This morning while I had my coffee in my garden, I made my plans for this year's garden. Last year my husband enlarged the beds in the backyard that are built of rocks. Since he took down a couple of trees that had small beds built around them, he combined those beds all into one big one. It is really nice. I can't wait to plant it. Making a plan for your new garden is the most important thing. To know where each plant is going to go when you plant, means that you are not just throwing a bunch of plants here and there. It will be a more productive garden this way.
Taking down a couple of the trees.
It was hard work for my husband to rebuild these beds. But he did a great job and I love the way it looks now. I was out there this morning, envisioning what it will look like full of plants. My beans will definitely be planted here. Bush beans come up real fast for me, so it won't be long after I plant the seeds before I will have plants. Have to wait for our weather to cooperate though before I can do any planting outside.
The raised beds today!
The closest bed in this photo, the round bed, will have Wax (yellow) beans planted in it this year. The next bed you see, I call that the L bed (since it is shaped as an L), will have Blue Lake Bush beans in it. The very last bed, where you see the two trees, the snake bed (not because it has a lot of snakes, but due to it's shape, it does have some snakes in it though.), will have the Contender Bush beans planted in it. We can many jars of beans and eat them all winter. Mostly because it is my best crop.
Bush Beans planted in the first four beds here, 2013
I have always planted our green beans in the wood beds on the other side of the house. They say you shouldn't plant them in the same area year after year. So I will see if they are right. A whole different area for them. I am looking forward to having different plants in these beds this year. Spice up things a bit around Peaceful Forest Homestead! Maybe it will confuse the garden pests.
After so many days of below zero temperatures, it felt like spring would never get here. Even the robins who usually are here by the fifteenth of March. Some years they are here as early as the 7th (last year). It was past spring before I saw even one. They were out in the forest because we could hear them. I guess staying within the shelter of the forest is easier then being out in the open of our yard when it is still cold. Now they are here all the time.
It finally feels like spring here! We are all enjoying it. Our horse love it before the hot weather gets here. They will lay down several times a day out in the paddock. As for me, I have been starting my seeds as I told you on my previous blog posts. This year I have more room since my son now has his own place. It gives me more room to spread out the seeds that I am starting in the house.The reason I start so many is that I want to be able to eat them during the summer too. There are some that just won't give us anything till later in August or September.
Yesterday was such a beautiful day that my cat, Hobo, and I went for a walk. I am trying to do that every day. After being cooped up all winter in the house, I need to get outside. It has been hard for me to walk in this last year, but I think I am doing better. I was able to walk all the way past the paddock. It was great to see all the signs of life coming up. We still have some patches of snow, but in a few days, that will be all gone too.
Yesterday I started planting my seed starting planters, that I only use for this purpose. I bought three bags of seed starter from Lowe's. If a planter is too big, I add small rocks to the bottom for drainage. These little planters though, do not need it. I only fill them part way, then dampen the mix. Not too much. Just to feel it. Then put my heirloom seeds in place. Then I spray a little more water on the top with a spray bottle.
I save many of my seeds from year to year. I buy heirlooms most of the time. Though I have bought hybrids also. Just not a lot. I make sure the seeds I buy are covered by the safe seed pledge that are non-GMO seeds. I want to grow REAL food in my garden. This is the Safe Seed Pledge if you do not know what it is:
The Safe Seed Pledge
"Agriculture and seeds provide the basis upon which our lives depend. We must protect this foundation as a safe and genetically stable source for future generations. For the benefit of all farmers, gardeners and consumers who want an alternative, we pledge that we do not knowingly buy or sell genetically engineered seeds or plants. The mechanical transfer of genetic material outside of natural methods and between genera, families or kingdoms, poses great biological risks as well as economicc, political, and cultural threats..."
This pledge was signed by us (whatever seed company you are buying from) & other companies that are concerned about this issue. For more information on this project, contact:
The Safe Seed Initiative C/O Council for Responsible Genetics 5 Upland Road, Suite 3 Cambridge, MA 02140 www.gene-watch.org
Seeds Planted & Covered
This one is all done. Now is the part I dread..........having to keep them warm at night in my house and away from my cats. Our house is cool at night when we bank the wood stove back so it is not really that warm. I am trying a few different methods to keep them warm. As for the cats, I am keeping my fingers crossed that they won't be interested in them.
63 Seeds Started
Yesterday I started 63 seeds. I am planning on starting more, maybe tomorrow. How many will survive to be put in the garden? I don't know. Some will come up and some won't. Time will tell. I have a large area for the garden so I can start a lot of plants. There are some, like the bush beans that I don't start, and they will be the first ones up and producing. That is the plant I grow best, besides potatoes.
Time to get started with my garden. Right now that means starting my seeds inside. It is still quite cool and we are running our wood stoves. At night though, our house gets pretty cold once the wood stove is banked back for the night. I am thinking of trying a few different things to keep them warm during that time. Seeds need to be kept really warm. My oven has a pilot light and I did think about setting them in there for the night. But I am afraid the propane would kill them. So that is out. I could set them on top of the stove, and the pilot lights on each burner (I have 5) might give them a little warmth. The propane should not affect them up there in the open. That is an idea I might try.
This morning, I am accumulating all my seed starting essentials. Yesterday, I bought seed starter to start them out with. This morning I went down to the root cellar and got all my containers. Or a large amount of them. I still have more downstairs. I only needed the little ones to start the seeds in. I brought up trays that I keep them on so they are easy to move around. I save plastic containers that meat and produce come in from the stores. I use them to put under the little planters, to catch the water that drains out of them.
This is one of my favorite activities. I love to garden. I love to see it progressing during the spring and summer. It is an activity that my husband and I share. I used to share it with my father. When I work in my garden, my thoughts are always of him, and his skill as a gardener. After such a hard winter (they are always hard here anymore), spending time outside, listening to the birds, and being in the sunshine, is something I crave to do. How about you? Are you starting your seeds yet?