February is a tough month for many people in my region (the Great Lakes Region of North America). It is cold, snowy, and, often times, very grey. However, it is the best time to start planning your garden for the season. As you look out onto the white blanket covering your gardens, try to imagine what you want the space to look like in the spring, summer, and fall. Ask yourself: what do I want to keep the same as last year and what do I want to change?
Although it is not ideal, I always do my sheet mulching in the early spring, in March or even April (the ideal would be to do it in the late fall so it is ready for planting as soon as the ground thaws, as a student I never seem to be able to make this happen). By February, I need to have an idea of where I want to establish those new gardens.
But the absolute best thing about February is that you can start buying seeds. I even order plants in February, especially speciality ones such as native plants that are hard to find in nurseries. This is the time to start deciding what plants you are going to try growing this year and if you are going to buy them as seedlings or seeds.
Over the next two weeks I am going to do a series of blogs about spring planning, with ideas about best plants for pollinator gardens, some excellent veggies and fruit to grow, how to prepare to sheetmulch, and where to order seeds and seedlings. The first step to spring planning, however, is to get yourself a journal to use for your garden planning.
I suggest one of you first entries in your garden journal involve answering these questions:
- What do I like about my garden(s)? What works well?
- What do I want to change in my garden(s)? What doesn’t works so well?
- Am I going to create a new garden bed? If so, where?
- Does my garden provide a sanctuary for urban animals (including pollinators)? If not, how can I change this?
- Do I grow food/medicinals that I actually use? If not, why not and what can I grow that will be consumed?
Also, take a moment to do this exercise. If you feel inspired, draw your answer.
Imagine an ideal outdoor space – your own personal sanctuary. Now imagine that it is also a sanctuary for wild animals (including insects). What does it look like? How can you bring these elements into your garden space?