I have all the usual New Year’s Resolutions many people have,
which I will not share here in case I do not achieve them, but I will share my
plans for the garden. Gardening
resolutions have to take the form of plans, not resolutions, because there are
so many factors beyond the gardener’s control that may prevent their
accomplishment, factors besides, “Well, that cake looked so tasty I just had to
eat it.” Planning the garden in the winter is a
wonderful occupation, because the hot days and hard work are a long way
off. My plans are usually too ambitious,
but I enjoy planning most when it includes some dreams.
This year, I have a large area that pine trees covered until
we had them cut in September. I sowed it
to rye grass and clover, and I will move the chickens onto the grass, let them
eat the cover crop and fertilize the area.
The trees grew in clay, and the soil will need some work before it is
ready for my orchard. I plan to till in
the cover crops the chickens leave behind to give the soil organic matter. I do not know when I will get the apple,
pear, cherry, and peach trees planted, but I will work towards the eventual
orchard this year. An orchard is an
investment in time and money, and I want to make sure the soil is ready, and I
want to make sure I choose the best varieties of trees for my area.
I have read about grafting non-disease resistant heirloom
tomatoes onto disease-resistant rootstock.
For example, I could graft San Marzano tomatoes, which I want to grow to
make sauce out of, but which die quickly in the garden, onto the lower stem and
roots of the Celebrity tomato, which resists disease, and get the disease
resistance of the Celebrity and the fruit of the San Marzano. I saw grafted plants for sale in a gardening
magazine for $7 each, and they will become expensive if I buy many. I will spend the winter reading about
grafting tomatoes, and will experiment with them. I did achieve one of my perennial gardening
goals last summer: I grew enough tomatoes to can to last me through the
winter. Every year is different, though,
so I am always looking for ways to outsmart pests and disease.
I want to grow enough Irish potatoes, onions, garlic, and sweet
potatoes so I do not have to buy any.
The onions and garlic are in the ground now, and I will have to plant
the Irish potatoes later this winter, and the sweet potatoes in the spring. I have grown more than enough garlic for us
for several years, and I will keep trying to accomplish the other goals.
What are your gardening plans? If you have never gardened, it is a great time
to begin one. Do all the heavy digging
and soil preparation now, when it is cold, and when warm weather comes you can
leisurely plant your garden. And,
working in the garden will complement your resolutions to lose weight and
exercise more, while you’re having more fun than you would on a treadmill at
the gym. Next time I’ll write about my
favorite seed catalogs and plant resources, and you can order some catalogs or
look at some websites and plan your garden this winter.
Labels: apple orchard, cover crops, garden planning, ordering seeds