Here’s what’s up, flowering, and happening this week. (Got mulberry, cherry, and apricot trees and 10 hazelnut bushes planted last week, but no pictures!) I love this time in the spring when every day there’s something new to discover outside.
What to start when? After the fun of Seed Catalog Day, my usual next garden planning step is getting my calendar together so I have a schedule of what seeds to start inside when, transplanting dates, and direct seeding outside. I’m a planner, by nature, and this is how I keep it all organized. For years I used a mix of online references for this (because no one source had all the plants I start), and it worked well enough to mark down the dates on a paper calendar. Last year though, I came across this super handy planting schedule template from Better Hens and Gardens. I loved the layout and quickly got to work tweaking it for my own needs and filling in all my plants.
That template worked well and to use it again this year, all I had to do was change the dates at the top and add in the new stuff I was planting this year. From there I still mark dates down on paper because, as much as I like spreadsheets, for something I’m going to be using almost daily during the summer I like the ease of being able to just open a binder (with sometimes dirty hands).
Instead of using a monthly calendar page for my paper record of dates, I’m trying something different this year. I was playing around with some watercolors and came up with the idea to just make some boxes to put dates and other garden notes in. I made copies and punched some holes in the side. I went week-by-week for what need to be started inside, transplanted, and direct seeded, doing each month of the summer. And then in a separate box, a running record of what dates those things actually DID happen on. I crossed off thing as they got done. Other smaller boxes worked well for keeping notes on trees I ordered, weather extremes, dates of things first shooting up, and other garden reminders.
I’m diggin’ it! March is done and I’m starting records on April. I think I’ll go ahead and scan and upload each month here as they finish. Maybe put a handy link to them in the sidebar or something.
I love to see how other people plan and keep garden records. Feel free to share your system!
So one of the things I mentioned last time is that I’d like to use this space partly as a garden journal. One thing I love even more than the actual gardening is marking things in seed catalogs. Seed Catalog Day is hands-down my favorite day of the whole year. I circle, I fold corners down, I add to my spreadsheet, I drink tea, I research different varieties, and have an all-around joyful time of it. In the researching aspect of it, I am always so grateful to find reviews on certain varieties and even more stoked when I find actual blog posts from people who have grown them. I don’t find these too often. Probably because the ones I tend to look up are more obscure or heirloom varieties rather than the popular mainstream ones you hear about. So this is another goal for this blog. To be able to post a bit about my experiences with strange varieties and maybe help other nerdy seed-researchin’ folks with their seed buyin’ decisions.
I, of course, have my favorites I grow every year (Rainbow Chard, Scotch Curled Kale, Sweet Banana Peppers, Stupice Tomatoes, Lemon Cucumbers, Black Hungarian Peppers, Pineapple Sage, etc.), but I always make room for new ones. A few new things I tried last year that exceeded my expectations and have become new favorites include Double Yield Cucumbers, Oriole Chard, Thousand-Headed Kale, Bekana Greens, and Jade II Beans.
This year, some new varieties I’m excited about are Grandma Mary’s Tomatoes, Etuida Peppers, Green Leaf Gailan, New Zealand Spinach, Camelina, and Mother of Pearl Poppies (which I’ve had my eye on for years now). Hopefully, I can do a good job of documenting some of these here this year.