You might wonder what you do in the winter in regards to your garden. Winter is a wonderful time to plan ahead. By late December, early January the seed catalogs begin to arrive in the mail. There is nothing more enjoyable than sitting with a nice cup of tea on a cold winters day looking through the seed catalogs and dreaming of next year’s garden. I end up with a larger garden each year just because of the wonderful copywriters! The bright colorful pictures and the descriptions of the plants are enough to convince me to try some new variety. I may not be spending winter in the garden but I certainly can dream!
Before you get carried away in placing your order the first thing to do it decide just where your new vegetable garden will be placed. There are many aspects to consider. Most important is the size of your garden. Will this just be a small garden to provide a few fresh vegetables during the growing season or do you want to grow enough food to preserve your harvest? Have you gardened before or will this be your first attempt? If this is your first time gardening perhaps a smaller garden will be more appropriate. You can always increase your garden in size each year.
Once you have determined the size garden you want to plant you need to figure our just where the garden will be placed. Perhaps you live in an apartment and have no place for a garden. Often the town you live in may have community gardens. Community gardens are a wonderful way to start out. For a modest fee you can rent a small plot. When my husband and I were first married we lived in a small first floor apartment. After searching we found that the local Audubon Center had garden plots available for rent. The plots were located in an old pasture with beautiful rich soil. The plots were 12 x 12 and were tilled at the beginning of each season and the boundaries were marked off. After signing up you were told which plot was yours. In addition to the soil preparation they also provided running water. I don’t think we’re ever had such beautiful soil in any of our gardens since! Not only did this give us the opportunity for a wonderful garden, it also gave us the opportunity to meet other gardens who were much more experienced!
Once you have determined the size garden you plan to have you can spend some time looking at the seed catalogs. Some seeds must be started early in the house other seeds can be directly planted into the garden. Plan to plant vegetables that you enjoy.
There are numerous seed catalogs in which you can spend hours looking at determining which vegetables and flowers you want to plant. A few of the catalogs I enjoy are Burpee, Johnny’s Selected Seeds, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds and Park Seed. Be sure to determine which zone you live in so the seeds you can choose will be well suited for your garden.
Early winter before the snow flies is also a good time put your garden to bed for the winter. If you have a mild winter season you can plant a cover crop, which will help improve the soil in your garden. Here in Vermont we often have a hard frost by late September so I seldom plant a cover crop. Instead I try to pick up all the loose stalks and any stray vegetables so that the garden bed is picked up and ready for another season come spring.