It’s that time of year!
It’s when I start dreaming of my garden, browsing through seed catalogs, and start creating my plan for my garden.
When we were in the military, I never had a garden or a desire to have a garden. We always knew that we were going to move and gardens to me meant something you plant directly into the ground. So I pushed it into the back of my mind and thought that maybe I would try it when I got older and when we were more settled.
When Gus first retired and we moved to NC, we lived all over that first year while he searched for a job and then trained for his new career. Finally, after 18 months of living in NC, we purchased a house! We called it our “Forever Home” (not knowing that we would move again in 3 years…lol!) and it was a completely different mindset knowing that this house was OURS and we could do whatever we wanted.
During that first month of home ownership, we were walking through Lowes and Gus saw a book called “Square Foot Gardening”. It seemed interesting, so we picked it up. When I started reading at home, it seemed like a really neat concept! It talked about how you could maximize your garden space by planting in raised beds with a special soil mixture. We had a fairly large yard, but since we were surrounded by trees, we had a very small area that received full sun throughout the day, so Square Foot Gardening seemed that it would work.
I started with just 3 boxes (each 4 foot by 4 foot) to see how it would go. To my amazement, things were great and I grew vegetables for the first time in my life! The next spring, I expanded the garden and with just 9 boxes, I was able to produce tons of fresh fruits and vegetables-enough to supply our family of 5 with fresh produce all throughout the summer with plenty of excess for canning and freezing. I was hooked!
It became SO therapeutic for me! Gardening relaxed me, and I loved seeing one tiny seed become a huge harvest of vegetables! What a reward! We tried new things like installing cattle panels for creeping vegetables to grow up, and it was all successful!
Now that we are in a new house, I didn’t have much time last year to plan a garden. We moved into a house that required a lot of time for renovations, so I planted straight into the ground. The soil here is pretty rocky and needs some love, so I wasn’t that successful. The weeds overran everything and I didn’t have time to devote to it. (Thankfully, my peppers still loved the dry soil and I was able to barter for just about everything else through my supply of blueberries from our bushes.) So I am back to my love of Square Foot Gardening and am in the process of building my garden here. I have acres and acres here with which to work and am SO excited about the prospect of this year’s garden!
So I used a program this week to map out my garden. After a few years, I know about how many plants I need for my family and have some extra room to try some new crops such as Asian long beans. I’ve made sure to use a companion planting chart like the one below so I plant the correct plants alongside each other.
I’ll keep updating as I plant this spring, but for now, I have to get busy building my boxes before it sneaks up on me!