How a Plant Killer Plans a Garden

I grew up a farmer’s daughter. I was taught from a young age how to care for animals and growing things. I knew what nutrients were needed to grow rows and rows and rows of corn before other kids even took a natural science course.

Even armed with all this knowledge and an innate “green thumb,” I still kill plants.

I’ve killed a cactus. A bamboo plant. A lovely house plant. I planted potatoes that didn’t grow. I allowed lettuce and squash to be eaten by rabbits. I also ignored my garden for weeks and allowed weeds to overrun it. (I can feel you cringe.) I’m waiting for spring to investigate if the cherry trees and lilacs we planted last summer survived their first winter.

Plants and death seem to just be a thing that happens to me.

 

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Rather weak looking corn and our weedy potatoes on the bottom left.

 

However, I will never be discouraged. Gardening brings me such immense peace and perspective, I could never give it up. I love having green things to care for during the dull winters in Wisconsin. Primarily, I love planning out what I want to grow each year.

Today I’m going to share a little bit of information on how and why we plan our gardening endeavors each year.

First here are a few of our goals for our 2018 set up:

  1. Plant wildflowers near the back of our property
  2. Fence in our garden plot
  3. Create a raised bed for herbs and lettuce
  4. Raise the grade of the dirt around our house
  5. Add perennials to the front and back of the house
  6. Plant new trees along our property lines
  7. Grow vegetables we can consume and share

We have parts and pieces of each of these already in motion! We have wildflowers and some perennials all ready to go, but we need to plan out the area.

The fencing is purchased for the garden, it needs to be set up! I know where I want the raised bed to go!

We have dreams of the trees we want to plant, and we have some purchasing of seedlings to do for the big garden.

 

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A real farmer’s corn. 

 

Prep for the growing season:

Education: I have been reading The Backyard Gardener by Kelly Orzel, hoping her insights will help us be more successful with the plants we are preparing to grow. I plan to start researching how to care for fruit trees we have in the back too!

Planning: We want to plant some of the following veggies this year: lettuce, carrots, corn, potatoes, tomatoes (large and cherry), peppers (spicy and mild), pumpkins, zucchini, butternut squash, spaghetti squash, basil, rosemary, thyme and likely a lot more!

Soil Testing: Last year, some of our crops kinda failed or just didn’t grow. We basically talk about our garden every time we are in earshot of my Dad, and he can grow anything! #lifetimefarmer So, he gave us some of the best Midwest Bio-Ag fertilizer and a bag of fine barn lime to help treat our soil last fall. Eli tilled these new lovely minerals into the garden plot, and we are looking forward to a soil test this year to hopefully see a difference in what we have done! Looking for you and your pals nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium!

Purchasing: Fleet Farm Trip! We will go to our fave store ever and get seedlings, potting soil, loam and any tools we might need to get through this next summer. (I really want one of those super sharp weeding tools.) We’ll also have to research items to buy for the raised beds.

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Gardening thoughts:

It is February so we can start looking into specific seeds we want to buy…. we might even upgrade to a seed catalog rather than what’s at Fleet Farm. Things will change every single year with our garden, our goals, and our harvest.

If you’re looking into doing something to connect to the Earth, consider starting with some easy to care for houseplants like air plants, aloe, cactus or even an orchid. They help bring a little life and a little country into your daily routine.

I cannot wait to start planting! My favorite thing to do last summer was to come home from work and go check on the garden. It was always so peaceful and inspiring to see these little tiny things grow!

Let me know about your growing plans this year! Would love any tips you have too!

-Alyssa B.

 

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Photo by Kate McCullough

 

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