Ahhh, January! For many, once we get beyond the 6th of January and 3 King’s Day/Epiphany all the holiday decorations are packed away until next holiday season and lights begin being turned off. A lot of people also experience the “post holiday blues” even as a lot of others enjoy the time to relax and breathe after all the rush-and-hurry to celebrate during the previous month. For garden enthusiasts and small acreage farmers, though, it is an incredibly exciting time and our fingers start itching, new lists start growing, and wild ranges of colors begin to (finally!) dance before our eyes. You see, it is January….the month that we all get to plot and plan and dream of what the sleeping soil will produce with the seeds and plant starts pictured in those seed catalogs that whisper sweet promises to us!
Given the nature of our family’s circus chaos (and how we are constantly being surprised by the new changes that pop up whenever we plan for things), we know that the very first casualty at the beginning of any adventure is going to be the plan that you painstakingly put together. However, that does not mean that we shouldn’t plan out anything and in fact those plans can bear some pretty amazing fruit! So….are you ready to join us to see where this year’s plans might take us (and anyone joining us for this journey) and ways you can use the tips we live by for your own growing efforts?
The first step many gardeners take is to make a list of what they want to either see a harvest from or the colors they want to have making their plots glorious. Then we’ll often turn to those seed catalogs…and the internet. Now, this is an action that must always be taken with strong precautions because it is often highly addictive. (It ranks up there with the dangers of walking through the seasonal greenhouse at your local big box store where you often discover an overwhelming need to adopt a neglected potted plant or 3 that you just need to save.) For those mentally blessed and inclined, there are many free landscape design programs you can find online that help you precisely get those measurements in there which is very smart. For all the rest of us who aren’t so….well blessed, rough sketches still help immensely. I’ll even let you see examples from what we do but please remember that this is a no-judgement zone! Here’s a mixed example from last year’s plans (and yes, there are reasons there are so many of them too! Some explanations further in the article):
Those are a few of the different growing areas that we have which were worked out last year. You can see for yourselves that of the 2 of us one is much more precise (hey, he nearly finished a landscape architect program even!) and the other is a great deal more general. But both approaches still get the idea across and even work pretty nicely together!
Now for anyone who came past our little farm spot, you can attest that our plans were only partly correct. That is the way it usually goes, kinda like life. Yet the truly wonderful thing is just how beautiful the results are that come from well laid plans that slip when they get put into action.
So this year’s plan shows a little better what we’re thinking of for this season. We’re shifting things a lot to try some experiments, plus our kids are excited to have their own spots to grow anything they want as well. It looks kind of like:
So you can see a little of what we’re aiming for. The sketch above only includes the vegetable garden, but it gives you an idea of what we’re aiming for. Over the coming weeks, you’ll see that there will be more detailed sketches/graphs of planting beds and such that help us flesh out quantities of plant starts and how many seeds we’ll need. This allows for a few different things. 1, it helps us to plan things so that our plants will be in beds/lines with plants that have similar water needs (helping us drop our water footprint and keep things healthier) as well as nutrients and sun. 2, it helps us to figure out how many plant starts we’ll need so we can get things started under the grow lights by the end of January/beginning of February. 3, it helps us keep track of what we’re planting as the season comes and goes…and so we can keep track of what has given a better harvest or struggled more.
Now as we get things up and running for the new year, we’ll share the different steps we’re taking to put this and the other plans into action. But now that you’ve seen a little of what we’re plotting for, I’ve just gotta ask: What are you looking to grow and experiment and play with this year?