Day 13 of the January Money Diet – Plan a Garden

Plan your garden during the January Money Diet

My sister and I talked right after Christmas, and agreed that there is something about the arrival of January that immediately makes us start thinking about seeds and plants and gardens.

Do you love to daydream about planting a garden in the spring? Now is the perfect time to begin making plans and sketching out ideas for your ideal plot.

In the Day #4 post  (“Figure Out What to Eat“), I enjoyed reading comments from a number of you who grow your own food and preserve it so you can enjoy it all year. We do this on a small scale, freezing things like tomatoes and cherries and pesto, but I’d like to get more serious about growing more fresh fruits and veggies this year.

Strategies for Every Space

If you live in an apartment, you might be able to choose plants that thrive in your climate and can be grown in containers. My friend Jerry grows cherry tomatoes year ’round from a pot in a sunny window in his downtown Denver apartment.

Do you have access to a roof or balcony? The Kitchn posted an informative article on rooftop gardening.

If you have a small yard or garden plot, you may enjoy the “Square Foot Gardening” method to maximize your yield from a small space.

If you have a typical yard, you might be inspired by the Urban Homestead website. This family grows 3 tons of food on 1/10th of an acre!

If you don’t have a yard but long to really dig in the dirt, you might check out the community gardens in your area. The American Community Gardening Association has a nifty interactive map to help you find one near you.

Time to Daydream

It’s always fun to peruse the new seed catalogs and online offerings each year to see what new varieties have been introduced. These are some of my favorite seed companies:

The site MicroEcoFarming.com has a wealth of information about growing your own food — including tips for how to sell what you grow as an extra revenue source. You may also want to check out the Happy Simple Gardening Pinterest board, where I collect photos and ideas for growing good food and flowers (with a minimum amount of labor, naturally).

How About You?

Would you like to start planning your garden? Check out some gardening sites, sketch out ideas, and make a list of the seed varieties you want to plant this year. If you don’t have a garden, daydream about what you’d like to grow someday. Leave a comment on this page if you participate in this challenge.

We’d especially love to hear about any edible varieties you’ve grown successfully in the past. If you have favorite gardening sites and sources, we’d love to hear about those, too.

Happy daydreaming,

The signature for Eliza Cross

Photo:   Elspeth Briscoe

About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is a full-time writer and the author of a dozen books about food and home design. She has been blogging about simplicity and sustainable living since 2006.

13 comments to Day 13 of the January Money Diet – Plan a Garden

  • Colette

    I’ve always had a little hobby garden in my back yard. My huge raspberry patch is a great success, but this year, I plan to add more raised beds. There is always a nice supply of free lumber to be found in the wood pile at our transfer station (dump). This is my second year to have a backyard chicken coop. The hens seem to fling the straw out of their nesting boxes which then works its way across the coop floor and out the door. I’ll use this nice fertilized mixture to fill my new raised boxes. I have a variety of heritage seeds from last year, and I’m truly looking forward to expanding and planting this spring after our snow finally melts. We have a short growing season and our “fear of frost” is usually Victoria Day weekend at the end of May.

  • Marlyn

    Been planning with seven gardening catalogue beside my bed. However the 3 feet of snow is a determined at present. We are still eating from last summers gsrden, canned and frozen it helps budget through winter.

  • Mila

    We always plant tomatoes, cucumbers, yellow crookneck squash, zucchini, Jalepanos, and bell peppers.
    We have cleared off a new bed at the side of the house and will work our compost in next month.
    I think it will be a good place to expand our repertoire.
    I’m thinking leeks, garlic, egg plant, Swiss chard, etc.
    I love the seed catalogue I’m getting and will order soon.

  • Sarah

    I have had a garden for over twenty years. I depend upon it as a food source and I am always trying to improve on it. I try to preserve as much as possible for my family and to share with neighbors. I am also giving back to my community by taking care of my church’s garden.

  • April

    I am very interested in getting a garden started this year! I was wondering if you have Canadian recommendations for catalogues (Ontario would be perfect!)?

    Any tips on starting an indoor sprouting area (little kids proof)? Thanks!

  • Betty

    My husband grew up on a farm and therefore has that “farming blood” in him. We have had a garden most of our married life. We live on a city lot and a portion of our back yard is a garden. During the summer season, our graden consists of Concord grapes, red raspberries, green beans, tomatoes, green peppers, zucchini, broccoli, sweet peas and asparagus.We also have 2 apple trees. Then, we have another garden at our cabin in the country and on the river. We have many of the same crops there but also have rhubarb, potatoes, acorn squash, spinach and corn. We can tomatoes and freeze everything else. We provide our neighbors and our children with vegetables. We also make our own wine from the grapes, raspberries and the rhubarb. I help my husband plant, weed and pick the crops which I have grown to enjoy through the years. We freeze and can together too. It makes our summer busy but it is so satisfying and a real money saver – especially in the winter. We call ourselves “live off the land” kind of people. We have no one in our circle that enjoys gardening the way we do – they think we work too hard – we think they are missing out on a very pleasurable experience.

  • Lynn Louise

    I usually have a fairly large garden every year. Last year was the first year I planted zuchinni. It was a bushel crop and I ended taking tons of it to give away at my work. I froze several bags of it and over the weekend made a wonderful dessert with it. My husband plants sweet corn and last year was a great year for that too. Our freezer is full of bags and bags of corn that was sliced off the cob. It tastes so wonderful in the middle of the winter! I also have frozen peas and green beans and we enjoy them also. I would like to branch out and do more fruit such as strawberries and raspberries so may do that this year. It’s lots of work but you reap what you sow!

  • Lynette

    I have quite a few fruit trees still too young to provide much fruit. I really want to try a veggie garden so will start with our favourites potato, carrots, broccoli and tomatoes.

  • Well… I haven’t had the best luck starting things from seed, so I’ll probably wait until spring to do any serious planning. But I am looking forward to using my “hail house” again this year since it really saved my garden last year – three major hail storms, most of my neighbors are having their roofs replaced, but thanks to my hail house and my impact resistant shingles I emerged unscathed!

    My challenge this year, as always, will be to plant more variety and not end up with WAY more of one thing than I can possibly use. Last year it was cucumbers – seriously, the fridge is still full of refrigerator pickles! It always seems that I end up with a bumper crop of something… maybe this will be the year! 🙂

  • Camille

    This is right on time! I’m planning to try container this year and will be ordering seeds and finalizing plans this month. Thanks for posting this!

  • Kim

    Three years ago I changed my large flower bed to a vegetable garden. I have had great luck with it and try something new every year. Always have tomatoes to freeze & share with the neighbors. Much enjoyment from gardening.

  • Lyn

    This year, I want to focus on creating vertical planter beds on the walls of our small fenced in vegetable garden. I also want to create a trellis that hardy kiwi can climb on. 2016 vision: going vertical.

  • Kimberly

    I have already started to graft where I am planting where. Can’t wait to start the garden again. Snow on the ground and cold but seed books and gardening books there to read for ideas. I told my husband, two places I feel the most peace is in the garden and once a year we go to the ocean and walk the beach.

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