Thursday, February 26, 2015

Planning your plot: a reminder

Hello all -

The EHCG gardening committee was busy this week preparing for the Seed Fair, which we will host April 11. Seed Fair preparations put me in the mood for reflection on last season and planning what I will grow in 2015. Don't let the snow on the ground and cold temperatures fool you - spring is around the corner! I find that meditating on the coming season and the joys it will bring warms these final winter weeks.

Whether you are a new gardener or have grown your own food for years, this is a reminder that the time for planning for the spring planting is upon us. The internet is full of handy spring planting calendar tools; an example can be found in this link. Whatever method you decide to use, be sure to plan around all of your spring favorites, and allocate space in the plot for these early crops.

If you like, re-visit my post from last year about planning the plot out, month by month. While you may not plant the same crops as me or use the same schema, generating a monthly garden plan of your own can help you to allocate space for your spring, summer, and fall crops as necessary.

Finally, you can identify the sources of your seeds and/or transplants for the coming year. EHCG hosts the Seed Fair in April as well as two transplant sales in April and May. In addition to these events, you can buy seeds in stores and online from myriad vendors, and buy transplants around town including the Dane County Farmer's Market. You will benefit from having a plan handy in March to carry you through the season.

Think warm thoughts, and happy garden planning!

Monday, February 16, 2015

2015 Gardening Season: Closer and Closer, Every Day

Hello all -

There is snow on the ground and below freezing temperatures in the air, so why on Earth would I choose today to update the EHCG blog?

Well, while the world outside is not yet ready for the beginning of the garden season, the EHCG committee is already working to organize Opening Day 2015, the Seed Fair, and the plant sales. We have gardening on the brain, and honestly this is a great time of year to start paying a little more attention to our personal horticultural plans for the coming year.

I've said before that it pays off to start planning the plot out early, and I usually start around late January or early February. An early start means that you have time to find seeds, buy or build structures, map out companion planting, read up on permaculture, get re-acquainted with the seasonality of the crops you wish to plant, and even build a weekly calendar to help keep you on top of weeding, watering, and the maintenance of your crops come May.

But don't take it from me, take it from Robin Mittenthal, a previous chair of EHCG and expert gardener. He wrote a fabulous introductory manual to organic gardening, oriented geographically to south-central Wisconsin, specifically Madison. This manual provides an overview of organic gardening, and has guidelines for plot preparation, planting, maintenance, weeding, pests, and more. This is a great resource for starting gardeners and a nice refresher for those of us with some experience as well.

Take some time to get into an EHCG state of mind, and keep an eye on these upcoming dates:

Opening Day
March 28
Official start of the 2015 EHCG Season
Plot assignments will be posted
Orientations will be given at both EH and UH gardens

Seed Fair
April 11
Free seeds for registered gardeners
Workshops for seed-starting
Orientations will be given at both EH and UH gardens

Cool Weather Plant Sale
April 19
Cool weather plants will be sold at the EH site
Plant list TBA

Warm Weather Plant Sale
May 17
Warm weather plants will be sold at the EH site
Plant list TBA

Think warm, sunny thoughts!