Gearing up for Spring

Gearing up for Spring
Small corn plants from our garden in spring 2016

Now that the snow has finally melted here, I have been thinking about planting our garden.
“Isn’t it a little early?” you might say.
It might be for some, but I don’t think it is for us. Why? Let me give you some background.
In the summer of 2015, after looking for about a year and a half, we finally found a house that had everything we wanted. It was an older house that had been completely updated on the inside, which included an awesome kitchen with granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances. In addition, it sat on a larger lot so that we could eventually build a shop for my partner in crime (his welding and fabrication machines had taken over the garage and didn’t leave room for him to actually work on any of his projects). When I say larger lot, I mean the lot was more than an acre. 1.17 acres to be exact.
Our house sits on the front half of the lot surrounded by grass, while the back half of the lot is just dirt. We moved into the house in the fall of 2015, and because it was fall we didn’t really think much about what we were going to do with it. We talked about the possibility of planting a garden in the spring, but that was quickly pushed out of my mind when our son arrived a month later.
Fast forward to spring 2016. My partner in crime started some seeds for some tomato plants and peppers in a little seed starter kit. They sprouted but I didn’t really pay attention to them because I was too focused on our son who was growing like crazy, and you can never have too many pictures of your baby right? Eventually the plant starts died. I was thinking that we might go the store and just by some starts.
“We don’t need to buy any. My dad started a bunch of seeds in that greenhouse he bought and he said we could have the ones he wasn’t going to plant.”
“Oh cool” I thought.
When he said he started a bunch he meant it. I was imagining 10 to 20 plants. We ended up with 70 tomato plants (no that isn’t a typo), around a dozen jalapeno plants, about 5 bell pepper plants, and 6 cucumber plants. We also planted yellow and white onions, yellow potatoes, red potatoes, russet potatoes, carrots, sweet peas, and green beans.
And corn. So. Much. Corn. We had so much that we didn’t know what to do with it. I posted a plea on Facebook for people to come get free corn but only had a couple of people respond. We ended up taking almost 600 pounds of corn to the local food bank so it could be distributed before it went bad.
Gearing up for Spring
Picture of our garden from August 2016

Overall, I would say that our garden last year was a success. We were able grow most of the food that we ate during the summer. We also grew enough that we were able to freeze corn, green beans, carrots, bell peppers, and multiple batches of marinara sauce. I also tried canning for the first time and was able to can tomatoes, jalapenos, and pickles.  The only downside to the garden was the amount of weeds that we had to deal with. We are still working on a better strategy for this coming year.
A few days ago I mentioned to my partner in crime that I was thinking about the garden.
“Oh yeah? Have you been thinking about what we should plant this year?”
“Yep. I made a spreadsheet.”
“Oh geez” he said.
I love spreadsheets. I have a spreadsheet for just about everything.
So far my spreadsheet just has a list of things that I’d like to plant this coming year, from basil to zucchini (yes I’m a nerd and sorted it alphabetically). Once we finalize what we are going to plant, I plan on including information such as sun, water and soil requirements, plant spacing, companion plants and number of days to harvest. I also plan on making a map of the garden that will show the area where each plant is located. I’ll keep you updated on our progress.
Do you have a garden? Or have you thought about planting a garden? 

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