Friday, January 13, 2012

Planting Class 101

We're half way through January and its 28 degrees out side with 30 mile per hour gusts. I'm holed up inside nursing a pot of tea. I've got on my fleece lined pants, fuzzy socks and a fabulous cardigan wrap- for once I'm actually cold in this house. Yesterday I went for a run in a t-shirt, today finally feels like winter.

Is it spring yet?

Someone must think so - Parks, Stokes and Burpees have all sent me seed catalogs filled with pictures of overflowing bushel baskets, perfect bouquets, and fruit-laden branches.

YES! I want to plant PEANUTS! Yeah, really easy to go overboard this time of year, especially when Gurney's offers a 'buy $100, get $50 off" offer, which is exactly what I did. The best way to survive those catalog orders is to HAVE A LIST, preferably one you started in the fall last year.

I've often been asked what/when/how I plant... so here's Sarah's Planting Class 101 - Surviving the Seed Catalog

#1 Plant only things you're actually going to eat. Peanuts? Seriously? I'm never going to eat them, so why spend the money on the seed and take up the space in the garden? I do however, eat lots of broccoli, okra, corn, beans, peppers and squash, onions, sweet potatoes, yukon golds... So that's what I plant.

#2 Plant only WHAT you're going to eat. Unless you are a pesto fanatic, a 10' row of basil is way overkill. If you're not going to preserve it (or can't, like with lettuce), don't go overboard. ONE zucchini plant will produce more than I'd ever want to eat in a season, and I'm a squash nut.

#3 Plant only what you have room for! Many veggies have a 'bush' or a compact variety and will state 'best for small gardens' in the description. Don't plant bird house gourds if you only have a 20x20 garden - one plant will take up the whole thing. Pay attention to space requirements!

Ok, I've done my soul searching and decided what I want to plant this year. Next, I check out the fridge and see what I need to buy. I save my leftover seed from year to year (who plants 200 broccoli seeds in a season?) in the fridge - its cool and dry and most seeds will keep a respectable germination rate for many years after the 'packed by' date as long as they're kept well. Now I know what I need to buy, and can safely place my order.

Next up: Planting Class 102 - Planning the Garden

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