Garden planning is what pulls me through the last few months of winter. I don’t know how I did it before. The seeds, the dreams, the drawings, they all make the cold weather a little more bearable because spring is on the horizon.
Starting your first garden is like a crash course in life. Everything needs water and sun, you have to be smarter than your pests, and you’ll always have more to learn. This final remark is one of my favorite parts about gardening, I’m continually learning from my peers and my experience year after year.
This year I started a lot of vegetables from seed indoors. One of those teaching moments came recently when I began to put my ‘starters’ into the garden. The heartier plants survived without much struggle, but my pepper plants were truly showing signs of decay. I reached out to a few friends at the farmers market and learned a new lesson.
When you start seeds indoors its important to “harden off” your plants before putting them into the garden. This simply means acclimating the new plants to the outdoor conditions. You want to start with a couple hours of outdoor sunlight and wind exposure, then progressively leave them out for longer periods of time. Always keeping in mind the danger of spring frosts, especially in Northern Michigan.
I have high hopes that my pepper plants will bounce back, but regardless I’ve learned something new for next year. Simple lessons I’ll file away and remember for the rest of my life.
Its so exciting and rewarding to watch something grow and help to bring it to life. I’m looking forward to preparing more beds this year for perennials like asparagus, blueberries, rhubarb and strawberries. And I certainly expect to learn a lot throughout the process.
I’ll keep you all along for the ride.