To say that I’m excited about this year’s garden is a bit of an understatement. Those who know me know that I love to garden, any type of garden. I have done shade gardening, container gardening, flower gardening, herb gardening and vegetable gardening. If it’s green and it grows, I like it.
Since moving to New York six and a half years ago I’ve been on a non-stop learning journey. I’ve lived in the South my whole life, so the challenges of zone 5 have been all new for me (learn about your own zone here: http://www.garden.org/zipzone/). I spent the first two years here just watching the garden, learning about the shorter growing season and native New England plants. Then, I began planting, rearranging, and taking out things that just didn’t work for us. We have a well established yard with tons of heirloom plants, so it was exciting but daunting.
What was missing from my gardening adventure was herbs, fruits and vegetables. I craved the opportunity to grow our food, but after three years of trying various places around our property I finally decided to take more drastic measures. We took out several large bushes that we didn’t particularly like and reclaimed the perfect spot for our vegetable garden.
This year will be our second year with our vegetable and herb garden. I’m excited to try new things, re-create our successes from last year and enjoy a long year of yummy edibles of all kinds. So let’s get started with this, a first of many posts in this series.
Although my old friends in the South have been enjoying warm weather and have no doubt already completed their first planting of the season, it’s still actually winter. And in the north, that means it’s still cold and there is still a chance of frost and freezing weather. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t work to be done. Now is the time for planning!
I’ve been scouring my favorite seed websites lately, thinking about what we like to eat and contemplating new things to try our hand at. Here is my short (ok, it’s actually long) list:
Lettuces—read leaf romaine, baby bibb, romaine, spinach
Tomatoes—grape, cherry, roma
Chinese Long Beans
In addition to those fruits and vegetables, we also plan on several herbs and flowers:
Now that I have my list of what I’d like to grow, I look around at the many varieties. There are hundreds to choose from, but it’s a good idea to stick with heirloom seeds when you can. That way you can ensure your family is getting the best food possible with no genetic modification. Hybrids can be fun, bue ensure that they were developed from good parent plants. That’s usually only possible if you work with local gardeners. Go ahead and order those seeds, some might take awhile to come in and depending on your location, you might need to be planting soon.
From here we need to plan out the garden and perhaps start some of the seeds indoors. We’ll talk all about that next time. In the meantime, happy seed shopping!
Favorite Seed Sites:
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
Kristi Ashley is a homeschooling mom of three who spends time in the garden or hiking nearby her Hudson Valley, New York home. She is an amateur photographer, scrapbooker and avid reader. Find her work and blog at Tickety Bu.