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Saturday, February 21, 2015

Let's Get This Garden Party Started

As it's looking like we'll have an early spring (not counting tonight and tomorrow night which will be in the low thirties), and since I always seem to be behind the eight ball when it comes to getting things started on time in the garden, I started my vegetable seeds today. They went into a new Speedling tray (I bought five total) which I got at Peaceful Valley Seeds, along with the drain trays * (I bought only three of these). The Speedling trays come in different cell sizes; I chose trays with seventy-two each 2x2x3 inch cells.  Each cell is an upside down pyramid with an open bottom so that the roots are air pruned and so that you can get the plant out of the tray easily.  Normally, I would avoid buying anything made out of styrofoam, but these had really great reviews online and seem to last awhile, with good care.  One person said they had theirs ten years already and another person has had hers for twenty years!  That's taking good care of them.

I also want to show you my garden planner that I got from Amazon for around thirteen bucks.  It's actually just a calendar planner made by, appropriately, a company called Bloom, but the reason I chose it is that it's perfect for the purpose for which I need it.

It comes with different covers; I chose this one thinking it would be easier to see if I left it in the grass.
First you have the month-at-a-glance page. In addition to writing down all the good dates for planting and noting things like the last average frost date for my area, and the two best dates to set strawberries, I can also note things like when the girls started laying, and the temperatures in my compost piles for a given day.  That way, I can stay on top of the compost and turn it when it needs doing.  This is also the page where I'll be noting breeding and kindling dates for the rabbits when I finally get them.

 What I also like about this particular month-at-a glance page is the space off to the right for a todo list for the month.
At the top in the todo list, I'm listing all the plants I need to plant that month; I'm noting what to start (in the trays) and what to direct seed.  I also have it split by the crops I'm seeding every two weeks, and the main crops that I have to start that month.
Then at the bottom of the todo list, I've listed all the dates for planting above and underground crops by the moon, and have bolded the most favorable dates of the month for them. This information came out of the Farmer's Almanac, which Steve gets for me every year for my birthday in October.  
Then after the month-at-a-glance page, the next pages are organized by week, with plenty of room to write down what I'll be planting on given date.  On days I'm not planting I can list the other chores I need to get done. 
Then at the front of the planner are several blank pages for notes. Here I've listed all the seed varieties I'll be working with this year, and I've noted how many days to maturity (where it was given) and whether it's a cool or warm season crop.
And then finally, I've also noted for myself how many cells and how many seeds per cell, or feet of row, or flats I want to plant at a time.  I also made a note of the perennial vegetables I'm planting this year, but haven't decided any dates for them yet because I've still to work out where to put them.  Most of them can also be planted either spring or autumn, and the potato onions won't even show up until September anyway.  The perennial vegetables will go into my permaculture area, but I've yet to figure that all out.

I am really liking the planner; hopefully it will keep me on task and on target this year.  It would be really nice to not feel like I'm always behind for a change....

* Twenty bucks seems like a lot for the drain trays but they are actually British boots trays and they are super sturdy. I may keep one of them for boots!


Amanda said...

omg, you're making me feel lazy..... so, got the garden cleaned out yesterday, all ready for the summer. I'm actually thinking of throwing down some black plastic to really kill off any weeds considering growing back. But... I'm also jonesing to throw some seeds into the ground. peas, etc. Think we're in for another freeze?

Amanda said...
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Paula said...

I do think we're in for another freeze...forecast says Saturday and Tuesday nights are going to be 32, but that could change.

Last average frost date for Portland is March 23, so I'm not planning on putting anything in the ground until close to that or after. So far, nothing I've started has actually come up yet, so don't feel lazy.

I may be jumping the gun here.