It’s good to have goals, right? Goals provide direction and a way to measure your progress. So here it is, the end of May, and I thought it would be a good time to check in on the goals that I set for myself this past January.
1. I will start all of my own seeds.
Check. This worked out way better than I thought it would. As with most successful endeavors, I had a lot of help. Thanks to Alex Norelli for the grow lights and heat mats. Thanks to Doug Hall for the flats and pots. Thanks to Mark Highland at Organic Mechanics for the seed-starting mix, and thanks especially to High Mowing Organic Seeds for graciously supplying most of the seeds.
2. I will only grow seeds from High Mowing Organic Seeds.
Yep, pretty much. I contacted HM a while back and told them my plan. They donated an excellent order of seeds. But then I kept seeing the High Mowing seed display at Kimberton Whole Foods and certain things would catch my eye, things that I didn’t know I wanted when I placed my original order.
3. I will not overplant tomatoes.
Somehow, I’ve managed not to overplant the tomatoes by planting more tomatoes than I’ve ever planted. Figure that one out. Fifteen plants! But this year they have plenty of space and I’m supporting them with the cat’s cradle technique instead of those stupid wire cages.
4. I will grow more flowers in my garden.
So far, so good. Marigold, zinnia, cosmos, bachelor buttons, nasturtium, nicotiana, calendula, poppies, and lots of sunflowers. Hey pollinators, come on in!
5. I will plant a sunflower house for my kids.
Sort of. It’s not quite a house, but the edges around the play area (sliding board, bean teepee, balance beam) are thickly planted with sunflowers. It may end up feeling like a room by the end of the summer.
6. I will grow strawberries.
Check. Six ‘Mara des Bois’ day neutral strawberry plants given to me by OG deputy editor Doug Hall. Thanks again, Doug!
7. My garden will be productive earlier in the season.
We’ve been eating kale from the garden since February.
8. I’m going to buy (or make) a rain gauge.
Fail. I have not gotten a rain gauge yet. And all the “make your own rain gauge” websites and videos are flawed beyond words. They essentially tell you to tape a ruler to a jar and—presto—you have a rain gauge. I wasn’t the greatest student of mathematics or science, and I never took a meteorology class, but my instincts tell me that there is more to making a rain gauge than this. If you have any insight, please let me know.
9. I’m going to keep a detailed garden journal.
Almost. I started a garden journal. My first entry was on March 4 when I planted my onion seeds. Unfortunately, my most recent entry was on April 25 when I repotted my peppers, eggplant, tomatillo, and parsley, and planted nasturtium.
I suppose I could go back and fill in the blanks, but so much has happened since then. I will thank myself in the future if I can get back into journaling.
10. Keep my hopes high and my expectations low.
Stay tuned for my next set of gardening goals…
Hello. It’s been as while. Please forgive my absence from this blog. I’ve had a lot going on lately. We had a baby last month and I was home for a few weeks helping around the house. I am extremely thankful for the generous paternity leave Rodale gave me. It made such a huge difference to my family and me. Besides being around to help with the new baby, I was also lucky enough to get to spend an unprecedented amount of time with my almost-3 year old daughter. Together, we spent a lot of time working and playing in the garden.
I’ll give you a quick tour:
You can see the pea trellis in the foreground and the bean teepee in the background. In a few months that teepee will be a cool and shady hideout for my daughter.
The zucchini we started indoors finally made it’s way to the garden. This is our first blossom. Fresh zucchini is right around the corner.
And our potatoes are starting to push through the straw mulch.
This is what I call strategic volunteer cilantro. After last year’s plants went to seed, I broadcast the seeds along the fence on the southwest corner of the garden. It should make a nice herb border that attracts lots of beneficial insects.
We also planted four rows of corn and two rows of bush beans on the east side of the garden. I tried the three sisters here last year, but the squash bugs were terrible and they seemed to have their way with my corn too. So I’m not planting any winter squash this year.
And finally, here are the turnips I planted last September, gone to seed. The turnip roots were awesome in the late fall, and the turnip greens were tasty in early spring. It’s amazing what will survive over the winter with a good layer of mulch.