Nelson Garden Plan

Our favorite time of year!! Garden planning. 

I love getting the seed catalogs in the mail, looking over our notes and diagrams from last year to see what changes need to be made and doing an inventory on the pantry to determine if we made too many jars or too little (we always make way too many pickles). Then we get to order new seeds (usually from Baker Creek because they have free shipping) and the rest we get from the Free the Seeds event or Columbia Falls library seed library

But really, the way I think of gardening isn't as a hobby, but as a keystone habit. Last fall, a group of us gals did a Habits Retreat with the Schole Sisters. They introduced the term "keystone habit," which as James Clear states is a "small choice that leads to a cascade of other actions."

This is a great way to think about gardening! It's completely changed our family culture for the better and here are the "fruits" I see from it: 

Alright, now that we have the right heart attitude behind gardening, here's the details on how our garden works:

This year we're trying a couple new things.

I purchased two Greenstalk vertical towers (one for herbs and one for warm season veggies). We have a big sunny deck, so my hope is that the herbs will be much closer to the kitchen and more accessible for cooking with. Also, our garden is in a micro-climate, so really warm veggies like peppers and tomatoes don't do great. I'm hoping that putting them on the deck will yield more fruit and more RED tomatoes!

We're also going to try Brussel sprouts instead of cabbage this year. My cabbage crop always gets decimated by cabbage moths, even with netting and neem oil, so we're switching it up.

The kids LOVE snacking in the garden, so I've created them a "snack aisle" this year. It's the pea row (see picture below), with the mini pepper and mini tomatoes in pots. They can have free reign on that row! They also love wrapping little cucumbers in sorrel leaves; it gives the cuke a little lemon zest! Try it! 

This year we are attempting cut flowers for the first time! Usually I do corn and more beans where the Flower Plot is (see pictures below), but the yield is never great and the corn is always gummy. The kids are also excited to add bouquets of flowers to their egg stand table.

So, that's our garden this year! You'll find pictures below. They are not to scale, I tried, but it's definitely off. Look at the downloadable chart at the bottom for more details on row lengths.

Happy planting!

We're in gardening zone 5a (-15 to -20 degrees and I'm also in a micro-climate). So these dates are based off of a May 15 last frost date. 

If you wanted to translate this for your area these would be the equivalents: 

February 20 or 12 weeks before last frost date (this would be for transplants such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, collards, seed onions, or celery. I don't do many of these, so I just combine my kale and celery into my March 20 batch)

March 20 or 8 weeks before average date of last frost

April 27 or 3 weeks before average date of last frost

Mid-April refers to if the ground is workable (squeeze the soil and if it forms a ball, you can plant)

Mid-May refers to days consistently around 60 degrees

June 1 - I always aim to have everything in around this date. Seems to be a safe bet (potentially a week or two late in some years).

Crop List for Veggie Background - FINAL.pdf