Well, I've gone and done it. Yesterday I started my onion seeds and planted a few more pots of lettuce and spinach to grow indoors. Now the garden is all I can think of. I find myself throughout the day wandering to the patio door and looking out over the back garden. It's still covered in snow, but I can still see the hugelbeet that I put in a low spot in the yard. I'm reading blog posts and watching Wisconsin Vegetable Gardener videos. I'm fantasizing about ripe tomatoes that practically fall off the plant into your hand.
To keep myself from going crazy, I've been planning. Here are my plans and goals for the coming garden season.
* Expand the gardening space. There is a large area in the back yard under a tree that has grown up in weeds. That area will be dug up and planted in lettuce, since it's mostly shaded and not much else will grow there. I'll dig at least one more garden bed in the main garden.
* Start a reasonable number of transplants. Last year I assumed I would kill almost all of my seedlings. So I over-planted. I had hundreds of tomato seedlings (around 300), 50 peppers, 50 eggplants. Definitely didn't have enough space for that many (Although it was wonderful to supply my parents with all they needed and to walk around the market I work at and give people free seedlings). This year I will start a more reasonable number, and also start some kale, lettuce, basil, etc seedlings to get a jump start on the cool season.
* Get a longer harvest. Get some cold-hardy goodies in early, and keep on planting season appropriate plants until August or September. This past year I didn't start getting a harvest until the end of May, and I'd like to get some early spring greens this year.
* Plan the garden well, and keep planting to fill in spaces as needed so there isn't a lot of wasted space like last year. I have over 100 veggie and herb varieties, and multiple packs of some of them; there is no fear of running out of seeds. I can plant with abandon.
* Dehydrate lots of yummy things for teas. I enjoy herbal teas so this could save me a lot of money over the year. Last year I dehydrated a fair amount of violet leaves and flowers, as they grow over most of the lawn. This year I plan to dehydrate some herbs I'm planting, as well as some "weeds" that are good in teas. I'm still debating about mint. I adore mint teas, but I know that it is invasive.
* Not waste a bit of the produce grown. I have a fancy new dehydrator, and I am hoping to learn how to can this year. Put up as much as I can for the winter. If I get a glut of something that I don't want to can, dehydrate and powder it to add to my veggie powder jar.
* Here is a rough list of what I'm growing this year: two types of eggplant, 3 sweet peppers; 4 hot peppers (including Jamaican Hot Chocolate Habaneros!), 7 tomatoes (inc Black from Tula and Brandywine), 3 types of cucumber (including Crystal Apple), 5 beet, 3 swiss chard, 4 types carrots, turnips, 10 types radishes, 5 types of beans (including Scarlet Runner and Calypso/yin-yang beans), spinach, kale, mustard, 10 types lettuce, chives, cilantro, 3 types of basil, onions, Burgundy okra, milkmaid nasturtiums, and more random things that I may or may not plant. Whew.
What are your plans and goals for the garden? What are you growing?