Monday, January 21, 2013

New Year, New Garden

fter a relatively successful summer of vegetables last year, this year I think I'll take a more studied approach. Well, somewhat more studied, really just building slowly on the last go-round and adding a few things. Mostly, I now have a large enough crop of compost to use for a bed or two, and I know how big those dang zucchini will get.

Unfortunately, this means I do need to dig a few new beds, possibly three or four. I already have a satellite view of the house to transform into a (to scale) chart of the yard in order to keep track of what was where which year. As most gardeners these days know, it's best to rotate which crop goes in what bed each year, so any pests don't get too cozy and the soil isn't depleted (can't find a good reference right now). I've heard lots of advice on keeping a garden journal of notes about each step of the process, how different plants fared, etc. Frankly, I didn't, it seemed like one more thing to do and for the first year, fine-tuning was not a big concern.

So, mapping aside, that leaves us with planning what plants and when. I'm still looking for a source for hops, sage and tarragon, seed or seedling, if anyone in the DC area wants to trade (I get most of my seeds from Johnny's Selected Seeds).

As you'll see below, quite a few things need to germinate indoors as long as eight weeks before the last frost (early April in Alexandria). My google calendar is now laden with "PLANT CANTALOUPE" and such. I'm going to try out a grow light this time as my seedlings got a little too sperky* last year, even on a South-facing windowsill. This does mean that I'll also need some sort of heat source underneath my seedling trays. Although the basement is a pretty regular temperature, it's only around 65F and seeds prefer something more like 68 or 70.

Anywho, I've put together this little chart for my own benefit, but thought it might be of use to some other backyard gardener. Feel free to copy the format or just get inspiration. Click the chart to see it full-size in google drive and to copy or peruse further.

seeds, spreadsheet, alexandria, va, garden, planning schedule

*I grew up using this word and only recently encountered several people who said "What?! 'Sperky'??" It means what it sounds like. Don't suppose anyone else uses it?