One of my biggest goals for the upcoming year is to have the most kickass garden come springtime. A great source of this motivation is my desire to reduce our dependence on the industrial food system and, consequently, the amount of chemicals we’re exposing ourselves to. Additionally, I’d like to save some money and develop a new skill. I also hope that gardening will be a good workout–it’s not aerobics, but it’s got to be better than my current hobby (watching Netflix for hours on end).
But, as with anything new, this whole gardening thing is pretty overwhelming, and I’m not too sure where to really begin begin. A couple of weeks ago I spent a quite a bit of time shopping around online and ordered more seed catalogs than was probably necessary. I’ve been checking my mailbox in anticipation, but so far nothing has arrived. Until they get here, I’m planning my garden in my mind (and on lots of scrap paper) and digging through the collection of gardening bookmarks I’ve accumulated over the past few years.
Here are some of my favorites:
One thing I’m absolutely sure of is that, along with the vegetables we’ll be growing, I’d like to incorporate some native plants somewhere. I’ve always been drawn to wildflowers and preferred the look of a wild, overgrown yard to a manicured lawn–this informed my decision last September (in selecting my birthday flowers) to purchase butterfly weed, echinacea, and black eyed susans. What I didn’t know then is that they’re all native plants. Now I plan on buying (except for the butterfly weed, which has already gone to seed and is also easy to propagate with cuttings) more of them and picking out some new ones to boot.
Two great resources I’ve found for learning more about native plants are eNature.com’s Native Gardening and Invasive Plants Guide and the Native Plant Database at Wildflower.org, part of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. I had to struggle to keep myself on task as I was doing research for this post, so I can definitely see myself spending hours on both of these sites in the near future.
So, for those of you who are also suffering from spring fever, what are you planning to plant this year? Do you have any tips for this novice gardener?
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