It is seed planting time at our house and I am so ready to do this! Everything here is still grey and brown because we are still in winter so I will add some past pictures of spring and summer to bring some cheer into this post.
I have been thinking about the great depression study and the importance of gardening this year and then a memory came to my mind. I realized that most everyone I can think of in my family, that lived through the great depression, had some type of vegetable garden and at least one fruit tree in their yard. Either a small garden or large one, they had a plot to grow vegetables.
When my mother came to live with us I planted flowers all over our yard because she loved flowers.
I started enjoying the flowers mixed in with the vegetables and if the vegetables failed the flowers would be there to lessen the loss.
I started making paths all over the yard and planting anything I could because it felt like it was the right thing to do, it made sense to have vegetables and flowers instead of grass.
Then we started adding herbs mixed in with the vegetables.
Most anywhere in our backyard there would be something to eat. Tomatoes, peppers, okra, squash, green beans, blueberries, peaches, pears and then we found we could extend the food to grow in the fall.
Parts of our paths have mulch, some had hay because our fur babies enjoy to sun in the hay, some of the paths had gravel but we found later that the gravel will just work it's way under the soil. There never has been a certain way because we are always experimenting with our garden.
Then we had a dark place in our life. Covid hit and no matter how hard we tried to not let it affect us it did. Life was different, a mental fatigue a physical fatigue. Even our garden seemed to suffer. Seems the environment is off kilter.
Then this past August I decided I would included summer plants in our fall garden and call it my test garden. And so the fall test garden grew summer plants. Patty pan squash, we almost grew fall okra but I should have planted it late July instead of early august. This motivated me to shake it all off and get back at it.
I gathered seed, I ordered seed and I started planning for 2023.
Today I surveyed the dormant winter garden. We had a deep freeze in December and the temperatures damaged some citrus trees and herb plants that normally stay green throughout the winter here where we live. I am happy that our elephant garlic that I planted in the fall is rebounding.
A strange patch of azaleas is blooming when everything else is dormant.
The fruit trees are putting out buds much too early, I have asked them to not be so fast or they will freeze.
When we grow our plants from seed we plant when it is still cold an frosty outside so they will be sturdy little plants when there is no more freezing weather. So I got out my garden planting guide and found that it is time to plant many veggies and herbs seed. Charles helped me gather up the seed trays and today I planted herbs and tomorrow I will start planting the vegetables that should be planted now and this will stagger for the next few months.
It feels right when I plant a seed and like it is the sensible thing to do.
I have always said if we can grow a little of this and a little of that we can make soup. If the plants do well, then we eat more vegetables and if even more we can preserve our vegetables to have during winter. The same goes for the fruit trees and bushes.
A garden can be buckets on a patio, a tomato plant in a discarded flower pot, a seed can be planted in most anything. It can be on a back porch or front porch or a side yard garden as many people had in the past. I encourage you to grow at least one vegetable plant this year and nurture it so it can give back to you. Plant some type of fruit bush or tree and it will give you fruit over and over each year.
Planting seed costs less than purchasing starter plants. For spring planting first find out when your average last frost date is in your area. Ours is March 10th. Then study your seed information of how many weeks or days to plant before last frost date. For our Cherokee Purple Tomato seeds, it needs to be planted 6 to 10 weeks before last frost date. So that is now, could have been two or three weeks ago but we are still within the window of planting. Then find out on your seed information how many days to maturity, that would be from planting the seed to mature, ready to harvest. This will tell you when to expect to harvest.
For fall planting you reverse this, you check when your average first frost is, ours is November 15th and then just reverse what you are doing for spring. Doing this math should help to have a better harvest.
Gardening is trial and error and each year we learn more than we did the year before. Plants enjoy companions and so if you have little space to plant vegetables find out what companion your plants would like to have next to them. This is called companion planting and it is easy to research. I hope you give gardening a try, it truly is a wonderful part of a sensible life.