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In the Garden

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The start of a new garden bed? The start of a new garden bed?

February is a time of planning - why not plan a hugelkultur?

A cover of snow on the ground—even if it’s not a lot of snow—has brought area gardeners back to a typical February state of mind—the plan.

February is traditionally the month for settling on and buying the seeds you plan to plant—soon in the case of those you will raise indoors, later for most of those you’ll direct seed into your garden. Check out your local, favorite garden sources and you’ll see that most are announcing that seeds have arrived!

Of course, you won’t know what seeds to buy if you don’t know what food you intend to grow this year, so planning is a must. This is not limited to the types of fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers you want, but includes the particular varieties as well, along with the amount you’ll need to plant.

That amount, of course, is determined by the amount of actual food you plan to eat/put away. But how do you get from “I need enough tomatoes for 20 gallons of sauces plus all I want to eat” (don’t laugh) to “I need to plant at least 30 Roma tomato plants?”

A good place to start is here, an offering from About.com via their gardening section called “How Much to Plant Per Person in the Vegetable Garden.”

Part of your planning will also involve the nuts-and-bolts of your garden as well—the “physical plant” so to speak. And an intriguing concept to consider is the hugelkultur bed. (Here’s a good, introductory site: richsoil.com/hugelkultur/)

The hugelkultur is a raised garden bed built atop a pile of rotted lumber that, done properly and over time, can not only eliminate the need for fertilizer in your beds, but also eliminate the need for extra watering. Seriously!

A friend of mine who lives up Elmira way wants to put a garden in but he lives on a hilly, heavily forested piece of land. He does have a sunny, southern exposure meadow that would be a perfect garden spot, if it just wasn’t so far away from the house’s water supply that getting water to it would cost a fortune—either in cash to run water lines to it, or time and energy to haul water there manually. Hugelkultur to the rescue!

While the snow replenishes our soil  and readies it for spring, pull out your pencils, plan your garden, and go pick out your seeds!

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Landon Otis

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gardening, tomatoes, planning, hugelkultur

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