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Planning the Garden

Where do I start? One piece of advice I saw said, “Read everything you can find…” Are you serious?! Everything? Have you heard of the internet? No, I don’t think I’ll be reading everything I can find.

Definitely TMI!!

Reading the books I have is quite enough information, thank you. Here’s what I’m using as my main resources:

  • Crockett’s Victory Garden, James Underwood Crockett
  • Gaia’s Garden, Toby Hemenway
  • The Backyard Homestead, Ed. Carleen Madigan
  • Your Organic Garden, Jeff Cox and Rodale
  • A Grower’s Guide to Herbs, Geoffrey Burnie and John Fenton-Smith
  • Tips for the Lazy Gardener, Linda Tilgner

At first I was so overwhelmed I did’t know where to start.

So, I broke the process down into a couple of parts

  1. What do we want to grow?
  2. Where can I get seeds/plants?
  3. How much do we need to plant?
  4. Where should I place them in the garden?
  5. What requirements do they have once planted?
  6. When should I start seeds and where?

What do we want to grow?

This is the easiest part. Ask the family, make a list. What could be simpler? Except there’s almost nothing that everybody likes and lots that only I like! The list is pretty long…40 vegetables and 30 herbs at last count. Don’t even get me started on fruit…

Where can I get seeds or plants?

This is a bit trickier because of all the choices out there. Growing heirloom varieties appeals to me, but I’m not sure where to source them locally. Buying from a local garden center also makes sense as presumably what they have on offer is suited to grow here.  And some of the seed companies are Czech, so I would be sourcing my seeds locally. But they might not be (in fact, almost surely are not) organic, chemically untreated, non-GMO, etc. It’s dizzying trying to weigh the pros and cons of these choices.

Then there is just the overwhelming number of varieties to choose from. I read somewhere there are more than 3000 varieties of heirloom tomatoes to choose from.  This is pretty much true for all the other kinds of vegetables we want to plant, too. Ack!

In the end, I decided to use what I have saved from last year, which covers about 3/4 of the veggies and half of the herbs.

photo from their website

My next stop is the local garden center, Chládek in Střešovice. It’s a Czech company that I have seen expand dramatically in the years I’ve lived here. I think they source many of their plants and seeds locally. And a friend who is an avid gardener tells me that they will order things if they don’t have them in stock, so perhaps they will be able to find some of the more obscure things on my list for me.

How much do I need to grow?

Some of my books give indications of quantity needed per person. Northwest Edible Life, my favorite blog, has an Annual Produce Planner available for download. And I have a little bit of experience, so I came up with some quantities and for the rest we’ll just have to wing it! For the most part, though, the answer is, way more than I have been growing!! Which  leads me to the next point…

Where in my garden should I grow all this?

At the moment I have no idea…I’ll share as soon as I figure it all out.

When should I start my seeds?

Organic Gardening magazine’s website has a wonderful tool to help with this: http://www.organicgardening.com/learn-and-grow/seed-starting-chart

I’m looking at starting on 24 February with onions.

The latest 3-week spell of cold weather and snow has made spring seem much farther away than it did in December when it was much warmer (!), but the days are getting longer. It better warm up soon – sitting indoors with nothing to do but plan has meant a longer and longer wish list!

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