Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Let's Talk About Dreaming and Planning Our Backyard Gardens...

It's sunny here, ladies. And it's supposed to be in the 60's today. Woohoo!

I've got the planting itch.

My darling hubby is going to build me an indoor seed-starting shelving unit using some metal shelves we already have in our basement. Once he gets that done, I'll be able to put all of my started seeds on that unit which we will keep in our basement.

And if you're wanting to start your seeds, the best time to start most seeds is about 6 weeks prior to your last frost. Here in Western PA, that means that I should have started mine at the beginning of this month since our last frost is usually mid-April. So, I'm a little late, but I'm not going to stress. I'm learning that gardening (successful gardening) is experimental and you have to allow for some flexibility and possible failures. That's how we learn. :)

It's great to have some good resource books or online resources to help you in your journey as a gardener.

Here are three that I have and am finding very helpful this planting season...

This is like the bible of country living ~ Encyclopedia of Country Living, 10th Edition. If you're easily overwhelmed, this book could easily overwhelm you because it's filled to the full and then some with any information you could every need to live a self-sufficient country life.

Then there is this really cute book that I just adore this year ~ Sugar Snaps and Strawberries: Simple Solutions for Creating Your Own Small-Space Edible Garden. The information is presented in a clear, concise way. There is enough information to make this a really helpful guide, but not so much that the reader could become easily overwhelmed. Another plus is that the author discusses a lot of container gardening. This book is geared towards anyone, not just those of us who own acreage out in the country. Plus, this book has gorgeous photos to drool over and dream about...

Then there is this herb guide that I bought last summer to help with my herbal gardening ~ Your Backyard Herb Garden: A Gardener's Guide to Growing Over 50 Herbs Plus How to Use Them in Cooking, Crafts, Companion Planting and More. I love this book. It gives info on general care of all herbs, and it also gives info on individual herbs including how to care for them and grow them, how to harvest them, and how to use them. I have found this very helpful. And each herb is pictured as a colored sketch drawing as well as a real photo as it looks in reality. This book also has a neat little section on preparing herbal oils and herbal vinegar tinctures. This is a great little book packed with some great information; especially helpful for the beginner-intermediate herbal gardener!

I've also started a gardening journal this year. This is to chronicle and organize only our backyard gardens. We also have a HUGE garden that we share with my parents that is a joint effort in planning and caring and harvesting.

In my journal, I've been sketching some possible arrangements for our backyard gardens as well as keeping track of which seeds I've purchased, planting/harvesting info on those seeds, as well as how I'm going to organize the planting of those seeds (i.e. - which plants are going to go in which beds, etc.)

For anyone that is curious, here is what I'm planting in our backyard this year...

Leafy Greens - organic arugula, organic emerald endive, organic red winter kale, heatwave mixed lettuces, Fordhook Giant organic swiss chard

Herbs - Genovese basil, sweet basil, chervil, cilantro, sage, parsley, dill, chives, thyme, chamomile, lemon balm, mint, lavender

Pumpkins - Jack O Lanterns, Sweet Sugar pie pumpkins, Baby Boo pumpkins

Misc. - Detroit Dark Red organic beets, Danvers half-long carrots, Rover hybrid radishes, Evergreen long white scallions, seedless Ruby Red watermelons

I also just placed my order for 12 blueberry bushes that we're going to plant in our backyard as well.

In our big, shared garden, we plant things such as potatoes, beans, corn, tomatoes (lots of these), cukes, squash, broccoli, etc.

Gardening is a lot of work, but there are such great payoffs as the harvest starts to pour forth. I can't tell you how awesome it feels to be able to pull up fresh, organic plants that you brought forth out of the ground with your own muscle and sweat. It's a great feeling!

So, what are you all doing to prepare for your garden?

Other helpful online resources:

Where I purchased my seeds: Burpee

USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map - find out what planting zone you live in

You Grow, Girl - a really cool blog for those who wish to garden but feel hindered by either space or money.

Planting Guide - gives a great list for when to start your different seeds

Urban Homesteading - a great website and community for people wishing to become more self-sufficient in these modern days.

Homemade Composter Plans - a really great and economical idea for turning an old food-safe barrel into a composter for your backyard; compost is great for your garden

Some great gardening blogs...

Backyard Gardening Blog

Garden Rant

The Modern Homestead

Gardening Tips 'n Ideas

BumbleBee Blog

Garden Therapy

Hope this helps you get started on your garden dreaming and planning!

Have a blessed Wednesday!!!!


A Primitive Homestead said...

Wonderful post. Blessings!

A Primitive Homestead said...

With the amount you are planting I was wondering if you can freeze dry or do all. I did some drying & canning last harvest. If I can not get these books at my local library & use the links you provided will it help you get some sort of credit? If I have to buy I would like to help you receive credit for your kindness of sharing this post. Blessings!

Amber said...

Lara - I'm hoping that you will read this... I've tried several times to get onto your blog but when I click on your name, I'm brought to a blogger page that says that you're profile is not public. I used to be able to get onto your blog, but lately this has been the case. Anyway, I wanted you to know that you've been in my prayers regarding the topic you left a comment about a couple of weeks ago. I'm praying that God would give you wisdom because that's a really hard situation you're in. Also, I do get a small commission from purchases made through my affiliate links here on my blog, but if you can find the books cheaper somewhere else, you should definitely order from there. You may want to try, just make sure that you buy from a reputable seller with a good rating (the sellers have percentages showing how good their rating is.) Or you could try ebay. I have often found amazon to be the best buy when it comes to purchasing books that you want to be brand new, but if you don't mind owning a used book, is a great place to look!

A Primitive Homestead said...

Came back to get more information on the books. I gave the list to my local library today & they are going to try to get them from other libraries. Nothing wrong with preowned books. Thank you for your prayers. Not sure why my profile is not public. Sorry about this you are welcome any time. I will check into it. Today I really started my garden planning after taking a look out the window & seeing how barren he grounds are. Blessings!