The rain has been here for a few months and the dark and dull winter months are starting to take it’s toll on this Oregonian. February is usually when I’m fed up with the cold and start dreaming of those long and warm summer days.
This guy gets me.
I’ve found the best cure for my wintertime blues is to start planning my garden!
I must say up front, I’m no expert when it comes to planning and maintaining a garden. I still have a lot to learn and thought I would outline my process, successes, and failures (and recipes) here. This post and future posts are referring to my small, south facing backyard Portland, Oregon garden. After all, it’s the food from my garden that inspires a lot of my cooking.
Here are a few tips to get your planning started.
Make a list! My husband and I sit down and make a list of everything we want to have in our garden, we don’t always agree on some things so it’s good to put it on paper. If you’re having a difficult time with this first step try thinking about your favorite meals - pizzas, salads, pastas, side dishes, etc. Don’t forget to consider herbs like basil, cilantro, and thyme.
Here is what our list looks like –
Roma Tomatoes, Cherry Tomatoes, Sweet Onions, Shallots, Spinach, Yellow Squash, Zucchini, Garlic, Kale, Cabbage, Lettuce, Beets, Leeks, Peas, Soy Beans, Carrots, Cucumbers, Beans, Strawberries, Basil, Cilantro, Thyme, Rosemary, and Parsley.
I started my garden planning this year by going through my seed packets from previous years. Turns out I was storing seeds in a few different drawers and had some duplicates and empty packets. To help keep everything organized I found an old recipe box and organized them in alphabetical order.
Do some research! There are lots of online seed catalogs or local stores with great resources for different varieties. Now is a good time to decide if you will start from seeds or starts. In the past I have tried to start everything from seed but had little success. I think my bad luck was mainly from poor planning. This year I will likely do a combination of seeds and starts, I’ll attempt everything from seeds first but lets be honest, I’ll end up getting a few starts as well.
Today I started my tomatoes, peppers, onions, and shallots. I purchased a basic seed kit and some nice light seed starting soil. I planted and marked the seeds and then covered them with plastic (to prevent water evaporation and keep them warm) and placed them on a heating pad from the garden store to help with the germination process. Hopefully I’ll see some green in the next week or so.
Good luck with your garden planning!