Sunday, February 22, 2009

Garden Daydreams

It's really cold here today, and I was feeling a bit of a slump, when it hit me - it's almost time to start the seedlings for my garden! So, I've been going through seed packets, deciding what worked last year and what didn't. And some seeds are our own - they came from our own plants, here on the farm. That makes me feel good, and I hope to save even more in the coming year.

Last year I spent a considerable amount of money on annuals for the flowerbed, as well. I didn't spend a lot at any one time, but over the course of the season, $5-15 at a time adds up. This year, I'm going to try to start most of the flowers for the beds from seed, as well.

I know we'll use almost as many tomatoes as we can produce. Likewise, cucumbers, bell peppers and any greens we manage to grow. So, I almost can't overplant those items. Even if I did, nobody ever turns down fresh produce, so it wouldn't go to waste. Corn didn't do well last year, and I'm not sure we're going to try it again this year, given the fact that my garden time will be so limited by school.

Potatoes in barrels, as seen here: http://www.weidners.com/spud_Barrel.htm, are definitely a repeat player in our garden, as are sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are ridiculously easy to grow: http://organic-vegetable-gardens.suite101.com/article.cfm/growing_sweet_potatoes, and they're attractive enough to be used in the flowerbeds.

Even if you don't have a lot of space, or aren't able to handle physical labor, you can raise enough food to supplement your diet AND see a savings on your grocery bill. Here's a site that describes a very easy (yet successful) method of raising some of your own food: http://www.no-dig-vegetablegarden.com/index.html.

Raising your own food (or supporting local farmers by shopping at your Farmer's Market) is good for you, good for your family and good for the environment. Here at Clay Hill we do both - I raise what I can, but nothing beats Saturday morning browsing the Farmer's Market - I just wish our local markets were bigger! Maybe next year (after I've finished school!), we'll put in an extra bed or two for the market - that way we'll contribute to making the market more successful and I'll get my Farmer's Market fix!

If you're a fellow gardener, are you planning your plantings yet? And, if you're not a gardener, maybe this is your year to change that. Consider planting a tomato or two in a container, if nothing else. Our local nursery sold tomato plants last year at the bargain rate of $1.50 for a pack of six - those plants could potentially supply a family with all of their salad and slicing tomatoes for the summer. One bite of a sun-ripened tomato, and I guarantee you'll be hooked on gardening!

10 comments:

Mildred said...

Thanks for all the good links Terri. Best wishes with all your seeds this year. Your post made me hungry for fresh veggies!

TC said...

We'll start our seeds in about a month (zone 5). We direct sow annuals like zinnias, cosmos, and marigolds; they don't really need a head start. We've started our own seeds for the past 10 or 15 years and I've switched to nothing but heirloom tomatoes, and we grow the usual pepper, summer squash, and potato crops as well.

Terri said...

Thanks, Mildred! Yes, I want to go outside and pick a fresh salad again! :)

TC, I've never grown zinnias before last year - and they were a nursery pack of seedlings. But I loved them, so maybe I'll direct sow some of them, as well. Thanks for the tip!

anna said...

I've also been out working in my garden today. And I have some seedlings started in the back room.

Susie said...

Hey Terri, Girl you know I'm all about growing from seed. Last year I did more plants but hopefully will try more veggie seed.

To me there is nothing more satisfying than going out to the garden and picking something you have grown yourself.

Terri said...

Anna, I envy you that - it's been in the 20's here today, so I haven't done any gardening.

Susie, you are the garden guru! :)

Terri

andrea said...

I am planning

went shopping today to get the fixings for my indoor grow lights and some soil

seed order is in and I'm excited!

nice to know I'm not alone :)

I will try sweet potatoes I think ... off to explore the links ;)

countrychicken said...

It is snowing so hard here you can hardly see 50 ft in front of you. Its definitely time to start thinking gardening. We moved our garden last year to a different spot and although we did get vegetables they were not abdundant. The weather did not help either. Got to love the weeds, we had plenty of those. Thanks for the link on the barrel potato growing - going to have to think on that one.

Terri said...

Andrea, the sweet potatoes were our big success story last year, and we didn't do all that complicated curing nonsense. They came out fine.

CC, we also had an overabundance of weeds! :)

Daisy said...

I am so looking forward to it being warmer. I don't plant much except a few flowers but I do enjoy buying from the local farmer's market.