The winter has been mild here on the Farm, but our hearts have had a tumultuous time of it! Losing my Mom and Dad has taken a strange and bigger toll on our family than we previously thought it would. Grief has its own way of winding through our lives and we’ve each seen a struggle that has been unique to us.
However, as we sit in the center of our winter months here in Eastern Oregon, it is time once again to start planning for Spring! And Spring brings with it the hope of new beginnings. We’ve learned so much along the way and I think this year, we will be able to set our sights on new priorities and new goals. I think this year we will be able to finally sift through the old and begin our quest for embracing the new.
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Each year in the late Winter and early Spring I spend time planning the garden. It’s good to take notes each summer so you can look back at what worked and what didn’t. Then you are better able to recalculate your goals for next year. So that’s where I’m at today, contemplating this year’s plan and layout using my references from last year!
Years ago, when I was first learning to can, a friend of mine told me how she would can enough peaches for two years in one summer. The next year she would can enough applesauce for two years. Since she purchased her fruit directly from the orchard, she was able to can in large quantities. However, I like the idea of applying this concept to my garden as it affords me a natural crop rotation for the soil. It would also give me a break from more labor-intensive crops or crops I’m not super fond of processing.
Last summer I planted one row of zucchini, and it was enough for two years! So, zucchini is not on this year’s planting list even though it is one of the easiest crops to process.
Surprisingly, I am choosing to not plant peas this year. Peas are super prolific and an easy grower, but they are labor intensive. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing like a sugar pea straight off the vine or a pod full of sweet homegrown peas, but I think my garden space this year is better served with other crops.
I’m going to up my rows of potatoes and onions. I’ve learned a lot more about growing them and storing them so, I’m ready to take on a higher volume. Carrots are a must because they are easy to grow and there is NOTHING like a homegrown carrot! Seriously.
Lettuce, cabbage, eating cukes (I grew enough pickling cukes last summer to keep me in pickles for a couple of years), tomatoes and green beans… and maybe a few rows of corn.
I also want to really up my game when it comes to herbs. I haven’t been successful at growing large enough quantities and it does take a large amount to grow enough to dry and save a quantity we would need for a year or more.
Mapping my garden to scale with graph paper has been really helpful. It’s a good way to determine spacing for plants that need more room and to plan more reasonably what I can truly grow in my space. It gives me an overall vision for the garden that helps me use my resources most efficiently.
Are you planning your garden yet? What is your favorite item to grow? Check out how we improved our garden soil here! Inspire me with conversations about your salsa garden, pumpkin harvest or your sauerkraut recipe! I can’t wait for Spring!