It’s only January but I can’t help but get excited about the growing season that is yet to come! I’ve been watching gardening videos from people in much colder climates wondering why we can’t get that lucky in our 7b climate. I learned a lot from those growers and I am trying to start an early harvest… something I’ve never done before!
I have started some seeds indoors using my favorite germination trick: the wet paper towel. Place your seeds in a damp paper towel folded over itself and place it in a plastic bag to keep them damp. I reuse the bag for many types of seeds and have a wide variety growing already!
- Romaine and French Crisp lettuce
- French Breakfast, Spanish Black, and Sugar Rose radishes
- Pole beans
- Wildflower pollinator mix
This is the most we’ve ever sown in January but I have faith in our ability to grow indoors and harden on warm days! It’s been decently mild for winter in our area and I have hope for this first batch of seeds. It won’t be long before it’s time to early sow within 6-8 weeks of the last frost date!
The Market Garden
Every year since we put in the market garden has been full of surprises, but it’s always bountiful. This past growing season, we thought we had some corn growing in… turns out it was tall grass that I had a nice time tearing out after the frosts hit. When I start clearing out the overgrown, frost-bitten leaves of the past harvest, I start formulating my plan for the spring.
So far I have hopes to start an early harvest and add more pollinators. Our garden is on the south side, giving plenty of light and the opportunity to grow more! I’ll be planting more wildflowers in the market garden than we’ve ever had! I’m also expanding our herb section.
I have been reading up on plants that animals don’t enjoy and I hope to plant them around the border of the garden. I also heard that putting dog fur around the area can help? I’m not sure if it will make a difference, but we’ve got plenty of dog hair to spare for it!
Plants like mint, lavender, calendula, marigold, and sedum are rumored to detest animals and we have many of those plants already growing around the area. I hope to bring more into this space and to improve our guard against animals. Last year, we were waiting for a pea harvest and suddenly lost all of them. All of them. Every single one. We also found some fur in one of the beds while cleaning it out, leading us to believe we had a family of bunnies in our bed.
Let’s hope that an increased harvest for us doesn’t mean one big feast for the animals!
We have many flower beds around the property, both boxed or bricked, or left open-edged! I haven’t experimented much with flowers in the past, but I was gifted some wildflower mix for graduation and I’m ready to put them to the test!
Wildflower borders are so pretty to me and I have always appreciated the aesthetic of a cottage garden. Along with filling in the pre-existing flower beds with new varieties, I also plan to add a few new beds!
Using the no-dig method, I place cardboard and something heavy over the place I want to plant. Once the vegetation that once grew there has died out, you can add compost and plants!
I’m planting lots of self-seeding plants I hope to have again next year! I am focusing on using perennials that are native to my area to help our shade garden and barren areas.
Here are my favorite flowers I have grown in the past or are going now for next season!
- Morning Glory
- Black-Eyed Susans
Woods & Permaculture
The woods have always been overwhelming considering their size. While it’s not big enough to really get lost in, it’s quite the plot to conquer. I have plans to improve this space for the shared wildlife and for our harvests in a few different ways. Here’s what I’m planning!
Since we live on a hill, I’d like to get some more pumpkins and squash growing when the time comes. There is a mowed area before the woods that would be perfect to grow them where they should get enough sun! As for the woods themselves, I want to attempt to start a permaculture-inspired way of cleaning up this space.
We have fallen trees that can be cleared to one area and covered with other raw materials that will be a great vertical growing space! This will allow vegetation to return to areas with wood damage. Birdhouses can be put up on sturdy trees and feeders around the area. I might add some sunflowers in the sunny path leading down to the woods so the birds can snack on their seeds in the late fall.
How will it be permaculture-inspired?
Well, we have many wildberry bushes around the property, with a large section of them in the woods. I plan on cleaning up the surrounding area to promote more growth while pruning the mangey plants. I’d like to see how much shade we have in that area first, but I have some ideas for companion planting near the bushes in the future.
I may sprinkle more wildflower mix in the sunny areas of the woods and surrounding area, to give a pop of color. It would be nice to utilize the space we have and make things a little brighter around there!
For now, I’ll have to keep these ideas on the back burner though, as much of it would benefit more from this happening in the springtime.
Gardening is such a huge part of my life that I’ve decided to share more of it with you all! I have major changes planned for this spring and summer, and will hopefully start getting into the projects soon! I plan on sharing on a YouTube channel since you have all been so supportive of the idea!
I’ve been sharing updates of my indoor plants on my Instagram stories @TheUntamedOptimist and you can view them later in my saved stories tab! I am so excited to see the garden and other spaces progress this year. I hope to give it a lot more attention and to learn more this year than the ones before, so let’s see what I can get into!