2018 Garden Planning

Now that it's 2018, it's time to start preparing for my 2018 garden. The last two years, I've had plenty of success with tomatoes and peppers. Last year, I also got a ton of beans and some great flowers that took no work. I also got some spinach and lettuce. And I got a single pumpkin, watermelon, cucumber and two zucchini. That has pretty much hooked me on gardening. Aside from the food, which is fun. I found it incredibly relaxing to come home after work and pick tomatoes or flowers in the garden. So I want to keep it up.

It's January 7th, so here is how my backyard garden looks right now.

First thing is that I made those sort-of raised beds with wood I found in my basement. The only money I spent there was buying 12 bags of dirt (for $1.50 each) and one bag of mushroom compost for a few dollars. I also spent around $20 on seeds. Since I feel that I'm now getting serious about gardening, I think I could spend a little more money. I want to build up some nicer raised beds. My idea is to build three rectangular raised beds. Perhaps 3' wide by 8-10' long. I want to build them out of cedar, so it will depend on how expensive that is. I'm reading a book called the Vegetable Gardener's Bible that says wide and deep beds are the way to go. So I think I want them to be at least 12" tall. Again, it will depend on how expensive the wood is.

Another plan is that I'd like to orient these beds so that I could possibly enclose them in plastic to make an actual greenhouse for next winter. The cold frames that I'm using now still freeze. Since I'm in zone 6a, I need to be prepared for temperatures down to -10F. A box with a window on top isn't going to do it. But if I put that box with a window on top inside of a plastic hoop house, that might keep the plants above freezing. Another option is to put a compost pile inside the greenhouse to get some natural heat. It seems like this might work and it's crazy enough that I'd like to give it a try.

Anyway, nothing is going to happen in the backyard while it's covered with snow. My January duties involve starting some seeds. Last year, I bought a set of shelves, a cheap led worklight and a timer. It worked fine for starting seeds.

I've read that celery and onions take a long time to get started. So my goal this month is go start some of those seeds so that they'll be ready to go in the garden later.