February is around the corner and its time to start planning what to grow in the garden.
Last Spring I spoke about my favorite seed catalogs here. Like many who try to grow food to sustain their Homestead and families trying to figure WHAT to grow is always a challenge. One of the recommendations given to me by my Garden Mentor aka Grandma Viking was to grow what your family would naturally eat. Since Kale is not on the favorite list so we don't grow it but we love tomatoes and peas so they are a regular fixture in the garden.
An ongoing project Viking Dad and I have is to grow enough culinary and medical herbs for our family use. There is such a cornucopia of herbs it is always hard to choose what to grow.
I am a past master of forgetting what I grow and how successful the crop was in that season. It is not uncommon to find volunteers in a garden box that I had totally forgotten I had planted there the year before. The Viking Children like to call these Fairy Garden Surprises. For the most part it is not a problem however I do try to follow a form of gardening called Companion Gardening and sometimes these volunteers are in the wrong in the place.
Last years goal was to be a better planner and hope I can remember to document what we grew.
Last year I was introduced to Mother Earth News Garden Planner. This online subscription allows you to plan your garden and even gives you links to seed companies for the produce you want to grow. This program also includes:
- Frost Dates
- Garden Bed Designs
- Planting Guidance
- Garden Records
It seemed to help and we had fun as a family planning out our garden for the year. However, for record keeping I continued to fall back on my tried and true spiral notebooks.
The Viking Homestead, like many families, is also on a tight budget. While we enjoyed Mother Earth News Garden Planner it did come with a subscription fee. I decided to set out and search for free software that could also help plan our garden. These are but a few I found.
I was sharing my new found discoveries to another Mentor of mine aka My Dad and he gently reminded me about his own method of record keeping. He asked, "What happened to graph paper and a pencil?"
Any or all of these planners are good. The best practice is to keep it simple and fun.