current project: garden planning

By the time January comes around, I have severe cabin fever. So to prepare for that, I pretty much always do 2 things in January: 1) map out a year training plan 2) start planning my Spring garden.

Invariably we get some dry days in January, so we are able to do some outside projects, and some physical labor and sunshine are what the doctor ordered after a long December of eggnog.

In the past, many of our sunny January days entailed chopping wood because we never chopped enough in the summer or fall for some reason. Fortunately we had enough this year, so we can concentrate on the garden.

Last January I got serious about planning because we invested in a greenhouse. I must have had pretty severe cabin fever, because I made quite the elaborate plan for the year.

Here was my calendar.


Jan. 1 sow indoors:

onion seeds


Jan. 27 direct sow peas under cover


source greenhouse foundation and flooring

plan garden

[LATE] tarp empty beds to heat soil

prep bed soil – manure/compost


Feb. 10-24 sow indoors:

marigold seeds

leek seeds

spinach seeds

test old seeds

Feb. 10-24 direct sow outdoors (under cover):

arugula seeds

carrot seeds

spinach seeds

kale seeds

lettuce seeds

cilantro seeds

parsley seeds

onion starts

leek starts


build greenhouse

check nursery sales on bare root fruit trees

start Alaska Grow Bucket tomato seeds [see pdf attached to this note]


Mar. 17 direct sow outdoors:

basil seeds

bean seeds

tomato test starts

marigold starts

chitted seed potatoes






weed – broadcast soap on gravel

fertilize onions

build vertical supports

succession plant salad greens



tent plants with horticulture fleece to ward off pests

plant more layers on potatoes

plant fruit trees

purchase and plant summer squash and zucchini starts


mulch garden

keep picking peas, beans and hers for greater yield

succession plant salad greens

purchase and plant tomato & pepper starts

purchase and plant winter squash starts

consider a heat hoop on peppers or additional peppers in container on deck


plant new beans

plan Fall/Winter garden

create a nursery bed for Fall starts near hose

sow indoor seeds for Fall: purple broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower (white + purple)

put bricks/stones around tomatoes and peppers to absorb more heat


direct sow seeds for Winter: carrots, green onions, kale, salad greens, peas, spinach

pinch top 4” off tomato vines and remove blossoms

remove new flowers on winter squash

cut back mature kale and give liquid feed

dry cure onion for storage

broadcast seed arugula & cilantro


collect, dry, and clean seeds

test soil pH and apply lime

direct sow salad greens

[late Sept.] direct sow garlic, onions, purple broccoli


collect seeds


feed soil with bone meal and rock phosphate

compost yard debris


protect mature crops standing in the garden




use Christmas tree as mulch

research a worm bin

I used Evernote as one place to capture all of my research on what the heck to do in a garden. We have NO idea what we are doing. So I tried a lot of different things over this last year and ended up with some dead plants, but took copious notes, so hopefully our 2016 garden will be all the better.

It was a nice and dry January last year so I had many opportunities to plant seeds. Here are some notes from my Evernote journal:


  • 1.23.15 55 degrees and dry. Dug up old potatoes and found a few seedlings. Put compost into long skinny bed and 3 beds. Pulled old tire tubing on irrigation. Need to replace those. Getting crusty.
  • 2.8.14 Planted peas directly outside 50ish degrees for weeks
    • Long bed by coop, North to South: alderman, sugar sprint snap, cascadia snap
    • Covered that bed in plastic with holes
  • 3.8.15 Removed plastic tarp from pea bed. Only a few starts.
    • Put coop crap onto peas
    • 50 degrees and sunny at 11 am, it’s been upper 40’s at night
    • Planted a handful more of peas of each or 3 varieties
    • Planted handful of scallions and arugula in center bed [update 4.10 didn’t germinate]
    • Planted 1 row red Wethersfield onions in 1st big bed
    • Planted purple fingerling potatoes in big bin
    • Planted bush beans – french and royal burgundy
  • 3.12.15
    • Filled spray bottle with vinegar salt and dish soap for weeds. Was recently raining, supposed to be dry today and tomorrow. Right now it’s 56 degrees. Solution is for weeds on gravel, not in beds.
  • 3.18.15
    • Weed progress: vinegar/soap worked ok, not super impressive, but there are tons of weeds
    • Planted 2nd row of Wethersfield onion bulbs (dried). No progress on dried bulbs planted 2 weeks ago.
    • Peas: growing well
  • 3.26.15
    • W onions
    • Planted 1 row of carrots [update 4.10 didn’t germinate]
    • 57 and clear @ 10 am
    • Planted more scallions and arugula Seeds in center bed – no progress on 1st batch. Too early? [update 4.10 both batches didn’t germinate – birds?]
    • 2 rows spinach [update 4.10 haven’t germinated yet]
    • Put kale and wallas Seeds in left middle bed – 2 rows [update 4.10 havent germinated yet]
    • Planted another row of bush beans
    • Planted mesclun mix seeds in big right (bean) bed
  • 4.2.15
    • Planted sage and oregano (gift herb medly plant) in corners of 1st East bed
  • 4.10.15
    • Sage didn’t make it
    • Planted marigold starts to abate slugs
    • bush beans are germinating
  • 4.11.15
    • Planted 2 rows of cilantro in top of Middle East bed
    • 2 rows of basil in top of 1st east bed
    • 2 rows parsley in bottom of 1st east bed
    • Beans: growing very well
  • 4.25.15
    • Green onion progress: fabulous
    • W onions: very slow
    • Bush beans: like weeds
    • Sprayed plant food on herbs that haven’t started and on green onion starts
    • Put more Sluggo out
  • 5.1.15
    • Put more sluggo and fertilizer on bush beans
  • 5.13.15
    • Planted 4 blueberry bushes
    • 3 tomato starts from Portland (early Oregon)
  • Sample of garden planner – succession chart
  • 5.25.15
    • Planted 3 jalapeños (starts from VHS) in 1st east box, lettuce and scallion starts from greenhouse in center box; scallion starts in 2nd west box; 1 chocolate cherry tomato, 2 crookneck squash (VHS) starts in 2nd east box; 1 chocolate cherry with other 2 tomatoes; bush bean seeds and spinach seeds in back big east bed


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