Thursday, February 7, 2013

Getting Ready to Grow (While There's Still Snow!)


For those of us enjoying the frigid temperatures we're getting in my neck of the (figurative) woods (not to mention bracing ourselves for an impending snowstorm), it's hard to believe that we should be thinking about what we're going to grow this vegetable gardening season. Even though our "last frost" date is around the Victoria Day weekend (the Monday preceding May 25th), there is plenty to be done to get ready for the upcoming season!

Here are a few ways you can "get your grow on" while you wait for spring to arrive:

Check out a Seedy Saturday or Seedy Sunday event near you
These events are a great way to connect with other local veggie gardeners, swap seeds, purchase seeds and supplies from local vendors, learn about resources in your area (such as community gardens) and take in an educational workshop or two.  Information on the Hamilton event on February 24th is available here.

Sign up for a community garden plot
If you don't have space to grown food on your own property, now is the time to search out a community garden near you. We're very fortunate that there is a wide selection of community gardens in my city (a directory is here). You can usually track them down by Googling "community garden" and your city or town. The great thing about community gardening is that you can learn from more experienced gardeners growing in the plots around you! Many community gardens also host educational workshops to help you improve your food-growing skills.

Check out some food growing resources from your library
I've been growing some of my own food for well over a decade now, and I still consider myself a relative novice. There is always more to learn (especially if you want to maximize your yields in small spaces!) A classic book that is perfect for beginners is All New Square Foot Gardening, Second Edition: The Revolutionary Way to Grow More In Less Space by Mel Bartholomew. I'm planning to expand the herb selection in my garden this year, so I'll be poring over Tammi Hartung's Homegrown Herbs: A Complete Guide to Growing, Using, and Enjoying More than 100 Herbs (yes, those are Amazon affiliate links).

Join (or start) a produce cooperative
If you're interested in swapping your surplus garden bounty with other local backyard vegetable gardeners, consider becoming a member of a produce cooperative if there's one in your area. If not, it's easy to start your own! You can read more about my own experience starting a produce cooperative, or check out the group that got this grassroots movement rolling!

Get those seeds started!
Once you know what you're going to plant, you can get seeds started if necessary (a lot of veggies, like greens, beans and squash can be directly sown into the soil once planting season starts). You can even reuse your toilet paper rolls as seed starters!

Have you started thinking about this year's vegetable garden yet?

DID YOU KNOW? I now have an events page! Come find out where you can catch up with me at a seminar, workshop or food demo HERE.

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3 comments:

  1. Too early for us here. If I start the seeds now they will have keeled over by planting time. I use yogrt containers in greenhouse plastic spinach containers for growing. Never failed for me yet. My window sills are quite cool, so the spinach container keeps them at a regular temperature. Did you get the snow storm this weekend?

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    Replies
    1. A bit too early for us to start, too. And yes, we sure got the snow! We got out this afternoon to enjoy it a bit with some cross country skiing.

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    2. I didn't get out to ski. We have started lambing season. They seem to like to come when the weather changes. Freezing rain, rain, sun and now snow again, all in 18 hours!

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