My Love of Gardening

Seedlings

I am so excited. The mail arrived today with my first 2016 gardening catalog. It’s raining outside and we will probably get snow soon, but I’m basking in the spring sunshine looking at seed packets. I feel like a kid with the Sears Christmas toy catalog.

I love gardening. It’s my therapy. There’s something about playing in the dirt and watching plants grow that really helps drain away stress.

My gardening process is a long drawn out affair. It begins at this time of year with my seed catalogs and a map of all my raised beds. First I need to plot out what I’m going to grow then I need to figure out where I am going to plant it. It’s not a good idea to plant the same crop in the same bed two years in a row. I need to figure out where the new crops will go based on who grows well together and what was planted in the bed last year. The process is a lot like writing a book; first you get your list of characters and then figure out where they go.

Once everything is plotted out I set up the planting schedule. I have small window greenhouses set up in the windows of my garage. There are heating mats on the shelves. I begin planting seeds after the first of the year; peppers in January, tomatoes in February and vine crops by the first of March. When each group is large enough they are moved outside to the raised beds. It is still cold in this area in early spring. We don’t have our final frost until mid-May. In order to start the garden early, I have bent PVC pipe placed over my beds to form a frame and then put plastic over the top. This turns each bed into a mini greenhouse. With drip irrigation in each of the beds, I don’t need to remove the plastic to water so the heat stays in. I can really increase my yields and extend the season that way.
Even though it’s November and the weather outside is turning nasty, but I’m warm and comfortable inside, dreaming about plants and spring. Do you like to garden?

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Augustina Van Hoven

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