Why would I have a Garden update in the end of January? Hear me out here – I know it sounds a bit premature, but by the end of this post, I will show you how to fashion a set of clear goals so you can get the most out of your upcoming gardening season.
I have always had a haphazard method when it comes to gardening.
My method and plans were simple:
- Once the grounds warm up – go to the nursery, Wal-Mart, or wherever – and look at a bunch of plants.
- Ohhh! Shiny! Spend around $100-$200 on plants.
- Spend another $50 on compost, fertilizer, and “black earth.”
- Fix or replace all of my broken “gardening” tools, or buy something else that’s shiny this year. (Like a nifty seed starter!)
- Justify to the wife all the expenses, with the lame, “We’ll be saving money!”
- Plant my seeds – with the best of intentions of course!
- Watch the seedlings grow with baited breath.
- Plant the tiny seedlings with a careful, tender hand, and a prayer.
- Later, curse as the plants die off, overtake the area, or refuse to grow.
I did a little better last year after reading the new Mel Bartholomew’s All New Square Foot Gardening. I had a bit of a plan – complete with building some nifty little gardening boxes. Lucky for me, the system is pretty hands off – I managed to get quite a gardening haul despite the neglect I showered onto the unfortunate plants. As you can see in the photo above, watering was optional.
This year I am plan to do a lot better – by setting some goals.
- By setting some clear goals, I will have a sense of what I want from my garden.
- Having the end in mind first will help me make the roadmap to get there.
- Week by week I will be able to see what is working, what is not, and troubleshoot.
- There will be less waste of time, energy, and money by knowing what the goals are.
- I will save a ton of money by pre-planning.
- I will have a clear understanding at the end of the season whether the goals were met or not, and what to fix for next year.
How do you go about setting these goals?
Grab a pen and paper, and ask yourself these questions:
- What do I ultimately want with my garden? What is the raison d’être? It could be to feed your family, to eat healthy, to make a gift – or anything you like. You are about to drop a lot of time and effort to this project, so having the reason why is the first step to your success.
- What do I need to get done so I can succeed this year? Do you need to build raised beds? Read up on how to garden? Perhaps you need to have a compost bin set up, your earth tested, order some seeds – this is where you lay out the major points for your overall success.
- Are there any areas that I need to look at that didn’t work out last year? (Or, if this is your first season, then think of what might come up.) An example of this is I grew a lot of tomatoes last year, but I only harvested 50%. I found the other 50% while picking up my dog’s waste in the back yard. This year I’ll make sure he can’t reach the tomatoes.
- Is there anything that I am interested or excited about trying? Have you always wanted to try growing rosemary? How about Thai Birdseye chilies?
Here are my goals for this season in gardening:
- Grow my own food for eating healthy in the summertime.
- Grow enough for canning for the winter.
- Grow enough herbs for dried herbs.
- Grow enough herbs to make gifts this year.
- Read up on Mel Bartholomew’s All New Square Foot Gardening.
- Find seed catalogs and order the seeds I do not already have.
- Plant the seeds I have indoors so I don’t have to drop a lot of money down in May.
- Design a pleasing arrangement that will allow room for my child to play.
- Make some flower boxes for the wife so she can have her garden area as well.
- Keep the dog away from one of my growing areas so I can actually get my full tomato harvest.
- Branch out with newer stuff, like garlic and ginger.
- Grow grapes and possibly make wine.
- Grow raspberries and blackberries.
Alright, so that is how you make your goals for the Garden this season. Next week I will get into designing an attack plan for the upcoming season.
So, what are your goals for the coming garden season? Let me know in the comments!