And that is the biggest reason to be getting myself in the gardening mode! I don't have any of my garden planned yet! YIKES! I like to plant things with varying growing seasons. I tend to try something new each year, it keeps things fun in the garden! It's so exciting to see a new plant emerge, and watch how the growing cycle changes as it develops! One of my more recent items to experiment with was a loofah plant! I do plan to continue to grow them annually, as they are not only fun to watch, but my girls and I just love them! I'm hoping to learn to make fresh goat milk soap this year, so we can certainly incorporate the two! However, the loofah requires a very long growing season that we don't have here in Kansas, so I need to start them quite early! In years past I've started them in my home, because I don't want to start warming the greenhouse for a at least a few weeks, when I really get into my seed starting mode! I probably should have already done this, like weeks ago, lol!
I know that the longer I take to start the seeds, the less produce I will receive, but sometimes life gets in the way and you just "roll with the punches" and "be happy for what the good Lord provides!" Depending on your area, you may not need to start ALL of your seeds, and just grow them directly in the soil of your garden! (This is another topic we can touch on more later.)
I also like to plan on a fall crop, as the bugs are so viciously hungry in early spring, and some bugs have nearly ended their life cycle by the time the Fall seedling are sprouting! So, it's true, you really do need to start thinking about your garden now! After you've taken inventory of what supplies you have, you can draw your future garden out on paper. Think about how you want to arrange the produce. Maybe you want to rotate things as to not plant in the same place you did last year. What will you plant in the spring? What will you plant in the fall? This also should have a special rotation! Do you want to stagger your corn harvest? Will you try different varieties? Will you have a separate herb garden? A gardener never really has an "off" season, as we're always thinking and planning for our next crop! This is the time to look at your records and evaluate last years experiences. What things affected your plants? Was it weather, bugs, soil, or something else? How can you change that? What was your placement last year, did you row plant, inter-crop, square-foot gardening, or use the 3 Sisters gardening technique? Did you like that, and do you want to incorporate these ideas again?
Have you thought about your "other" gardening supplies? Do your cages or trellises need repair? How about your tools? Are they clean and ready for Spring? (I have to admit that I sometimes get a bit on the lazy side and leave dirt on the tiller, or forget to put the rake in the shed.) The winter months are a great time to do some maintenance and repairs to your gardening supplies! As you look things over, you can decide if you need to replace or add to your collection! How about your current storage area? Maybe you want to re-organize and think about how you can be more efficient in storing all of your supplies!
Lastly, I have just a few more bits of advice for you all! If you're not already involved in a group, look around and see if you have a local gardening club! They are great resource of knowledge and experience, along with neighbors and farmers! These are the people who have been working your local ground for years. They are the ones to advise you on what things do or don't grow in your area. How you can combat issues with bugs, weeds, and diseases that are native to you. It's also a great opportunity for you to share your knowledge. You may have tried something new to somebody else, and how wonderful would it be for you to get to share that with someone! Go see what advice you can each share and make some friends with like minded people! Get excited, and start thinking about what you want to see growing in your garden! I want to hear from all of you....where are you in your garden planning stage?