The Spring Garden
Wasn’t that 24-hour slice of sunshine wonderful? I know, I know. We’re back to good ol’ Oregon rain today, but for a brief break we had a glorious taste of spring/summer. My kids played in the yard. I poked seeds into the ground. We lost all track of time. My husband came home. Dinner was… scrambled eggs and toast.
Back to those seeds, though. As you know from last week’s post on spring gardening, I am determined to expand my growing season on either end of the summertime. I want to tuck seeds in earlier in the spring and harvest plants later in the fall. I have peas, spinach, and lettuce seeds in our raised beds right now. I am planning to add beets, carrots, and herbs in a few weeks.
In the spirit of trying new things, here are two other gardening-related activities I am going to start for the first time this year:
:: Keep a garden journal. No, I am not going to write flowery poetry. I am going to keep track of all of those things I always forget to remember. (Kind of like my kids’ baby books. Which I need to update soon.) In my garden journal, I will take notes on what was planted and when, flops, successes, weather, etc.
I am also plannning to keep a running list of what we spend and what we harvest (expenses vs. “profit”). There is no doubt in my mind that growing a garden saves us substantial money in the produce section, but I have never actually figured out the dollar amount. Growing some of our own produce is worthwhile for more than financial reasons, but I am still curious how much a small garden saves our family of four.
:: Start germinating seeds indoors. Even if you do not have a greenhouse, you can copy the same idea by purchasing inexpensive seed starter kits at your local home improvement store. There are many different styles to choose from for around $5-$10. This is a great way to get a jump start on growing hot weather crops like cucumbers, zucchini, or pumpkins.
In the past, my husband and I have always picked up plant starts at our local nursery or farmers market. At $1-$3/each, it is still an incredibly economical way to start your garden. This year, I am cutting out the middle man by buying seeds (around $1/packet) to start my own plants. I will be doing this in mid-April, giving my vegetable starts 4-6 weeks before I harden the plants outside and put them in the ground.
The directions on the seed kits are clear and easy to follow. If you’re nervous about trying it for the first time, talk to someone in the know or grab a book from the library. My friend Wynter (who has a greenhouse I am slightly envious of) provided all the information and inspiration I needed to give this a shot.
Here’s to more sunshine and happy seeds!
Questions? Comments? Advice?
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