Monday, February 6, 2012

Not Too Early

It's the first full week of February and currently below freezing outside (29 degrees at 8 a.m.), but the predicted high today is an unseasonable 43 degrees.  So if you ask me, "Isn't it a little early to be gardening?" I will answer, "No! It is not too early!  In just two weeks, I should start some seeds indoors."

I know this because of a fun little website a friend just recommended to us: You plug in your zip code and the things you want to plant, and a gardening calendar is created just for you. I imagine it is based on the average frost dates and average temperatures for your location, besides of course the climate needs and growing time of each plant.

I signed up for the free membership to Sprout Robot, so I get the calendar and email reminders when it's time to plant something. There are also memberships for purchase, which include organic heirloom seeds by mail; the price goes up depending on the size of the garden (basically, how many varieties of seeds you want).

In addition to the email reminders I will receive from Sprout Robot, I also have on hand a book we got for Christmas: The City Homesteader: Self-Sufficiency on Any Square Footage by Scott Meyer.  It's one of those fun-to-peruse books that has a lot of good ideas but doesn't go deep enough into any one topic or project for you to really, really know all you need to know about doing whatever it is you're reading about.  But, I did find useful its advice on which cool-weather crops to plant in the spring and which to save for the fall.  Certain crops will be ready for harvest in time to plant summer veggies in their place, while others are better to be planted just after the harvest of the summer crops, because they'll last a little ways into the winter (or will be ready very early the next spring if they are planted at the end of the sesason).  Combining the two planting time lines, I hope to make the most use of our small space at home and our larger but seasonally limited space in the community garden by most efficiently rotating what's growing from early spring to late fall or perhaps even early winter.

Of course, this all depends on my ability to stay on task with the gardening schedule, something I haven't been so strict about (due to busyness, laziness, absent-mindedness...) in the past few—well, ever.

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