Only 53 more days until spring. But who’s counting? Me, I guess. But can you blame me? I love to be in the garden with my hands in the soil and my head in the clouds. I get the sense that my daughter is the same way.
This year, we have an ambitious gardening agenda. The main thing we want to do is only grow things in the garden that we start from seed, either indoors under a light, or directly sown in the garden. That means no seedlings from the garden store.
Last year, as you may remember from previous blogs, my daughter and I started a few different things in our basement under a fluorescent light. We kept it pretty limited—she wasn’t even three yet, and I wasn’t sure how successful we’d be. But it turned out that we were able to handle starting parsley, basil, zinnia, zucchini, and tomatoes. So this year, we’re taking on more of a challenge.
Where will I get my seeds, you ask? This year I am ordering all my seeds from High Mowing Organic Seeds in Wolcott, Vermont. The folks at High Mowing are committed to providing their customers with nothing but the best organic, non-GMO seeds available, most of which they produce on their farm in Vermont. I love their seeds, but I also love their guiding principles: “We believe in a deeper understanding of how re-built food systems can support health on all levels—healthy environments, healthy economies, healthy communities and healthy bodies. We believe in a hopeful and inspired view of the future based on better stewardship for our planet.” That’s good stuff.
The old adage says that your best garden is always your next garden, so as you can imagine, my hopes are high. My daughter too is very excited about our plans. Last year we grew a bean teepee, but this year we’re going one step further and will also grow a sunflower house, where the walls will actually be made out of closely planted sunflowers.
This year, we’re also going to keep a garden journal, so we know exactly when and what we planted. Plus we can record weather and rainfall, when we harvested, and when the flowers bloomed. And of course, it’ll be a great place to write down the incredibly prescient and insightful things my daughter says throughout the season. (Oh, the joy of seeing the world through the eyes of a three-year-old.)
Another one of our goals is to grow more flowers among our vegetables, which will attract more beneficial insects to our garden. Beneficial insects are as good as they sound—not only do they help pollinate your plants, but many of them also eat the bad bugs that feed on your plants or cause disease. Go here to learn more about attracting beneficials to the garden.
To see the compete list of my gardening goals for this year, check out my blog at OrganicGardening.com. Hopefully, it will inspire you with a few ideas to get your and your kids working on some cool gardening projects this year.
Eric Hurlock is the online editor at Organic Gardening magazine. He lives and gardens in Chester County, PA, with his wife and 2 daughters. Follow his blog, This Imperfect Plot, at http://organicgardening.com/