Saturday, January 28, 2012

Planning for Spring

Months ago the garden seed catalogs arrived in the mail, and other than a quick flip-through, they were set aside until spring got a little closer. Time flew by so quickly since then and before we knew it, we were nearing the end of January and hadn't even begun getting our seed order together. Where did the days go?

So out came catalogs from our two favorite seed companies . . .

As well as all the seeds that were leftover from last year and also the ones I had saved . . .

And then the fun began. Dad figured out what new and unusual varieties of tomatoes and peppers he would like to grow (some are really interesting looking, and I look forward to seeing what they taste like!), while I put together the seed order for all of our 'regulars'. Plus a few new things, too, such as celery. That
is something I have wanted to grow for a long time, and hopefully it will be a success! Have any of you ever grown this crop before and have any tips to share? If so, I would appreciate hearing!

We finally finalized our order, and I was able to get it placed the beginning of this week. Once it arrives, it will be about time to start some things indoors! I am also wanting to build a cold frame outdoors so that we can get an even earlier start on lettuce. With how our small (very small) winter garden worked this year, we discovered that we likely could harvest lettuce year round if we planted succession crops throughout the year and then a large plot of it in the fall. So that is my goal for this next year . . . to have lettuce/spinach during all four seasons!

Doing all of this planning for the garden sure made me look forward to spring even more . . . all of the green, gardening, warm temperatures, flowers, springtime birds . . . happy sigh. One thing that will be really nice, too, about this spring over others is that since we have been able to accomplish so much outdoor work over the fall and winter months, we only have a few big projects that will need to be done early in the spring. That will be so nice!

Just for fun, for all of you vegetable gardeners out there, if you could grow one new crop this year, what would it be? I look forward to hearing your answers!


  1. Planning the garden sounds as though it was great fun, Sarah! It does get one all excited for spring, doesn't it? As for celery...I've never grown it, but I recall that when Amish people plant a lot of celery, it means that someone in the family is planning a wedding. You're not by any chance Amish, are you?:-)

    Your plans for year-round lettuce and spinach sound intriguing. I will follow your progress on this with great interest.

    And how are all the four-legged little babies doing?

    ~ Betsy

  2. I would love to have a garden some day! :) But sadly, in AZ it doesn't work to well. Spring is so exciting though. You must be looking forward to planting time. :)

    Thank you for sharing, Sarah! :)

    In His Grace,

  3. Dear Sarah,

    Isn't planting time a special time of year. It sounds like an enjoyable season for your family!
    I've always wanted to grow almond trees so that we could harvest a big almond crop every year! Our climate is possibly too humid though, but I'll be looking into it.
    A more possible goal for now is to grow borlotti beans. Have you ever grown beans? I'm researching at the moment what types would grow best in a humid climate.
    I'd love to hear how you go with growing spinach all year round! This is something I would really like to do this year, so that we could have homegrown salad all year :).

  4. I'd love to succeed with Swet potatoes. We tried but it didn't work.
    Celery is something we have grown previously but not had a very good crop. It has to be earthed up to blanch the stems.
    Growing lettuce all year round is such a good idea, and we do enjoy the very early Spring lettuce and some of the Winter variety. I also sow salad leaves in a tray inside to snip for garnishes.

  5. It was, Betsy! Now to just figure out where we are going to put everything. That will be fun! No, to set your mind at ease, we are not Amish. :)

    I look forward to sharing about the lettuce venture . . . hopefully it will be a success!

    Our goat kids are doing wonderful! They are all so sweet, and we are very much enjoying them. Today it is forecast to be in the low 60’s so we’re planning to move Chloe and her kid out to the ‘pasture’, and then we’re going to move the little girls to the barn stall that Chloe was in. We’re looking forward to that! And I think the girls are going to love all of the room to run around and play in.

  6. I hope you have the opportunity to someday, Mikailah! Arizona gardening would be a challenge . . . very different than the Midwest. Yes, I am looking forward to planting time and to spring as well!

    You’re welcome for sharing!

