Well, it’s the first day of spring.. and my garden’s are covered in feet of snow with sharp hard ice coverings and the ground is frozen under that.. but I know that spring is coming and I am giving this year after the drought year a hard look indeed.
You see I have been tracking my farm for 13 years this spring.. and so I have my data on what I had the year after my last drought year and it says that I will have an early spring, a very wet spring with a mini-drought summer and a very long, long fall, with a few short hard frost nights.
On the last year, the El Nino was acting correctly but this year, not so much.. the models are all over the place.. some says we are going to have back to back runs, others say no, we are seeing something but its an unknown or that it will run around the equator instead of coming up and down.
The truth is, the data is there enough to say that we will have one or the other or a middle factor.. That is enough for me to go ok.. Time to layer up the garden plans and that is just what is going to happen this year.. Now I know that most people have a main garden area and they put a huge amount of time into picking its placement and working to improve the soil and I see the pictures.. they are so pretty..
I mean look at my mom’s awesome spring start to her raised garden box’s, they are as awesome and I am so glad that she has them.. they grow an amazing amount of food and she collects her rain water, she has fruit bushes and tree’s in her yard and she has more pots for growing fresh food.
But me.. I am a big believer that if you have the space for it.. you should have many garden spaces! I have the garden nursery spot, the main garden, the big garden, the front garden, the food forest garden, the teepee garden, the grapevine garden, the back garden and the side garden.. and these are not small.. most of them are as big or much bigger then the average “town or community garden” each has positives and each has negatives.
This is the front yard gardens (well part of them) and it was created because its the first area on the farm to melt out, its all natural free form raised beds that are six to a foot above the soil, its shifts all the time as it composts down and this year.. the oldest beds will be turned over and into the soil and then beds remain with the mix.
(that photo is from 2016, we are not near that melted yet!)
This is the backbone of the outside early spring garden plan, I always do some colder spring planting, smaller amount that fall into the “season” extenders and I have learned a lot doing this.. but this year.. this year, its going hard core.. we are not just trialing and learning and hoping for a few bits of this or that to add to the kitchen..
Nope, this year we are going to be using the greenhouse that is going up, we will be making and using a hot compost box, covered grow area, and I have plans for a temp hoop garden. See the old farmgate in the garden, and you see the metal climber garden.. they are both getting plastic covers that will create micro greenhouse effects and protections to really push those growing areas forward.
The biggest change for the spring garden.. intent!
Normally, I grow for fresh eating in the spring, I like to forage in the spring, its a great time of the year for it, and it does not take me long to find, harvest and dig up enough goodies to fill our plates so normally I give a tiny bit of space to some early things and then I use the rest for things that can handle a cold start and are long season plantings.
This has worked very well for me on normal years.. but as I don’t think this going to be one.. and look at my detailed records, I am flipping it..
I plan on forage to keep our fresh food plates filled.. but the spring garden is about short and fast harvests. In keeping with that, I have been on the hunt for anything that will produce within 45 to 60 days.
I am not worrying about seed saving, I am not worrying about long producers, I am after poundage! and putting up..
So what am I going to be growing?
- Pea’s -Snow
- Pea’s- fresh harvest
- Pea Greens- Harvested, dried and ground for green powder
- Radishs- Fresh for eating, Roasting, and for canning and for grated-dried use.
- Radish greens- Dried to be used as a spice green
- Beets- Greens-Fresh, dried
- Beets- Canning
- Kohlrabi- Canning -Grated and dried for soups and stews
- Broccoli- Fresh eating a touch, but mainly for harvest, drying for soups and stews
- Turnip- Canning -Pickled and Regular
- Turnip Greens- Drying for soup-mix greens and for ground for green powder
That’s all the space I will have in those area’s that can be worked on.. If all goes as planned, these will be in April and harvested by end of May to replant these area’s into the heat loving plants that will all be pre-started.
Some of these will be pre-soaked, pre-started if they can be..
I will be posting and updating on how this goes!
So are you looking at your local weather patterns? Are you looking at your gardens and wondering how can you increase its production? Are you worried about a cold year, a hot year, a drought year? do you think you are going to have a average garden year, or a short one or a extended one?
What is the one thing you are doing this year that will help extend your garden growing season?
I can’t usually put anything in the ground here til the may long weekend – though very rarely a week or two earlier – and even then have to watch for frost and be prepared to cover if needed. This year I’m aiming for far less ‘ready to eat quick’ such as lettuce/spinach etc…..and far more canning/storing over winter root vegetables. Still have to do some thinking 😊