The Sunday Gardener: January Planning

“How does your garden grow?” With this question in mind, we’re sitting down with terrain’s own avid gardeners to find out what they’re digging throughout the seasons. Each month, our experts will provide their lists of essential to-do’s for spending a Sunday in the garden. First up is plant buyer Karen C., who proves that even the coldest months can be a time to grow.

Because it’s January, not much time is being spent outside, but Karen braved the elements this weekend to visit her community garden plot in Philadelphia and harvest a few leeks that she planted from seed starts last September. “While there," she says, "I reviewed my garden journal from last year. I use it to keep sketches of what, where, and when I plant things. Last year was my first year keeping the journal, and it was so helpful. Now I can reflect on what worked and what didn’t, as well as understand where to rotate types of crops every year to help with pest management. I concluded ‘yes’ to tomatoes, beans, cucumbers, spinach, kale, strawberries, radishes, and beets for the upcoming year. ‘No’ to Brussels sprouts, artichokes, and pumpkins – they just take up too much of my already limited space and I’d like to have cutting garden for the first time.”

After reviewing, Karen did a quick sketch of her ideal garden plot for this year, so that she could plan for what seeds to order. “Once home, I looked up a few leek recipes before gathering all of my scattered seed catalogs together on my nightstand. At this time of year, I read catalogs at night like they’re novels. Planning and mapping things out before placing my orders keeps me on track so I know what seeds I need. Otherwise I just buy way too much every year. I still will, but at least I’ll have a better idea!”

Karen's Sunday Garden Checklist:
1. Start a garden journal – review last year’s notes if you already have one.
2. Map out a plan for this year’s garden.
3. Buy seeds! 

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