  7. It is, Maddy! And yes, it is an enjoyable season for our family. One of our favorite times of the year! That would be so interesting to grow almond trees. I will be interested to see if you do end up trying that and how it goes! I have grown green beans and some dry beans before, but I have never heard of borlotti beans before. What are they?

    I look forward to sharing about the year-round lettuce/spinach venture!

  8. Growing sweet potatoes would be fun to do, Elizabeth! I’m sorry it didn’t work for you the first time, but maybe in your new home in England you will have success. :) I remember that celery needs to be earthed up to blanch the stems . . . I’ll have to make sure that I keep up with that!

    That’s great that you have had success with growing and enjoying lettuce year round. And what a good idea to sow salad leaves in a tray inside to use for garnishes. I’ll have to give that a try sometime!

  9. I was delighted to read this posting. I, too, am looking so forward to Spring and the planting season. I've narrowed down most of my crops for this year already. New for this year are two garlic varieties, which were planted back in October. As well, I will be starting seeds for purple bell peppers and habanero peppers. I am still trying to decide on what vatiety of heirloom tomatoes to persue, as I have not had very good results in the past due to splitting or blight. Do you have any reccommendations on a particular heirloom variety? I would love to attempt growing asparagus, but I believe it is a crop that requires maturity of at least a year before harvest.

  10. I'd recommend to try growing Loveage (or is it spelled Lovage?) It's a tasty herb, great in stews and also salads. Also wild garlic (the sort where you eat the leaves) but I'm not sure if that can be grown in your climate (in Europe you'll find it in shadowy forests). If you have those conditions somewhere on your land, I can also recommend forest strawberries - they are much smaller, but also a lot tastier than ordinary strawberries, in fact they taste very different (sweeter). You need many plants to have a decent harvest but they self spread quickly. Good luck!

  11. I am glad that you enjoyed this post, Renee! That’s neat that you are growing garlic this year. I have never done that before, but would like to. I would be interested in hearing how that goes for you!

    This year my Dad is growing purple bell peppers and habanero peppers as well! And a number of other unique pepper varieties. I hope that yours do very well for you!

    Some of the heirloom tomato varieties that we have tried and been pleased with are Bonny Best (Red), Delicious (Red), Cherokee Purple (Purple), and Green Pineapple (Green). The all have delicious flavor and the last two especially!

    Like you, I would love to grow asparagus sometime! That is on my dream list. :) And yes, it is a crop that can’t be harvested the first year, but one would need to wait until the second.

    Have fun gardening this spring!

  12. I have heard of Lovage before, Agnes, but have never grown it before. I’ll have to find out more about it and maybe give it a try! It’s fun growing herbs and slowly I am trying new ones and learning how to grow them and use them.

    Thank you for that suggestion as well as for wild garlic and forest strawberries! The latter sounds especially good as I love strawberries. :) I am not sure if our property has a good location for these types of plants, but I’ll have to do a bit of looking into it. Thank you again for sharing!

  13. I need to get thinking of gardening too. We like this mo comapny too. I want to ahve a southern garden with rice, wheat, potatoes , watermelon and more.

  14. Loved the pictures of garden planning. :o) We are still working to building ours bigger this year so there is lots of planning this year. ;o) I'm wanting to try asparagus this year. And we are wanting to get a couple dwarf fruit trees to try. :o)

  15. Your southern garden idea sounds great, Savories of Life! I've grown watermelon with success before, and have had some success with potatoes, but haven't grown the other things you mentioned. It would be interesting to see how they would do. Have fun planning your garden!

  16. I am glad that you enjoyed them, Nabila! You must be so excited about your to be bigger garden this year. :) I am excited for you! And looking forward to seeing how it all comes together for you. Asparagus is something I would really like to try sometime as well. I hope it does well for you! And your fruit trees, too! I am sure you are having such a wonderful time planning everything. Enjoy!

  17. Thank you for the gardening post!! I planted garlic (a new thing for me) last fall and am hoping for a nice harvest in July this year!

  18. You're welcome, Rachel! That's neat that you are growing garlic this year. I would be interested to hear how that goes for you as I have never grown it before, but would like to. I hope it produces abundantly for you!


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