I’ve been looking back at how the garden went last year and making the appropriate plans for this year. As you may have seen in some of the older posts I’ve expanded out my garden space and just this week I’ve finished making raised beds for the new expansion. While I still need to fill these new beds, there is something nice about walking through the garden and not having a big empty area.
The other thing to consider as we move closer to the gardening season is when to start planting. Some items can go into the ground directly, other things are better to start as seedlings and then transplant. And if you are going to take that approach you need to start some of them about 6 weeks before the last frost. Now, unless you have some amazing mental gifts that allow you to accurately know when the last frost was you will probably end up using the average last frost date. On average this should work out, but there are years when you get that late frost and if you have plants outside they can get into some trouble. I recently heard, on the Modern Homesteading Podcast, that he takes the average last frost date and only goes back 5 weeks. This is a great plan to give you a week of insurance.
The thing is you’ll have to find out when your last frost date is and pull out your calendar and count back. Or you could use any of the range of tools you can find online. I was considering making up my own visual aid to post on here, but I figured it wasn’t really worth it. If you aren’t my neighbor it won’t really help you out with when to plant yours. So instead I’ll point you toward The Old Farmer’s Almanac’s planting date calculator. This has an easy reference for some of the most popular vegetables, herbs, and fruits. It covered a chunk of what I’ll be planting this year, but I still have more digging for some other bits of information.
Now having a website to find when you need to plant things is grand, but as part of my organization this year I ended up with an extra calendar and planner. I have used the calendar to list out when I need to start my seeds and about when to transplant and when to be looking to harvest. This means that I can sit down without having a computer out and double check that my garden is on schedule. Based on what I found I’ll need to start some eggplants, leeks, and lettuce here in the next couple weeks, then I’ll have more seeds to start around the first couple weeks in March.
Of course, this brings up a few other points, we have a little outside “greenhouse”, on of the shelves with a plastic covering. That is where I plant to work on starting my seeds, but I need to do a bit more research as far as coming up with a way to keep it a touch warmer.