Thursday, March 15, 2012

Spring has Sprung

It looks like everything is blooming already which means it's time for me to get my booty in gear and start planning our garden. Funny how with the eighty degree temps it feels like Mother Nature skipped straight through Spring and decided to cast summer upon us. Hey I'm not complaining I'm just wondering if Old Man Winter maybe got firmly asked by Mother Nature to leave us alone for one year here in Nebraska.

So here's an example of what I'd love for my garden to look like, straight pretty rows, no weeds, lots of varieties ------->

But reality, mine won't be that pretty or big. I'm just looking at getting enough crop to feed us through the summer and maybe get lucky enough to freeze or can some to get us through the winter. My basic objective is to become more self sufficient and depend less on grocery store produce.
This year my biggest goal is to keep weed populations to a minimum! Last year was horrible, everything got out of control and I was downright embarrassed for neighbors who stopped by to see my garden. This year things will (hopefully) be different. I've been searching everywhere for tips on how to minimalize weeds in your garden and I came across something that just made sense, to use damp newspaper. I mean HELLO, why didn't I think of that?! Simple, cheap and biodegradable. I know I'll have to add some mulching on top otherwise it wouldn't exactly stay in place but this is genius. I try to avoid mulching because mulch attracts snacks. <<<Snakes=Freak-out-by-Kelsey>>> Ya, it just doesn't go well. I'm considering using grass clippings if possible but not sure how much access we'll have to those.

Another lesson I learned from last year's disaster was to make sure that I plant according to timing it says on the package. I guess it's on there for a reason after all? I planted things when I had time to get out there and some were timed wrong so I had radish's that were too (spicy) hot, carrots that didn't grow bigger than 1/2 inch,  pumpkins in August and my cucumbers burned up. I'm determined to actually follow the packages this year and try to stick with a better system.

I started charting and jotting down notes on things so I can remember next year what worked and didn't work for me. I'm such an OCD person when it comes to other things why am I not doing it with my gardening? So this year I've started printing off spreadsheets with seed placements, dates planted, layouts of my garden and many other details in it. We'll see how well I stick with my system but I'd love to keep this up for when I go to plant in the future.

I planted some flower seeds into flats yesterday and since it's so nice out I decided to leave them out and let the seedlings enjoy a little sun time. I'm planning on stopping at picking up some seeds so I can have some veggie seeds on hand when I get the itch to start planting those also. Here goes nothing, lets hope the 2012 garden produces more than lasts years epic fail.

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