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Thursday, February 27, 2014

garden planning


Okay folks, it's become abundantly clear that winter 2014 means business.  Wisconsin is working on some kind of state record for most number of days with ridiculous temperatures, and today I woke up yet again to a zero degree morning.  I know we've all been doing our best to thrive this winter (I've done 18/20 things from my list - still need to throw a party and nevery insulated the windows), but it's becoming harder and harder to stay upbeat with all this cold weather.  Let's just be serious.  This weather needs.to.go.now.  But since it's not going to, I'm going to pretend like it's time to garden.

This year my garden planning has started with a gusto in February.  Usually it doesn't start until May when I'm leafing through my old seed packets the night before my first planting day.  Imagining fresh herbs and fresh lettuce coming straight from the garden has given me a new burst of energy and has hopefully bought me a few more weeks of winter thriving.  Though it's difficult to remember what it was even like to have a garden.  Has it ever been warm enough for that?  How are those flowers not dieing from a cold frost?  These pictures must be from that alternate reality I used to live in where birds and bees flew around outside, and I could walk around without my nose freezing shut. 





Okay folks, it's become abundantly clear that winter 2014 means business.  Wisconsin is working on some kind of state record for most number of days with ridiculous temperatures, and today I woke up yet again to a zero degree morning.  I know we've all been doing our best to thrive this winter (I've done 18/20 things from my list - still need to throw a party and nevery insulated the windows), but it's becoming harder and harder to stay upbeat with all this cold weather.  Let's just be serious.  This weather needs.to.go.now.  But since it's not going to, I'm going to pretend like it's time to garden.

This year my garden planning has started with a gusto in February.  Usually it doesn't start until May when I'm leafing through my old seed packets the night before my first planting day.  Imagining fresh herbs and fresh lettuce coming straight from the garden has given me a new burst of energy and has hopefully bought me a few more weeks of winter thriving.  Though it's difficult to remember what it was even like to have a garden.  Has it ever been warm enough for that?  How are those flowers not dieing from a cold frost?  These pictures must be from that alternate reality I used to live in where birds and bees flew around outside, and I could walk around without my nose freezing shut. 




In addition to the community garden, my big labor of love this year will be transforming our front deck into an urban garden oasis.  I have a vision in my head of it being absolutely gorgeous -with lots of great smells, colors, and tastes - with some twinkle lights thrown in of course.  I've been super inspired by Gayla Trail, author of the blog You Grow Girl.  She is a gardening master for the modern woman, has written some amazing gardening books, and has the ability to transform small spaces into gardening paradises.  See below:









I've never taken on a project quite like this before.  I've learned to grow a season's worth of veggies in a 4 x 8' space, but I've never ventured into the realm of container gardening on a deck.  Something about it makes me more nervous (probably the newness of it).  The biggest challenge will be finding and arranging various size containers to make an interesting deck-garden design - and to find someone to water everything when we go out of town.  Though I have a finished product vision in my head, I imagine it will probably evolve each season for as long as Paul and I are in our current apartment.  

Here's a not-so-great picture of our deck from last summer.  It extends maybe ten feet off the front of our house then stretches across the whole front length of our house.  The picture gives you a basic idea of what I'll be working with (beagles included). 




I'd like to have a variety of colors and textures and also plant veggies and herbs that I'd want to have quick, easy access to.  So lettuce, oregano, basil, cilantro, mint, parsley, lavender, and sage are high on my list.  I'd also like to have some colorful edibles like strawberries and nasturtiums.  To add some height, I might add a tomato plant or a vine type plant like beans or peas.  Reading Gayla's books has taught me that very few veggies are off limits when it comes to container gardening.  The only limit is really my imagination - which is both exciting and scary.  

I'll be stocking up on some seeds this weekend when I go to the Botanical Garden's annual orchid show with my mom, sister, and cousins.  And then, if things go according to plan, I'll start growing some seeds inside in the next month or two.  

What would you like to grow this season? 

P.S. Have you ever signed up for a community supported agriculture box?  This will be my fifth season doing it.  See my post here for more information about it.  When you find a CSA program that's a good fit for you it can be an excellent way to eat fresh veggies all summer long with the added benefit of supporting your local farmers and local economy!

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