Any other homesteader understands this minimal statement! I am craving fresh vegetables, new chicks, WARMER WEATHER! For living in New York State all my life, I am still not afraid to complain about the cold weather, don't judge.
But January on the homestead is all about planning your garden in my opinion. EVERY YEAR, I am all up in arms trying to decide what varieties to grow and what plot plan I am going to draw up. But I am always determined to decide because ain't nothin' better than fresh veggies!
One of my biggest suggestions though for first timers, start small. I made the mistake of starting WAY too big my first year, okay, my first few years! Gardening is a lot of work with planning, cultivating, harvesting, oh gosh and then you have to preserve your harvest. That last task is where I start to fail. So this year, my biggest goal for my garden is preserving the harvest better, canning, freezing, even dehydrating herbs! I spend all year growing my garden and other than the handful of green peppers I end up freezing and the other loads of vegetables I give away on the roadside stand, I do not end up preserving much more to get us through the winter months. It's depressing.
Let's chat about where to start with your seed packet wish list when it comes to a garden. Tomatoes. Top of my wish list! I love tomatoes, fresh or in a sauce with freshly picked basil (drooling) out of the herb bed. I love the smell of the plants most of all, I know what you're thinking, "now don't go getting weird on us Stephanie!" Fine, moving on. But I will say this, as far as tomatoes, I usually plant a couple beef steak tomato plants, specifically Brandywine, a few roma tomato plants and of course the cherry tomatoes. If you plan to do a CSA with your bounty then variety is always good.
Next on the list is your staple vegetables such as carrots, celery, onions, and peppers. With these vegetables, you can made any delicious soup or stew! When it comes to peppers I tend to stick to Napoleon Sweet Peppers, which are your typical green pepper but it is a tad sweeter the more ripe/red it gets. Then there is Kale, do not knock it until you have someone good at cooking cook it for you!! But kale is incredibly easy to grow and a couple plants yields plenty for the entire summer.
Other vegetables I choose not to live without are eggplant, swiss chard, squash and zucchini. One vegetable I CANNOT get to work out though for me for some unknown reason... cucumbers! Urgh! I never know what my issue is but this is the year, I feel it. I am going to be flooding my panty with pickles. Maybe. Hopefully. I do love pickles.
Let's talk about where to buy seeds. Most of my seeds I purchase from... tractor supply, the local lawn and garden store! You thought I was going to say some seeds magazine company didn't you?! I began that way but JEESH I cannot seem to order my seeds earlier than mid to end of January and all the good seeds are sold out by then. I am a procrastinator at almost everything in life. If there is one thing you learn from me on this blogging, don't let it be how to procrastinate! If you decide to order your seeds however, let me suggest either Seed Savers or Johnny's Selected Seeds. Both are very good seed companies with decent pricing and amazing company service. Nether of them disappoint when I do get order in. I will say I always order my transplants of garlic and asparagus from Seed Savers.
Enough chit chat though, go plan those gardens you homesteading powerhouses!! Lets chat again, I'm thinking pruning, trimming, and seed saving.
Check ya later!