It is frozen solid outside. Still, the seed catalogs pour in. Timely reminders that another growing season is really just weeks away offering a rainbow of produce possibilities for the addicted dedicated gardener. Too soon you say? Not if you want to start artichokes this year. Territorial recommends starting those late January-February. Same for onions.

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Even if I weren’t planning on these early starters, I know it is always a good idea to get my seed order in early. I’ve been disappointed those years that I put off placing my order, in plenty of time for my planting calendar, only to find many of the choicest varieties were out of stock by the time that I got around to it. Place your seed order early. Doing so means that your annual garden planning gets done too, because we aren’t going to buy seeds before we know where we are going to plant them, are we? It’s alright, these are the kind of garden chores that can be done inside, by the warmth of the fire, hot cup of tea, garden journals and colorful seed catalogs in hand.

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First things first – New Year’s resolutions… for the garden. 

Here are a few of mine…

TEA & MEDICINALS – Grow and harvest more! – This fall we tried our own {homegrown, dried, and blended} herbal teas and we are hooked. I don’t know why I was so shocked at the vibrancy and flavor of the homegrown compared to store bought. Is there anything that does not taste better from the garden? These last few years we’ve been establishing the medicinal garden, and now that we have sampled these teas, we want to continue to expand in this area, harvesting and preserving lots more and continuing to develop our own blends.

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BE PATIENT – Every year I push the envelope. I always try to eek out every last day and degree of the growing season. This year instead of subjecting my precious seeds and seedlings to the earliest possible planting dates in vain hopes of earlier harvests… I am going to be patient. I am going to let things warm up, let spring get good and going, and then set out the babies when they won’t have to struggle quite so much.

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Patience will be a little easier to come by this spring, I think. Even though late last summer, during that horrible drought, the deer busted down the fences and wiped out most of what would have become our overwintered garden, they didn’t get everything. Some of what they left behind bounced back. Some I had time to resow after the deer moved on. Before long, overwintering greens are going to wake up and start putting on growth. Sprouting broccoli, too. MMmmm… spring greens – arugula, spinach, kale, cilantro, beet greens, all those edible ‘weeds’ that I learned to quit pulling, and lettuce of every shape and color – yes, spring greens are one of the things that I love about gardening, and the fact that I can grow greens almost year-round is one of the things that I love about gardening in the Pacific Northwest.

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80/20‘ THE GARDEN PLAN – More food, less work. That is the idea. Remember this when making my garden plan this year. Focus on what has been most productive and worth it for the time and resources required. Focus on the 80 percent that ‘works’ and that we really appreciate, cull the other 20 percent from the plan. Corn, for example, I just don’t have the space to grow a nice crop. Richert’s Farm out in the valley has beautiful corn, and so does Hunter’s. I can get corn from them. Succession planting is another example. Use succession planting when it is necessary, like making sure you have fresh cilantro all summer. But do larger main crops where possible, such as with broccoli, grow it and freeze it.

Big picture garden resolutions behind me, I’m ready to tackle the seed catalogs and start thinking about what we will grow this year. Time to dream a little and get started on the 2016 garden plan and planting calendar!

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This is what I will be working on this January

  • 2016 Garden Plan and Planting Calendar
  • Plan & Purchase Seeds and starts
  • Inventory & scavenge or order seed starting supplies (potting mix, flats, containers, liquid plant food, etc.)
  • Prepare indoor ‘germination station’
  • Soak up the last of the off season… maybe get that quilt done? …because you know it isn’t going to happen once Spring hits.

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What about you, what are your New Year Resolutions for your garden? I would love to hear in the comments below!

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