Piddling Indoors

As I sit here, fat snow flakes are drifting to the ground outside my window.  So while it’s too cold yet to be outside piddling, I am inside planning my future outdoor piddling.

Based on last year’s successes and failures, we aim to focus more on what we are better at growing.  That means less squash and more okra.  Of course, there’s always some “first attempts” thrown in there for the learning experience.  This year, our first attempts will be cabbage and roma tomatoes.  While I don’t think there should be any huge learning curves involved with roma tomatoes, with cabbages there might be.  We shall see!

Here is our larger 20×30 BTE (Back to Eden) plot plans.  The beans this year will be pole beans.  Every year we try to switch up between green beans, pole beans, and pea varieties.   Since we preserve them, and have a bit of a surplus, it makes more sense to process only one of those crops per year.  Unless of course we can fit in a fall crop of peas.  We tried that for the first time last fall, and learned we planted about 2 weeks too late to be successful.  It’s a bit of a gamble, but we will try again this fall.  But for now, this is the plan for the large garden.  Bob drew it.

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We hope to make lots of sweet jalapeno relish, because we go through relish like crazy.  Where it says “Cher”, that’s purple cherokee tomatos, our staple tomato plant.  Last year we had 11 of them and gross about 100 fruits.  It was a bit too much.  So this year we are halving the number of those we grow, but adding in some roma tomatoes, mostly because I want to try to make some sauce or paste.

Bob leaves the shed-side 12×3′ garden (also BTE), to me.  I planted garlic there in the fall (2nd season), with cloves from last season’s harvest.  I’m not merely content with buying seeds or starts from stores, I want to know how to save and use my own seed year after year.  This is super important to me, not only for self-sufficiency, but for keeping our costs down.

This year we also invested in a garden journal.  While my day job is in IT and I’m proficient at creating databases, programs and the like, I don’t care to rely on technology.  I mean, that’s exactly what we are trying to get away from: relying on modern conveniences.  We want to be as self-sufficient as possible, and that means keeping paper notes on our gardening successes and failures.  So after 7 years of gardening experience, I’m finally taking the time to write things down that will help us keep track of things better.

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Another tool we invested a whole $5 in (last year) was this handy little seeding and planting guide.

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This tool is great!  It comes with a paper listing common last frost dates, and the tool itself flips over for planning fall crops (not shown).  Just check it out over at Clyde’s website.  There’s a video explaining it: https://www.clydesvegetableplantingchart.com/

I decided to seed my plants 2 weeks earlier than this says to do.  Why? Because I figure if the weather is ahead of schedule, I’ll still be on time.  And if it’s on-time or behind schedule, they can just grow a little bigger indoors while they wait.  Also, if some seeds don’t come up, I still have some time to seed more, if needed.

So these are my plans for what to seed indoors/outdoors and when.  When I actually plant each, then I’ll record that into the journal.

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Today I seeded:

  • Cabbage
  • Collards
  • Celery
  • Basil
  • Cilantro
  • Parsley

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These little guys now sit out in the cooler garage under grow lights on a timer.  When they start coming up through the soil, I’ll write that in the journal, too. 🙂

I already have some buttercrunch, romaine, and flame lettuces started.  I know that’s early, but I can eat from those while growing totally indoors.  I’ll plant another set of them at a later date, and those will go outside.

Well, I’ve blathered enough for today.  It’s time to hop in the shower because Bob is taking me out to dinner for my birthday.  My big 45 is actually Monday, but we would rather not rush on a weekday evening.  So today it is!  Oh and check out what my son gave me!

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This fold-able stool doubles as a kneeling bench when flipped over and has tool bags on the sides.  Very nice.  Plus, he also gave me some garden gloves with “claws” for digging.  My hands are a little small for them, but they may work.  If not, they fit Bob.

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