Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Gardening: Where to Begin?

I don't know if this is what everybody else experiences, but when I sit down for the first time in the winter to plan the next garden, I'm completely overwhelmed. Part of this is, I admit, my excessive Type A personality that makes everything bigger than it is, but I'm not convinced that that's all of it.

I mean, think about it, you're not just sketching a garden layout. Or maybe you are, in which case I commend you for not freaking out over what should just be another routine chore in the world of gardening. But when it's me,'s what I have to take into account:
  • garden shape/size (so far this is different every year)
  • how much we ate last year of what I planted, calculated out to what we will need this year
  • where plants were located last year so I can rotate them this year (in conjunction with their sun/shade needs)
  • looking through my notes at how each thing behaved/produced so I know what to nix or try again (or try a different variety)
  • an ever-growing list of "want-to-trys" to fit in amongst the "need-to-plants"
Honestly, what this ends up looking like to me is circular logic; every decision I need to make is dependent on making another decision. And every year the best that I can do is just jump in. This year I'm starting with the WHAT to plant, before figuring out how much or where it will go in the garden location. I actually called Kara for help with this post because, as an absolute beginner, she would be more help than I in knowing what the best place is to start when you know nothing, and she said to start with the what, not how much or where.

So according to what the newbie says, let's start with WHAT. If you have five minutes, you can get this part of the project knocked out without even trying: sit down and list out what your family will eat in the form of vegetables. Don't forget things like onions, garlic, or potatoes, not just the green stuff. And don't worry about getting too many things on the list- yet. Trust me, that will take care of itself in due course.

Here's what Kara is growing, with her Year One garden:
green beans
shell & snap peas
salad greens

And here's what I'm growing, on Year Four.
shelling peas
butternut squash
green beans
Lima beans
leaf lettuce
golden beets

Not hugely different, really. I'm trying a few things this year I haven't tried before (cauliflower, asparagus, and beets, primarily) but overall my garden doesn't change from year to year other than to perhaps try new varieties of the same foods. Mostly it grows in size, as I insist on planting more of each thing to get us through more of the year.

And you know where that leaves us? Garden size. Join us here to move on to the next big should you make this new project anyway?!

This post is hosted at the Mix It Up MondayNatural Living MondayHomestead Barn, Teach Me Tuesday, Tutorials & Tips, Maple Hill Hop, Backyard Farming Connection, Tuesdays With A Twist, Wow Us Wednesday, Creative Muster, Real Food Wednesdays, Down Home, Whatever Goes, Inspire Me, Wildcrafting Wednesday, the Homeacre HopFrugal Days, Home & Garden ThursdayGreen Thumb Thursday, Unprocessed Fridays, Old Fashioned Friday, From the Farm, and Home Sweet Home  blog hops.


  1. Sounds like an ambitious garden! Spring will be here before you know it! Thanks for joining The Maple Hill Hop today!

  2. Good luck with it! I hope you have a bountiful harvest. Thank you so much for sharing this with us at the HomeAcre Hop. We'd love to have you back again tomorrow!

  3. Thank you for linking this article up to Green Thumb Thursday - hope you come again this week! Its posts like these that make me antsy for spring!