Friday, March 11, 2011

Ready for 2011!

Time to get back into the swing of things after my winter hibernation. I cannot tell you how excited I am that March is finally here! Even though the temperature outside is is up and down, I'm starting to feel a warming trend. I really love winter and snow, but I'm ready for spring already!


I took this picture in late Dec/early Jan before we had a lot of snow accumulation. I didn't venture out into the garden much after that. Now that the big melt is over, I'm gearing up for a very busy growing season.

As ever, I have a lot to work on this year. I have been busy planning and scheming all winter long. Since it's always good to start the year with some goals , here is my ever-expanding list of projects I hope to tackle in 2011 :

1. Landscape Front of Kitchen Garden.

After the total makeover of the garden last year, I was left with a very muddy yard. I ran out of time and money to fix it in the fall, but now that the rainy season is upon us, I will have to make this area a priority.

2. Fix Shed

The small shed in the back corner of my yard is becoming an eyesore (not the one in the picture above, that is my neighbour's). I have never liked the peachy colour. The rotted hole in the door certainly doesn't help it's appeal. At the very least it needs a good paint job, but I'd really like to re-side it this year as well.

3. Add More Containers

As my ambition for the garden grows, so does my need for space. To get more out of what little sunny area I have, I'm going to focus this year on expanding my container system. Containers, both big and small, should provide me with a little more flexibility than the raised beds. I can move them around as needed over the course of the summer and fit them into tight spaces. Now I just have to figure out how to keep the cats out of them.

4. Make More Raised Bed Covers

As a test this winter I grew some Kale under my re-purposed window sheer raised-bed cover. I monitored the kale up to the end of December and it was doing great. I got lazy and left it for the rest of the winter. I peaked under the cover the other day and while the kale doesn't look great, it is still green, even after snow and sub-zero temperatures. I can only conclude from this that cover is multi-purpose- it helps me protect certain crops from pest damage, and it will help me extend my harvest later into fall and possibly winter. It may even give me a jump start on spring planting this year! I'm going to try to sew more covers for the other boxes.

5. Add More Colour and Style

I want to take the garden from just a food production area to a true 'edible landscape'. Last year I neglected to add colour and style. I need more flowers, more structure and a focal point (and maybe an outdoor table for eating).

6. Green Manure

The goal for my garden is to be able to be as sustainable as possible, enriching the soil year to year without having to buy all my amendments, etc.  To that end, I have been reading a lot about 'green manures', and hope to incorporate this somehow this year.

7. Vermi-composting (Fall)

I have been planning on vermi-composting since the very beginning of my gardening journey, but have never managed to get around to it. Hopefully this will be the year!

8. More Fall and Winter Crops.

This year I'm going to try to plan ahead for growing cold-tolerant crops in the fall and throughout the winter as well. From what I understand, this means I'll have to start preparing for fall in July. I have some ideas to construct a movable cold frame to fit on top of the existing beds- hopefully something that can be dismantled when not in use.

9. Have a Kitchen Garden Party !

If all goes according to plan, I would like to have a party in the garden this year, possibly around World Kitchen Garden Day (http://kitchengardeners.org/world-kitchen-garden-day).

Here's to a successful 2011 growing season!

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