The week before Christmas, we had 15 inches of snow unceremoniously dumped on us. We had a half-white Christmas. It still hasn’t completely melted. And we’ve had more snow repeatedly fall since then, more times than I care to count or remember. The end result of the white blanket was a total collapse of my garden structure. Today, it started snowing again. We chose to live in North Carolina, in part, because while it does get cold here for a few weeks a year, it normally doesn’t dump snow like this. Where’s that global warming we were warned about? It’s not here, because this is the coldest winter they’ve had in Asheville since before I was born!
The end result of all of this white mess? Garden Fever.
Right before Christmas, my Baker Creek catalog arrived. The kids fished it out of the stack of mail and cheered and danced and sat down to consume it. They joyfully remembered the Baker Creek catalog we spent hours looking at last year. Veggie porn indeed. Since then, more catalogs have arrived to much cheering and delight. So now I’m working on planning the garden and dreaming of getting started.
Step One: Deal with the mess outside. I about cried when I saw that the garden fence and cover had collapsed. I can’t have 35 chickens running rough-shod over my delightful little veggie babies I have slaved over to get started early in the house. That is, for what they don’t eat first. Last year we had one of our really incredible Candy Roaster winter squashes grow outside the fence and they delightfully waited for just the right time to dive into it and devour the whole thing in one morning after they had been turned out for the day. The one we got to enjoy was 25 pounds, I’m not sure how big theirs was. The clean-up should take a day or two, then multiple days to rebuild the fencing.
Step One-and-a-Half: Is there ever enough space to plant? No. Extend the two beds to the end of the fencing. Then go bug the llama lady for a couple of truck-loads of donation to enrich the soil. This should take several days.
Step Two: Plot out the master placement chart. We do a combination of Square Foot Gardening, Biointensive Gardening and Lasagna Gardening. I squeeze as much as I humanly can into what space we have by planting things that grow small and fast up against things that grow big and slow. You pull the small and fast before the big and slow needs the space and get more yield. As a bonus, you have less weeding to do. I’ll spend hours and hours on this, plotting and planning and finding something else to squeeze in, so I have to re-plan it again. I spend much more time here than I need to, but I enjoy it so.
Step Three: You can NEVER have enough buckets. Some of the fenced in area is over the septic tank. In this area, we have the big compost pile and gutter nailed to the fenceposts for growing radishes, lettuce and other small, shallow-rooted plants. We get free buckets from the local grocery and bakery stores, and use that for container garden area since I’m not about to plant over our septic tank.
Step Four: Break out the kale, beet and cabbage seeds and start planting.
What do you need to do to be able to plant this year? Where do you order your seeds from?