Preparing for Spring Gardening

Dear Friends,

I can’t even believe I’m saying this when we’re barely into wintertime, but I’ve begun planning my Spring garden! We’re just a couple of months away from starting those earliest Spring vegetables, and I have a whole new plan for the garden this year. It will be my third Spring and Summer in this house, but I’m still trying to figure out how to garden here. I was fortunate enough in the past to have deep yards with lots of full sun, but that is no longer the case and it’s proven to be a struggle.

The good news is, two of the trees that were causing me problems are gone. I had the dying crabapple tree removed at the end of last summer, so my Spring vegetable plot should (hopefully) have enough sunlight this year to produce. My neighbors also gave me a very happy surprise one day in early December. I got in my car to leave one morning, looked up, and saw that they had finally cut down the giant dead tree in the center of their back yard, and heavily trimmed back the tree next to it.

These two trees were responsible for a good deal of the shade in my back yard in the afternoon, and I am so excited to see how much more sun I will get in the summer with them gone! The one downfall is that my house will have a little more hot sun beating down on it, so my electric bill could be a bit higher. It’s a tradeoff that I’m willing to make!

Since I haven’t had a successful garden yet at this house, I’m really hoping this year will be the year. I’m learning where I can and can’t grow things in my yard, and I’ve decided that I’m going to build a raised bed, with an enclosed section for my tomatoes to keep the squirrels out, up against the back of my house. It’s the place in the yard that gets the most sun, so it should make the most successful garden spot. I’m going to build two 4 x 8 boxes and put them together in an “L” shape. One of the boxes will have a six foot tall frame wrapped in chicken wire, with the long side being a lift-up door to access the tomatoes.

Garden PlanThe other 4 x 8 box will be for green beans, Brussels sprouts and zucchini. The peppers I will grow in pots like I did last year, because they did pretty well that way. I’m still deciding what I may try to grow in the large pots that had the tomatoes in them last year, but I think I may try pumpkins and watermelons, since those did horribly behind the retaining wall last year. The pots would provide a good start, and the vines could wind out and through my flower bed. I’m also going to move the concrete blocks from behind the retaining wall and line the outside of the raised beds with them, because the fence behind the retaining wall cast too much shade for anything to grow up there. I’m also really excited that I’ll be able to harvest my strawberries this year!

I have my plans laid out, my veggies chosen and a list of building materials drawn up. The last thing I have to do is schedule out when to plant each vegetable. It’s going to be really tough to wait over these next couple of months, because I am ready to go! Winter is tough for me since I love to be outdoors, and the yearning to get my hands dirty just makes it even harder to survive these few months of cold and dormancy. Although currently the temps are 20 degrees higher than average, so if it stays like this over the next two months it may not be too painful.

As the time grows closer I will share what I am planting, along with my planting schedule for here in the Midwest. I will also have to do a post about my raised bed so you can see how it turns out. That’s a mildly scary thought because I’ve never really built anything from scratch like this. The closest I’ve come is screwing some boards onto old walking bridge sections to make strawberry planters! My youngest son, Logan, loves to build and has dreams of being a civil engineer, so he’s already volunteered to help. Between the two of us, we can hopefully get the project done in one weekend during March.

I wish you warm and cozy thoughts the rest of this winter, and I will see you back here for an early spring veggie garden post in a couple of months!



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