Saturday, January 23, 2016

January Garden Report 2016

 Well now, it is that time of year again...time for retrospection and resolutions. I'm good at the retrospection, but the resolutions? Not so much. Yeah, Yeah I resolved to write more on this blog LAST YEAR and you can see how that turned out. I resolved to write a garden post every month last year and I managed January, but I'm nothing if I'm not hard headed so I'm going to try this again.

So, it's January and here is my Garden Report. So far it has been pretty mild (probably just threw out a major jinxy by saying that), but we are still swampy from a 10 inch rain we got just at the end of the year. The garden is almost 100% prepped for the new season except for a few minors things. I'm still waiting for my compost pile to dry out!!

Last year's garden was a really abundant one (of course, you would know that if I ever blogged about it!). My hopes this year are to produce as much as or more than last year. I still feel like I'm on the steep part of the learning curve even though I'm organized and on time. I keep doubting myself and my I turn the heater on? do I plug in the heat mats? do I need to water? Soak from the bottom or sprinkle from the top? and on and on and on....I wake up thinking about (okay, obsessing about) these things.

Despite it being only 25 degrees when I went out to milk this morning, I went out the greenhouse and puttered about. It was about 40 degrees in there with the heater on and the skies overcast. I had to execute a "do-over" on the cabbage planting because I had dropped the whole flat and blasted the soil (and sadly, 4 tiny babies) out in the stones. UGH! I also started eggplants and tomatillos. Last week I had (with the cabbage seed) also planted 5 types of peppers and parsley. I was sad to see that nothing was germinating....I felt bad; I beat myself up; I got angry and frustrated and then....well, then I read the seed packets...Oops, nothing to worry about. Parsley needs three weeks and peppers need consistent soil temps of around 80 degrees.

I vacillate between being a total nerd (see garden plan diagram from 2015 above and at right) or being totally willy-nilly about the garden and I'm trying to find the middle ground this year.

If you are starting a garden in North Texas yourself here's the run-down (from the nerdy part of me).

In January you can start these seeds indoors:
Broccoli. Cabbage. Cauliflower. Eggplant. Kale. Parsley. Peppers. Tomatoes, and Tomatillos. 

The Bullet List:

  • I use a 50-50 mix of peat moss and perlite (or vermiculite) for starting seeds.
  • I use any container that will hold soil (just remember to punch holes in the bottoms.
  • I use plastic wrap (you know the kind people use to cover food) stretched over the tops of the containers (until they germinate.)
  • I have heat mats, but I'm not sure they are necessary/effective.
  • I am using a greenhouse and a space heater on really cold nights, but no extra lights.
  • I try to keep the pots damp, like a rung-out sponge.
If anyone is following along (and why would you be, since this poor old blog is pretty hit or miss) I hope this helps you get going....and PLEASE please please use ORGANIC seeds for the bees and your health!

EDITED: I thought it might be helpful to add the two major references I use this time of year beside just reading the seed packets (from which you can glean much info).
I use THIS Seed Starting Plan Sheet from Growin' Crazy Acres
I use Maximizing Your Mini-Farm by Brett L. Markham (right now I use it for my notes that I've added the last couple of years, but when it comes to planting time I use this for spacing and such).