It’s that time of year again. Can you feel it?
The soil is calling, the bunnies are ready to nibble on seedlings, and the compost is ripe. Ah…springtime. Time to plant the garden and reap the harvest.
I start off by drooling over seed magazines-literally. Then, I move on to my mental “wants” vs “needs”. I’m partial to Baker’s Creek Heirloom Seeds, (thanks to the introduction by a lovely reader, Janice). The variety of heirloom plants and seeds that can be found in this magazine is utterly amazing.
Do you want purple cauliflower? Striped tiger carrots? Marbled tomatoes? Done.
Gurney’s Seeds also has a great variety of seeds and plants offered-they’re just a bit more mainline and most are not heirloom seeds.
Next, I make an in-depth spreadsheet (because I’m a nerd) with what I absolutely need for the garden, price it all out and keep it all under $100 utilizing coupons and online discounts.
Spending less than $100 for an entire summer of produce-plus canning, dehydrating and freezing options-just makes sense.
Take that Whole Foods.
I save money on water by using Rain Barrels, making my own garden critter deterrents and utilizing my kitchen scraps to create compost.
I also save money by growing as many seedlings as my naughty cats will allow. Let’s just say we’ve had two instances already this morning. Wet paws, dirt and fur were flying.
Next comes the soil test (which can be bought at Lowes & reused multiple times for about $5). I’ll usually need to add cow poop, ground up shells or bones-along with my winter compost. I also save money each spring by renting a tiller for about $15, instead of a hefty purchase price and then storing the dang thing.
Once the ground is warm enough (the “zone board” is fighting about whether we are a zone 6 or a 7, so I just go with my gut), I’ll either transfer the seedlings or plant directly into the soil.
Using soaker hoses conserves water and slowly offers the plant a dribbly drink rather than a monstrous monsoon. Dribbly drinks creates deeper and more established roots for the plant. I also like to cover my soaker hoses with weed-free, grass clippings, which helps to conserve water and keeps the soil moist.
Moist. Moist. What a weird word.
And wouldn’t you know…these little stinking seeds do what they’re supposed to do! It’s like there’s a God or something.
Before long I have more tomatoes than I know what to do with, zucchini coming out of my ears and a steady diet of fresh, pesticide-free produce and herbs.
Typically, with the first harvest, I do a little green clog jig in the garden while the neighbors watch on with bewilderment.
Ah…springtime. I love this time of year.