It's August. Time to think about school. Recover from vacation. And figure out what to plant for the winter. This will be my third season planting a garden, and already I've learned a lot about gardening. Like always obey the fine print on the seed packet, because it knows what it's talking about. And don't plant a whole box of chard all at once because in four months you'll be drowning in it. And don't be stingy when you thin seedlings...crowded plants mean less food.
Here is my plan for this winter's garden:
Boxes with 'x' over them are summer crops that are still growing from the summer garden. Boxes with dividers that read '1,2,3' are where I'm going to attempt stagger planting: sowing seeds at intervals of 2 weeks so that crops ripen at a rate that we can actually eat them. The first round of seeds were sown today, the next round will be on or around September 1st, and the final round on September 15. Most stagger planting advice I read said to plant at intervals of 3-4 weeks. I'm speeding up the process to just 2 weeks because I can't plant any later than September 15. I hope it works!
Lineup of this winter's yumminess. Missing from the lineup is quinoa, because it's hanging out in the refrigerator to improve germination. At least that's what the fine print on the seed packet said. And I plan to listen this time. I chose veggies that we really like and we eat a lot of. The exceptions are beets and quinoa: I got beets just for fun to try them out. I picked up quinoa because the watercolor painting on the seed packet showed an enticing rainbow of red, yellow, and green grain and the fine print promised it's an easy plant to grow.
Benji sowing some Oak Leaf lettuce.
Tommy sowing beets.
I joined a local CSA called Eating with the Seasons and our family has been trying to eat only produce that's in season, grown locally, and grown organically. That means no apples in May, no blueberries in February, no asparagus in September. At times this can be inconvenient because it forces me to work my meal ideas and recipes around what is currently available. But on the other hand, it makes me savor each food item so much more because I've had to wait for it to arrive.
We've been mostly eating 'in season' produce for a while. But for a few weeks now, we've been eating only what grows in our garden or comes in our CSA sack. The exception is bananas because they simply cannot be grown anywhere locally and they're too useful to give up. This has given me new motivation to take my garden seriously! I'm so thankful that we live in such a temperate climate and we can grow our own produce throughout the year.