Friday, January 3, 2014

Gardening Intentions for 2014

Queen Composter has intentions (please don't call them resolutions) for her coming garden.

In the last week of December I received a 2014 seed catalogue from a local seed company, and when I saw it my heart skipped a beat. This means that I can begin to think about my garden for 2014 in earnest. I can dream about what I will grow in my new garden. It may seem early to be thinking about the coming growing season, but many seeds can be started indoors in late February or early March, and last year I missed the window for some of the early varieties.

The new year naturally is a time to reflect on the year that was and look ahead to goals and plans for the coming year, but I don’t like to make specific and definite statements because I feel like a failure when I don’t follow through. Instead, I like to have intentions, which at least in my mind is different from resolutions.

I am going to purchase a mason bee kit like
one pictured above.
We all know how important bees are, and I would like to try having mason bees in my backyard, to be good for the environment and for my garden. Mason bees are a species native to North America and are not susceptible to colony collapse disorder. They do not sting, are solitary bees and do not produce honey, but have a higher pollination rate than the more familiar honey bees.

I would like to increase the amount of food that I can grow by adding in more container gardening and by taking over some of my flower garden. I do not have success with flowers because I have little patience for the finicky care that some require. I would rather save my energy for growing my own food.

Having said that I don’t enjoy flower gardening, I would like to learn more about companion planting and the flowers that encourage growth and health of vegetables.  I have had pollination issues with my squash in the past and I hope this, along with the mason bees, will help.

I would like to be honest with myself about the foods we actually eat and grow more of these. It is fun to grow interesting and exotic plants but I would like a productive garden. I grew quinoa last year, and while we enjoyed the greens throughout the season, I only harvested one large bowl of seeds. The effort was not equal to the output.

Even though I don’t want to waste my time with more unusual plants, I do want to lave some space in my garden for new vegetables. I would love to try growing artichoke (which needs a large space per plant), and I hope to set aside some space for asparagus (which requires two growing seasons before harvesting).

Lastly, I would like to make use of on line planning sites and read more about organizing my garden so it is less haphazard than it has been in the past. For example, I need to stagger my planting times so that I have a continuous harvest of some vegetables, such as beets, greens and carrots.

Are you making any plans or resolutions for 2014? Have you begun thinking about your garden?


Betsy (Eco-novice) said...

Those mason bees sound fabulous (although I do love honey, high pollination and no stings sounds wonderful). I'd love to hear how that goes! I don't garden much yet, but will someday and always love reading the gardening posts at the booth...

Amber Strocel said...

I totally just ordered mason bees from that very same catalogue today. I'm excited to give this a try! Beyond that, I would honestly just like to be better about basic gardening routines. Sometimes I don't water as often as I should, and I let those weeds get out of hand.

Green Bean said...

I love reading how other gardeners approach the upcoming growing season. I smiled at your note about quinoa. I've never tried quinoa but every year, I seem to have something like that where I'm like, whoa, totally not worth the effort!

We have several artichoke plants. I cannot remember where you live. I'm in California. Here, they are perennial and require almost no upkeep. Just spit out their lovely vegetables like clock-work.

As to the bees, I implore you to plant for the local native bee populations. I don't like fussy flower gardening either but planting natives and wildflowers isn't like that. There isn't a bunch of fertilizing and leaf spot and pruning. Oy! Wildflowers are sinfully easy. See if you can find some native to your region (lots of great online sources), toss them in the soil, tamp them down and wait for the pollinators to arrive! We have had great luck with that and had a couple colonies of bumble bees take up residence in our yard last year. They don't sting but they sure do pollinate. Woohoo!


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