I feel pretty good about my seed order. I have 90% of the seeds ordered and received. There are just a few perennial plants and live plants that still need to be ordered. Getting to know your farmer means learning about what it takes to get perennials going. For annuals, it’s different: put a seed in the ground, and within a relatively short period of time, you have fruit. Perennials take some time to get established, however. This year, we will plant several perennials, but none of them will be ready to harvest until 2019 at the earliest. Berries, asparagus, rhubarb, and fruits all need extra time to produce something we can eat. It would be lovely if you could just plant them and walk away, but they need lots of care: weeding, mulching, pruning, mowing, etc. This will be a new experience for me too, so I’m excited to learn about how to take care of these plants.
And yes, I will need to purchase a few live plants. Most of the vegetables we grow will be started from seed by me in the greenhouse, or planted directly into the ground. There are a few exceptions to this. Sweet potatoes are grown from live plants called “slips” that are grown in southern states where they stay alive year-round. French Tarragon is another plant that must be grown from live cuttings, not seed. Personally, I love tarragon so I wanted to be sure to include that in our offerings of perennial herbs. Live plants will be shipped to us just before planting time. Sweet potatoes won’t even come until May. It’s amazing that we can even get a harvest off of them in a few short months.
My other big task this week is making bed maps. I’m plotting out every one of the garden beds that we will plant next year. Some of them are quite easy: for example, tomatoes will all be planted in the same section, all on the same day. Others will take a little finesse. Several popular vegetables need to be planted in succession, or every 2-3 weeks all summer long. These include carrots, beets, lettuces, radishes, cucumbers, summer squash, dill, cilantro, parsley, and basil. You can see in the map that succession planting is a little more chaotic. I’m glad I did it, though. I caught a few mistakes that would have caused some crowding and problems if we were actually planting.
What big plans does your 2018 hold? Have you made your to-do list yet?