The New Year has begun! While Christmas is by far my favorite holiday, I always look forward to January. This is the beginning of a brand new year and a chance to start new things, and to improve on old ones. For me, January means the countdown to garden time! This is the month I bring out all of the seed catalogs I've been saving, my gardening journal, my diagram of the garden plan, and settle down with a cup of tea, a calendar, and my notebook to begin to plan for the spring.
I bring out my seeds from last year for inventory so I know what I need to order. I study and compare vegetables I've never planted before so I can choose the one new plant I will try out this year.
I read through my journal to check my notes for improvements for this year. I decided I will not plant peas again or lettuce. Three years of failure is enough. I will start my cabbage seeds at the end of February this year instead of at the beginning, and will start tomato seeds in March instead of April.
The new type of spinach I tried did not do well, nor did the turnips. I will be looking for different seeds this year. But the green beans and carrots were an amazing success and I will reorder those.
I discovered that I need to move the squash into more shade this year and will redraw my garden plan to accommodate. And I make a note to buy new timbers to deepen a couple of the beds this year. They will be added to my shopping list of soil additives, and I will be checking to make sure my containers of lime and oyster shells for calcium are not depleted.
The big thing for the garden is always the compost. We compost all year long. I start with a small pan in the house where I put my tea bags and empty the Keurig cups. This is dumped into the compost can on the back porch which gets the vegetable waste that does not go to the pigs, then into the big compost barrel in the garden. In the summer Greg adds grass clippings to the barrel and dead leaves in the fall. And I clean out the chicken house every 2 or 3 months and that goes in as well.
Gardening, I have discovered, is not just a nice little hobby that yields benefits. Its a long involved process that takes months of preparation and planning. The actual process is time consuming and tiring. But the end result is always worth it. And it makes the long winter months enjoyable. So grab a cup of tea or coffee, dig out those gardening magazines and seed catalogs, and join me in making your dreams into reality. There's just nothing like it for lifting your spirits during the gloomy days of winter.
Photos Property of Leah McCallister