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Have you noticed that it’s staying light longer? In only 52 days spring will arrive and it’s not too soon for me.
As time marches on, I watch the moon. As January draws its last breath, the Full Wolf Moon comes into view this Saturday. I hope all that white stays up in the air and not on the ground.
February is typically our roughest weather month. Remember, last year’s ice storm hit in February. February also brings Ground Hog Day on the second and the Full Snow Moon on February 28. Here on the farm, that means seed starting time.
I try to plant all my seeds and plants by the moon. According to the old wisdoms, the best time to plant seeds is when the moon is waning (getting smaller). So, the days between Feb. 1 and 12 are the perfect time to start your seeds.
Most of you know that I’m not really a cold weather fan, so being able to garden indoors is a great relief from winter.
Since my greenhouse is still not up, I start most things in my kitchen. I have two windows and a skylight. I also bring in the hanging lights. It gets pretty crowded because I grow hundreds of plants.
Backyard gardeners don’t need that many, but it’s good to know how many seeds you’ll need to feed your family.
Most people just guess, but you can figure out how much you need to feed your family during the season.
My first word of advice is only grow what you like to eat. That saves space. A garden of 100 square feet will feed one person. Add another 100 feet if you plan on preserving enough to feed them for the year.
Several methods will help you save space and get more from less. Trellis growing helps a great deal. I always grow my cucumbers up. Intensive gardening (less space between rows and plants), companion and succession planting helps as well.
Companion plants means you buddy up, planting “friends” next to each other to get pest and disease protection, along with some fertilization to boost the harvest.
Succession planting has a dual meaning. With one way you can think of carrots. When you pull a carrot, plant another carrot seed in the hole. It also can mean you plant different varieties of the same vegetable, like sweet corn, that mature at later and later dates.
We have lots of books at the library on these methods and to help you through almost any garden question. We’ll even have our annual garden workshop in about a month. Don’t worry, I’ll let you know just as soon as we have it scheduled.
If you’re serious about trying to feed the family (and saving about $2,000 on your food budget), one of the most important things to look for in your seed catalogues is the days to maturity.
Planting different varieties of the same vegetable gives you a break from having to harvest and can everything all at once, when your bounty is at its peak.
Although, now that I think about it, standing over the steaming pressure cooker and sweating bullets in the kitchen sounds good.
Now, get those seeds and round up your dirt and trays. Although Memorial Day is far away, this is the time I say “ladies and gentlemen, start your gardens!” Happy growing.
Cheryl Steenerson is a gardening columnist for The Anderson News.