Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Planning a garden

Last week I bought my 2012 planner.  I love me some papergoods, and planners are my favorite.  I love the blankness of a whole year of  pages, and the potential of that year to finally be the one when I got organized! had a social life! remembered the dog's heartworm medication!  I love writing in the birthdays of the people I love, and looking forward to those celebrations.  I love pencilling in visits and vacations and coffee dates.  I like to plan, and to know what's coming.

As a financial counselor, I preach about planning.  I teach budgeting, saving for retirement, planning major purchases.  I love planners, and I am a planner.

But I have never planned a garden. The closest I've come is sitting down with Abe and a seed catalog, making a list of things we wanted to grow.  If memory serves correctly, we forgot the list when we actually went to buy the seeds, and we ended up with five kinds of tomatoes and several herbs that we never even used (the shame).

Here are at least four
 benefits of planning your garden:
  1. Saving money.  It may be easier to pick up young plants from a nearby nursery or home improvement store, but it's sure cheaper to grow your own from seed.  Planning ahead allows you to get seeds sprouting in time to avoid paying retail prices for plants.
  2. Saving time.  Every year by July, it seems we've come up with a new plan for a lower-maintenance garden.  Of course, if we'd started planning before we planted, we could have saved ourselves the effort this year, too.
  3. Saving effort.  We're lucky that just about every yard in our neighborhood has a kitchen garden. Last year, we traded cherry tomatoes for romas and squash for peppers.  If you know what your neighbors grow best, you can save yourself the trouble of duplicating their efforts and swap produce. 
  4. Saving seeds.  If you pay attention to what grows well, and keep a basic record of your garden from year to year, you may be able to save seeds.  This is important to our farm because we're pinching pennies  increasingly, large agriculture dictates what home gardeners grow, and heirloom varieties of fruits and vegetables are lost. For that reason, we don't mind paying more for seeds from Seed Savers - it's an investment in our right to continue to grow whatever varieties we want.  If home gardeners don't invest in that right today, we won't have the same options in the future.
With Superbowl Sunday fast approaching, it's almost time to start some indoor seeds.  That means it's time to get planning!

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