Time to Plan the Garden

The winter months can sometimes seem to drag on forever, especially when the temps stay below freezing and the snow is flying.  What really makes winter fun for me is planning my Kitchen Garden.

Fall Prep

In the fall I pull out the spent plants, loosen the soil, and rake in some organic materials.  I use straw and manure that was previously cleaned out of the hen house, crushed egg shells, dead leaves and wood ash from our fireplace. I rake that into the beds and let the garden rest for the winter.  These organics replenish the depleted nutrients. When the ground begins to thaw, I occasionally turn the composting soil. You can read more about how we originally built and composted our garden beds.

Layout and Plant Selection

My kitchen garden is not that large (16'x16'), but I can pack a lot veggies and herbs in it by utilizing a vertical and square foot gardening design. It is so easy and fun to lay out and plan my garden with garden planning software.This is my new layout for my 2015 garden. (Click here to view my detailed garden plan with a full description of the plants.)

Maple Grove Kitchen Garden 2015 Plan
 There are a number of Internet sites that have useful tools and resources for planning a garden.  I really like this one at Smart Gardener the best. Using this free tool, I am able to lay out my garden, select plants, and decide where and how many to plant. When you click on an image it gives you information about that vegetable. It also gives you a planting schedule, weekly to-do-list and a place for journaling notes.  (I don't have any connection to Smart Gardener; I just think it is a fantastic free tool to share with fellow gardeners!)

Purchasing and Planting Seeds

Next I'll be purchasing seeds and before long it will be time to start growing seedlings indoors. The last two years I grew heirloom plants.  This year I'm going to try some hybrids for comparison.

Looking Forward

I've only had my Kitchen Garden for a few years. I love planning and dreaming about it as much as I enjoy planting and tending it and harvesting the produce for cooking and canning. I am inspired and learn when I look at pictures of others' gardens. That's why I share mine here, to hopefully inspire others. (Click here for photos of my Kitchen Garden.)  You don't have to wait for spring to start enjoying gardening now!

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