STORY & PHOTOS BY JINA ARMSTRONG
After the new year begins, the first thing on my mind is getting ready to start my garden. Some may think spring is the busiest time in a garden, but that isn’t the case; winter is the time when all the planning, gathering, purchasing, and preparing take place. We get started as soon as we can in January. We map out the garden on paper, deciding which seeds and plants will go where, and then we move on to my least favorite part, but the most important – Soil prep! As the saying goes: “What you put in upfront will payout in the end.”
“What you put in upfront will payout in the end.”
This year, we purchased a greenhouse which has opened up a whole new level of excitement and many new opportunities. Being able to start seeds indoors, not only give you a jump on a harvest but also allows you to grow strong plants that may be less likely to struggle in the heat, due to pest & disease.
My husband, Andy, says every year’s garden is different, and no two are the same. So, we plant plenty of what we have had success with and always try experimenting with new methods and new seeds. It is so exciting that gardening is becoming more and more popular. I hope this trend continues. There is nothing like growing your own flowers and vegetables.
I am constantly reading, searching, and learning. This past year I have come across some very helpful books and Instagram accounts that have taught me so much and changed the way we garden.
Some of the accounts and books we recommend are:
- Cool Flowers (Lisa Ziegler) is a breakthrough for me. She recommends starting the seeds in fall and winter because they can handle the cooler temps. It’s a great option for some hardy annuals.
- Cut Flower Garden (Erin Benaikain) gives step by step details on how to start a cut flower garden.
- The Vegetable Garden Bible (Edward C. Smith) is a great resource for methods on harvesting bigger yields and cutting down on your labor.
This is our 7th year to have a flower and vegetable garden. I can say for sure, I have never worked so hard physically, but I have never been so full of joy and satisfaction when the job is done and the harvest is ready. More importantly, I’m so thankful for the tough stuff that Andy takes care of – that allows me to try new things, and take pics of God’s amazing bounty!