think raised beds are the order for us.

Our polytunnel was so successful last year that we thought of making another one by it's side - we had tomatoes growing til extremely late in the year!

I hope we'll be able to blog more though this year - I love seeing what you do and grabbing the odd bit of inspiration from yourself and the other bloggers!

:D

Don said...

henbogle: You do have a nice list of things you are going to grow. I agree with you, I needed a distraction from winter.

Don said...

julie: I think we all have an imprint somewhere in our primordial brains to grow our own food and live close to nature. Good luck with your containers!!

Also, good luck with convincing Bill!

Don said...

carol: I love your recent post about the hundreds of robins hanging around your place. I hope they are getting ready to migrate to my house soon! I wonder if any of yours come to my farm?? Let's start tagging them!! (go ahead and do that!);)

Don said...

lynn: I think we all want to do a better job with our gardens this year. I am thinking about some poly tunnels, (like my hero Stiggy)

Don said...

jen: there is nothing like a good and deep conversation about chicken poop!

I'll bet your flowers love it.

Don said...

ecogrrl: I have heard that Oregon is getting quite a storm right now! I hope you are staying dry. I will be sure to check out Urban Farm mag. I like seeing how others do things. (Mostly because I am such a novice!)

Don said...

Susan: trees are beautiful and I love them, however, I also love gardening. I am glad we have open space. Keep the trees!

Do you really want to try hatching some Green Barn Eggs? I can give you a variety of greens, browns, tans and whites. What comes out will be a nice surprise!!

Don said...

garden girl: it would be fun to get together with blogger friends and look through catalogues and compare ideas! What's a couple of thousand miles??!!

Don said...

gwen: I need to learn how to be a better gardener! I left stuff out there too. I am going to try to save basil as ice cubes! I'll make a post about that one of these days.

Love your concrete floors!

Don said...

spencer: cold weather can be hard on the girls, that's for sure. However, do you have any lights for them? They need at least 12 hours of daylight for their egg production to take place.

Stay warm!

Don said...

claire: Creating new beds is a lot of work, but I think it is so worth it. Weeding was not as bad as I thought it would be. You just have to keep after them!

Sounds like you will have enough natural fertilizer!!

Don said...

stiggy: nice to hear from you!! I am interested in your poly tunnel. I'm thinking about trying one out this year.

Ruth said...

I'll help more this year. I'm inspired too. But if you grow 'em, for sure I'll chop and make salads or cook 'em up. And I'm going to do better at using all the herbs this season, freezing if necessary.

I can't wait!

秘密 said...

愛情是盲目的,但婚姻恢復了它的視力。.........................

cindy said...

You inspire me. Now I think I will take a look at my Seed Savers catalog. Thanks!

Spencer said...

Your barn is great. I wish we had one like yours. And I wish we had as much land as you so we could let our chickens run free.

Sandy said...

Your garden ideas are really going to keep you busy!! My youngest
age 26, (on youngest grandson's daddy) is moving out at the end of the month. He moved out at 20 but had to come back a year later. He was close to moving out and then lost his job a year ago.

Anyway, at the end of the month Mike and I will be rambling around in a big house with four sons off doing their own thing. Even watching the grandkids as much as we did, is tapering off.

What to do? Well I am going to start a succulant and cactus garden soon, I'm hoping.

And, start downsizing junk and organizing and some day if the market ever comes back, put this house up for sale.

Shari said...

Don,
I just stumbled upon your blog today. I also live in mid-Michigan so I think I will start following your blog.

We are just starting out with our little homestead. We bought a house last fall and I have tons of plans for the garden and for fruit trees. I blogged about it a bit earlier this week. Please feel free to check it out.

:)

smart readers said...

Living in a tropical country,this change of season is some thing I have always looked forward to experience but never been able to so far. Very nice blog,yours is.

Porch Days said...

Wouldn't it be fun to have a little green house or sun room to start seeds in? I have put your blog on my page so I can follow it. I love to read about your chickens.

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