Winter Garden

14 03 2011
Where we plan to plant our garden.

Where we plan to plant our garden.

So, during our last snowstorm, and in the middle of shoveling the driveway, Judy gazed out over the frozen tundra, formerly known as our yard, and said, “Over there is where I think we should put our garden.”  Sensing the seriousness of her voice, and being weary of holding onto the shovel, I, without hesitation, went over and stepped off a sizable plot so that the planning could begin.  OK, perhaps I’m being a bit facetious; but, we have talked, many times, about putting in a garden this year and now is the time to start dreaming and planning.  As I’ve been discussing in many of my posts, I am a huge fan of sustainability and buy local so home gardening is the perfect way to further the premise; and, there are few better pleasures than working the garden on late summer evenings and sneaking nibbles of some of the ripening delicacies.  Late that afternoon, with a hot toddy in hand, I started my internet search into concepts, products, systems, etc. in order to design the perfect garden; after all, a designer can’t just wander out next spring and start poking seeds in the ground.

One of the sites that I hit initially was Humble Seed, I happened onto their site through facebook link sometime back, and was impressed by their philosophies and simple, organic logic.  In one of their facebook entries, they had a nice article on planning and layout of a garden (as seen below) so, I was off and running.

Courtesy of Humble Seed. http://humbleseed.com

The above layout is a nice one for those of us starting to approaching the over-the-hill group as it allows for raised beds that can easily be reached from the paths and limits some of the bending over.  There was also a lot of great information on preparing the beds in order to create the most organic scenario for healthy, wholesome produce.

With my layout started, it was now time to consider what we might want to grow.  In the past, Judy and I have kept a nice herb garden, just outside the back door, as well as great spring greens for healthy salads so I knew those items were definitely on the list.  In past years, we’ve also planted tomatoes, peppers, squash, and eggplant; but, wait a minute, those past experiences were never successful because of the deer population in our neighborhood (and the tomato loving Doberman) so it was back up to my layout to think about fencing to protect the fruits-of-our-labor.

Courtesy of Humble Seed. http://www.humbleseed.com

OK, back to determining what to plant.  Judy and I decided we wanted a nice kitchen garden that we can enjoy throughout the year and it would also be nice to have a few thing to put in the freezer for next winter but, we also knew that we needed to be mindful of our busy schedules and, as such, need to be prudent about how much we take on.  Besides, we are in South Jersey, the garden state, and have access to some of the best produce stands anywhere.  Having thought through that, I again returned to Humble Seed to select a nice variety of herb and vegetable seeds that will complement our tastes.

Now we were making progress; we’ve designed a great layout, we’ve considered protecting our growies from the foragers, and we’ve selected a great variety of seeds to provide our planned bounty.  The next item on my list was to think about watering of the garden; while we planned to grow produce indigenous to our area, sustainable by local rainfall averages, we occasionally hit a dry spell and don’t want to stunt our garden’s growth. This, I decided, was a great way to introduce another concept that I feel strongly about, that of rainwater

Courtesy of Rain Well. fttp://www.rainwell.com

harvesting.  Again, I had come across a great link that I’ve shared, from a company, Rain Well that produces a wonderful variety of rain harvesting systems, from home versions to larger commercial varieties.  The product, pictured here, will provide a nice backup to Mother Nature (and also has a Texas star on the front); and, with this product, I can simply run a hose from the barrel or tie to a simple drip irrigation system to keep our garden hydrated.

And now, with the groundhog having not seen his shadow and the weatherman predicting milder temperatures, we can start putting the wheels into motion for our garden and start pre-ordering some of the materials so that we can hit the ground running (when the ground thaws) this spring; sure, there are a lot of items that still have to be taken into consideration but, we’ve made a good start.  So, if you find yourself in South Jersey this summer stop by, help pull a few weeds, taste some of Mother Nature’s delights, and then sit out on the deck overlooking our garden and enjoy one of Judy’s killer summer cocktails.

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