Hello from the greening HillTop!
Spring is here! Although it is a typical Western Pennsylvania spring, one day we have seventy degree weather and the next we have snow. The great outdoors cannot seem to decide what it wants to do.
Spring is underway based off the garlic growing my raised beds, not to mention the tulips and the daffodils coming up around the house. With garlic and shallots well underway, my green thumb is itching waiting for that first opportunity to spend time outside in the dirt.
Over the winter, I spent time planning our garden and thinking about projects that we need to accomplish. I am a full-time stay at home mom. One of my main contributions to our family, is growing a large portion of our food. Many of our yearly projects revolve around this task.
Each year I buy herbs. It is one area I truly despise trying to grow them from seed, with the exception of basil. I buy from a local greenhouse and typically place them in an herb table or containers. I love having herbs around to grab as needed. Because I container garden my herbs I dispose of them in the fall, even though many of the herbs I grow are actually perennials. One goal I have is to designate space to have a handful of herbs placed, so I do not need to keep replacing them annually.
- Size – We are increasing our garden this year for a handful of reasons. My parents have moved in next door this past fall. My goal is for the garden to support their produce needs as well. I have a personal goal, to bless both my sisters and their families as well. One of my sisters are expecting a baby in the height of gardening season, so her garden is limited to a container garden on the porch this year. My other sister has a large family with a handful of dietary restrictions. Giving homegrown food is a way I can bless them.
- Vegetables – As my children grow, my husband and I try to expose them to as many foods as possible. This year, I have added a handful of new varieties of vegetables we already grow. Along with that, we do have a few of altogether new as well.
- Flowers – I have grown a handful of flowers in the past, but I have always kept them near the porch. This year, I’ve done research on companion planting with flowers. I am looking forward to adding more beauty into the garden. Making it a place of respite as much as a place to harvest food.
- Additional Beds – While I know the new craze is to grow in raised beds, the majority of my garden is still a traditional in-ground garden. However, this year we have added two additional raised beds for a total of four. These will be used to start my earliest items, keep it small to manage nights with frost.
- Rotation – In the past, these are the beds used to grow my garlic. I need to start rotating items within my raised beds. By using the same bed every year for garlic, and garlic only, the soil will be depleted of the nutrients needed to grow garlic. Also, disease and pests will become more likely too.
I have been researching how to grow edible mushrooms in my garden. My husband keeps laughing at me, because while I do not mind mushrooms, I am not in love with them. So why grow them? My goal as always been some level of self sustainability. Also, mushroom growth can show a healthy ecosystem within the garden. The main reason of why grow them, why not?
I am a huge pusher of trying something new each year. Mushrooms work really well into our garden plan. I’m really looking forward to seeing how this works, not to mention adding something else into our food plan.
With spring well underway, it’s time to determine what your goals for this coming growing season. Do not allow yourself to get overwhelmed. As I always state, start small. You can always grow your goals as you are able to manage and complete tasks.
Be sure to drop a note of what your main goal is for this year!