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Gardening: Stage 1 – Planning

Our garden is going to be quite an undertaking this year. In the past we have filled 12 raised beds with plants, but it has never been enough to last us much past fall. We would have things like green beans that we could get a year supply of, but when it came to everything else we would burn through it quite quickly. Few things made it to the freezer like planned. I would get enough tomatoes for all of my tomato sandwiches and salads throughout the summer and sauces for spaghetti and pizza for about two months. Everything else pretty much feeds us through spring and summer. That isn’t enough for me! I want to have enough canned and frozen to get us through the year. The biggest change this year, that will hopefully make this goal a reality, is the fact that we have a new quarter of an acre that will be additional garden space. Last year we added three acres of land to our farm from the property next to us. Most of that currently is or will be in the future, used for the goats, but I left a quarter acre opened for our new garden.

Taking on a new garden of this size requires a lot of planning. The ground is hard red clay that is very common to this area of Goochland. I have been worried about growing anything in it. For the last six months or more I have been dumping the soiled straw and llama manure from the daily muckings, covering the entire quarter of an acre. We plan to plow (just this once) because the ground is so not at all workable.

This is the time of year for garden planning. Ordering seeds, deciding on the number of plants that will be planted, mapping out where they will go, and figuring out planting times. I spent time with my lovely friend Toni from Bella Grove Farms in Goochland VA back in early February. She spent the better part of the day giving me advice and packing me up seeds that she had saved from previous years. Between those seeds, seeds I had leftover from the last two years, and the ones I purchased from Johnny’s Selected Seeds I’m ready! In the coming weeks things should start to come together. Now I am working on actually mapping out the garden space and planning of number of plants. I am beyond ready for Spring! It’s almost here!

Seed Planning