Dreaming of Warmer Days

With winter in full swing, and temperatures here staying nice and cold, I have gone into full hibernation mode. I don’t get out very much in the winter months - I’m not a fan of cold weather. BUT now is the time I can sit inside my nice warm house, browse over and through all of my foraging and mushroom guides and plan for the upcoming Spring. I’m plotting new locations to hike through, going over new places I found out last year. One spot in particular I am looking forward to was a giant patch of Ostrich ferns I found in full bloom over the summer. Those are going to make some gorgeous fiddleheads this Spring!

Great idea for a small herb garden!
Something else I really love doing this time of year is planning out my garden. Although I love foraging and finding food, I especially love growing it as well. The best part about a garden? Anyone can grow one. It doesn’t have to be huge, it doesn’t even have to be much more than some pots or a small raised bed. You can have one in the city or in the county, and you don’t have to have a magic green thumb.

If you don’t have a lot of outdoor space, but can spare a little in your kitchen, have an herb garden! Fresh herbs in a store are expensive and don’t usually last very long. This way, you can just *snip* a little each time you need it.
Beautiful, small, raised bed garden.

If you have a little larger space, such as a deck, patio or a little bit of land, you can do a raised bed garden. This site was excellent for everything you need to know about them. Building, plotting, soil and more. Raised gardens are also really great if your soil isn’t right for what you would like to grow. For example, my garden consisted of a lot of shale and red clay. Mixed with good soil, most plants would do fine, however my carrots got extremely stunted and didn’t grow properly. I found a raised bed of about 6” with good soil was more than perfect to grow carrots and a few other root vegetables.

A little fencing or fishing line could fix this problem!
When finding a spot for your garden, remember, most veggies require about 6 hours of full sunlight, so watch where the sun falls in your yard. If you live in the country, you will definitely have to plan for deer and other animals ahead of time. I used a small chicken wire fence to keep the smaller animals out, but there are a few other tricks you can try along the way. Pesticides aren’t the best answer for anything. You can make home remedies for most pests. This is a great site for ideas if you have deer problems!

Another thing to think about when planning the coming years crop is the  difficulty of what you want to grow. Radishes are extremely easy, grow very fast and are a great beginner crop (and also a really great one to teach children, as it grows really fast, so they don’t have to wait as long to harvest!) Potatoes are great, and can start producing from spring until late fall. I managed to get three separate harvests from my potatoes last year. And although everyone always seems to grow tomatoes, they can be a little ticky. If the soil isn’t right, if they are crowded or get eaten by bugs, they can become rotten very quickly.

The best thing to do, is decide what you will eat, what you would like, and do a little research. Don't forget to find out the best time to plant in your area. This site is really great if you are not sure!

So, in the meantime, I will be snuggled up in a blanket, drinking some hot cider and planning for Spring. Until then, stay warm and bundle up!!