Getting ready for the garden this coming spring is more about what plan you put into place this winter than it is about tilling the soil and planting the seeds. Getting a solid plan into place can save you a lot of headache in the spring.
The first thing you should do is take a look at notes you should have been taking during the summer. Good notes along with pictures will act as a record of what you had success and failures with. For example I kept a log that I put in planting dates, germination dates, rainfall and production success of plant varieties.
Planning The Crop Rotation
You should always try and avoid planting the same species or even family of plants in the same section of the garden year after year. This can lead to disease, pest and weed issues if not properly managed. The modern approach is to spray the whole garden down with disease and insect killing chemicals and not give a crap about the consequences. By using crop rotations you can reduce or eliminate the need for these chemicals and get a healthy garden from it.
Looking at Seed
The first step to looking for good seed to try in your garden is to make sure the plants they grow are compatible with your area. The last thing you want to do it try to grow something that wasn't meant to grow in your area.
The second step is to make sure what you are growing is a heirloom plant that will produce seed that you can plant next year. Many common vegetables and farm crops are hybrids which can grow some great produce this year but will not grow true to the hybrid characteristic next year if you save the seed. By growing only heirloom varieties you can save seed and eventually grown plants that are adapted to your area.
The final item when it comes to looking at seed it to keep it reasonable what you order/buy. You only have so much space in your garden and you shouldn't devote the entire thing to untested varieties of plants. Every year you should always try something new until you get what you feel is the perfect mix for you but even then I still might devote a small part of any garden to new things.
Getting Everything Clean
Winter is the perfect time to clean and sanitize your seed starting equipment. Everything from the seed cups, trays, lights and tools used to plant should be sanitized to prevent any transmission of diseases from year to year. Many seed starting manuals recommend heavy washing and solution of bleach but I believe that a good hot water washing and drying should be sufficient.
Hello my name is Josh Larson and I am the creator of the Green Living Library. Here on the blog you will find updates to content found in the Green Living Library as well as stories from those living the sustainable life already.