When I started planning last years garden in the early spring of 2016, I had a few things I intended on doing.
1-Grow enough food to feed the family, and treats for the animals.
2-Preserve the extras by canning, dehydrating, or freezing.
3-Grow open pollinated and heirloom plants to save seeds.
I succeeded for the most part on all my goals, but because life is life, I didn’t preserve as much as my garden produced. I guess it’s really never a bad thing to have too much in the garden. One of the benefits of having farm animals is they get to enjoy the extras and nothing really goes to waste, and I save money on animal food cost, win-win. I did however, manage to can 18 quarts of green beans alone. Quite impressive I must say.
I grew my garden mostly from seeds. I put a lot of thought into the plants I wanted to grow. I chose many heirlooms and open pollinated plants along with all the seeds being organic and Non-GMO. Of course the biggest benefit of buying my seeds this way is having healthy chemical free produce. But the idea of saving seeds for the following year and in turn saving money was also a big motivator.
The first year I tried starting from seed was in 2015. I killed everything. $100 worth of seeds and I couldn’t even get them big enough to transplant. I was probably a little too ambitious for the skills I had at the time, but I’m a go big or go home kind of girl. That being said, when I fail, I fail big.
So in 2016 when I actually succeeded in growing my garden from seeds, I was so proud. My little babies all grew up (tear). It was a very productive garden, which allowed me to save the seeds for this year’s garden. I still bought tons of new seeds because let’s face it, I screw up a lot so a backup plan is always a good idea.
Someone once said that “If you garden for 30 years, you only had 30 tries to figure it out.” Or something along those lines. I’m not sure who said it, somewhere in all the books and internet articles I’ve read about farming. It’s something that’s stuck with me. I’m only on my fourth garden and although I know more than when I first started, I still know VERY little.
With advice from a good friend I started a garden journal so I know what does well and what doesn’t. Because of my new environment I’ve had to add growing lights for my seeds. I found this out after my first set of starts got so leggy they couldn’t stand.
Now it’s January of 2017. This year is only my third time gardening entirely from seed. I’m not going to lie, I got a little excited about my garden and maybe started my seeds a little early…probably by a few months. But hey, I’m no garden expert and the way I see it, starting early gives me enough wiggle room to make mistakes and start over. Which is probably a good thing because I already messed up my first batch of plant starts. I’m ready for Spring, so ready! That won’t happen for a month or so, so I’m stuck with literally watching them grow, day by day.
Hopefully this year I’ll have more food then I know what to do with. Wish me luck on my fourth attempt at gardening.