Timing is everything, so they say (who are they, anyway?). If I had posted this just a couple of days ago, I could have talked about what a wonderfully mild winter we've been having so far and that it was feeling like April etc., etc. But, as luck (and that fickle queen of irony, Mother Nature) would have it, this morning we woke up to snow. Not much, mind you, but enough to remind us that, yes, it is still winter and we are in the middle of February. And the forecast for this coming weekend is a high (a high) of -16C with a windchill of -23C! Yeah, definitely not spring yet.
So, despite the return of winter, I will talk about another sign of spring instead: garden planning and seed ordering!
I took a couple of hours this past Sunday afternoon, curled up with a pad of paper and a pencil (and a good eraser!), a nice glass of cold, crisp Chenin Blanc and decided what I wanted to plant where in the vegetable beds this year. After numerous attempts and much erasing and re-drawing, I came up with a simple sketch of my vegetable bed and plotted out what and where to put things. I wanted to post the final drawing, but my camera can't capture enough detail to make it worthwhile -- it's either too blurry or too far away. Granted, it's not a very sophisticated camera -- certainly not a DSLR -- but it mostly serves my current needs admirably and unless I really want to get fancy I can't justify the expenditure on a better camera. At least not right now, so my apologies for not having a diagram to show you.
Basically the plan is this:
- Transplant the rhubarb from its current shady location in the back corner of the side bed into a sunnier, central location in the main vegetable bed in the hope of increasing the yield.
- Start a dozen or so seedlings of each of my five varieties of tomatoes from seeds saved last fall, transplant some into rows in the vegetable bed and give the rest to friends and neighbours.
- In between the tomatoes, plant rows of Scarlet Nantes carrots, mixed heirloom carrots, lettuce, and peas.
- Plant pickling cucumbers to grow up trellises against the fence.
- Start a flat of dwarf marigolds (or, I might try these ones instead) to plant around the border of the garden to keep raccoons out.
- Plant thyme surrounding the pond and sweet woodruff in the shady areas along the property line, again to deter raccoons.
I've already put in my order for the carrot, lettuce and cucumber seeds from Urban Harvest, and just the action of doing so brings spring all the closer! Later, once the ground has thawed, I will take a drive to Richter's Herbs and pick up some thyme and sweet woodruff seedlings. Meanwhile, I will plan out what I want to do with the rest of the garden and in a few more weeks, it will be time to set up the sprouting nursery in the basement and get the tomatoes and marigolds started. The official countdown to spring will have begun!