Sunday, March 2, 2014

Rainy Day Reading

Since winter seems so damned determined to stick around a bit longer, the outdoor garden is on hold. We did plant some veggie seeds in the greenhouse, but we still haven't been able to prep the garden beds.

The rain outside is allowing me to be lazy. But I'm still plotting and planning! I'm reading the notes I made last year in this very handy book "Food Grown Right, In Your Backyard".

We picked this up last year to help us figure out the best way to start our organic garden. It actually turned out to be quite informative! And because it was written by local PNW gardeners, it was also a great resource for figuring out which crops would actually work with our weather.

As we continued to work on our garden, we made notes on the pages for specific veggies. We noted what worked for us and what didn't, what we wanted to try this season and what we felt wasn't worth wasting our time on. I'm glad we made the notes, because for the life of me, I can't remember all of the tips we discovered last season.

Some important notes we made had to do with our timing in planting and whether it was worth starting from seed. Although we are currently renting our home, we are lucky that it came with an incredibly large greenhouse. The homeowner grew several varieties of "herb", so we figured it the greenhouse worked well for that, it could certainly grow some veggies!

A lot of what we will end up planting can be done directly in the ground. But because the winter frost is sticking around longer than planned, we have planted some seeds for some good starts that we will transplant once the soil has warmed up.

We've cleaned up the greenhouse, made our list, planted some seeds, bought the compost, and now we're ready to go! In another week we'll have some sprouts, and a week later, we'll plant more seeds. If I only give one tip, it would be to listen to the professionals when they say "Stagger and thin"! We didn't do either last season and ended up with bushes of veggies and extended growth time due to overcrowding. That is a mistake we will not be making this year, I guarantee it!

Our end goal is to come out of this season with a good idea of the following:
  • How much time each type of plant will take.
  • Which plants grow best in our climate?
  • Which organic pest controls work best for each plant type?
  • Are certain plants best from seed or starts?
  • Are certain plants best direct-seeded or started in the greenhouse?
  • How much space will we need for our desired crops?
  • How big does our greenhouse really need to be?
One day, we will find our dream house on our dream lot and have lots of room for garden beds. In that future house, we also hope to start raising chickens for eggs. We've also been discussing ducks (also for eggs) and goats for milk (and fresh goat cheese!). So once we have the veggies down, we'll dig more into the possibility of farm animals.

But for now, we're staying small. We both work a lot of hours and don't have too much extra time to spend on the garden. The animals are a plan for the way-out future where we work less and are maybe closer to retirement.(I plan to retire young!) We'll need something to keep us busy, right?

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