Wednesday, January 29, 2014

2014 Garden Plans -- Old School Style

It's cold.

There has been snow on the ground almost every day this month.

It is cold. Too cold to paint anything, even in the garage with the heater on. Any planned projects are currently at a standstill until I can use my garage without getting frostbite.

We still have to get through February and March. And I don't like it.

I'm trying to get out of this terrible winter slump and fight those doldrums that are taking over, so I figure it's a good time of the year to start planning Springtime activities.

Namely what I'm going to do with my gardens this year.

Actually, the month of January is a pretty good month to start garden planning. Seed catalogs are out, and it's kind of fun to sit down and plan out your outdoor spaces.

I have very fond memories of my parents' gardens growing up. They had a vegetable garden with tomatoes, pepper, cucumbers, and melon. My mother planted a beautiful butterfly bush by my bedroom window, and had some gorgeous rose bushes on the side of the house. I also have not-so-fond memories of weeding all these gardens, but I really don't mind it now.

Last year, I had some pretty good intentions. I started a few seeds inside during the month of March (before we even FOUND our home), and then forgot about them. With the excitement of moving, I left my poor seedlings in their starter cells a bit too long, and I wound up with leggy, sad plants with severely stunted growth.

I transplanted my tomato seedlings as a last-ditch effort, and wound up with plants that started producing woefully small fruit two weeks before the first frost. My cucumber seedlings never even made it into the ground. Cue the sad trombone.

In my front garden, we inherited some terribly invasive shrubs which we kept, but wrestled with all summer. I was able to successfully transplant some calendula seedlings (which did VERY well), planted Astros from seed (which also did VERY well), planted Morning Glory which started off slowly, took off mid-Summer, and then died two weeks after flowering for the first time (RAAAGE). I planted a daylily and the foliage did great, but no blooms. I'm hoping for some flowering out of that plant in the Spring

And those super invasive shrubs? We tore those out in the Fall, and they put up a good fight (broken shovel and all). You can check out that post here.

So what do I have going into the new growing season? A beautifully blank slate, that's what.

This year, I also have time on my side. I was able to spend late Spring and all Summer paying attention to how the sun moves and which parts of my yard gets the best sunlight, which part gets the best shade, and which part gets the best of both worlds.

My house faces slightly northwest, and there are still quite a few trees remaining in our backyard. With that said, we get the best sun at the front and southern side of our house. Everything else is either partial sun or shade.

This year I plan to make a 6x12 ft bed along that southern side of the house for vegetables, including: tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, melons, peas, beans. The beans and peas will be directly sown sometime in mid-March, the cucumbers and melons will be directly sown in late April-early May, and the tomatoes and peppers will be purchased as starters and planted after our frost date (May 10).

To help create some rhyme and reason, I busted out the pencil and paper and drew a totally-not-to-scale drawing of what I was picturing in my head:

Complete with shadows. You're welcome.
As for the front, I was able to harvest seeds from my Calendula, so I am looking forward to planting those again. The Astros did amazingly well being sown from seed, so I'll give those another go. As I mentioned before, I'm hoping the daylily will decide to take off this year.  I picked up some other types of perennial seeds at my local garden center while they were 50% off this month.

As for my evergreen elements, I think we're going to grab a couple dwarf boxwoods. It might look tiny and pitiful this year, but I'm hoping in the next couple of years everything will fill in nicely.

I know you're curious, so here's the again not-to-scale diagram of how I'm thinking the front flower beds will go down:

On the right side of my drawing, I wrote down what I would like to see planted, how tall it is, and then translated that into my layout--taller plants in the back, my shorter plants in the front. Underneath my sketch are the dates I'm thinking I'll be planting (starting seeds, sown directly, or purchased already started).

Based on my research, some of these plants are tricky to start from seed, but I think I'm up for the challenge.

Oh! And my Aunt and Uncle graciously offered us their Knockout Roses, which we'll be digging up and transplanting sometime in the Spring.

Also on the list of things to do: sod. One day. I can only hope.

Anyone else get started on some garden planning? What do you have growing in your gardens? I'd love any tips or suggestions!

Wanna see where I party? Click here for an awesome list of link parties I participate in..

Also linking up to:
Coastal Charm
Savvy Southern Style
Imparting Grace
Jennifer Rizzo


  1. I love your drawing, it looks just like my winter drawings! :) I have several KnockOut roses love them! IT looks like we have several of the same "must have" flowers.

    1. Thanks! I'm looking forward to getting those roses in the ground this year :)


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