life curation · relaxation

Garden Planning – The First Steps

As if I’m not already busy enough . . . I have started working on my garden plan for this year. You see, last year, spring caught me quite by surprise (probably because I was starting to tutor more and COVID became an issue when I should have been doing my garden planning). So while I did grow a few things, I didn’t have nearly as many flowers and herbs as I would have wanted. I believe that a failure to plan properly is why my garden was so unimpressive.

Last year, I also completed a course in herbalism and became a certified herbalist. As part of my continuing study, I knew that I wanted to grow herbs, veggies, fruits and flowers that I can use in my practice. Also, part of herbalism involves studying plants throughout the four seasons, so that you can become intimately familiar with them. The best way to do that is to grow them from seeds/seedlings and observe them for a full year or two. I can best do that by growing them myself as opposed to trying to find certain plants “in the wild” and trying to keep up with them that way.

This year, I’m going to do better. I’ve already read a book about lunar and biodynamic gardening (book review posted here) as well as a book about how to group your plants in your garden. I’ve purchased some seeds, some seedling trays, and I have some soil left over from last year. I have my supplies, but now I have to actually work out a schedule for what to do and when to do it.

My seed stash

For assistance with scheduling my garden activities, I’ve been relying heavily on the Farmer’s Almanac website. There is a great, easy-to-read guide on when and how to start seeds indoors, as well as a guide for vegetable gardening for absolute beginners. Now, I’m growing herbs as well as flowers, fruit and a few vegetables, so I will have to check some other websites to get a good schedule for my non-veggie plants. But the Farmer’s Almanac website has a handy calendar to help you plan your vegetables based on your zip code, so I’m glad that they have made it so easy!

In the weeks to come, I’ll share my list of veggies, herbs and flowers that I’m growing, as well as any tools or resources that I’m using to help me with the gardening process.

Do any of you have a garden? If so, when do you start planning your garden? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

reading list

Book Review: Lunar and Biodynamic Gardening

Hi friends! I’m really excited to discuss today’s book with you all. As you all may know, I’m still a new(ish) homeowner, and I love flowers and gardening. So instead of waiting until March or April to start thinking about my garden, I decided to begin my garden planning now, so that I can hit the ground running after the first frost.

The book I’m reviewing is Lunar and Biodynamic Gardening by Matt Jackson. The book focuses on gardening in a way that allows you to create an optimum environment that supports the plants organically. This focus on healthy soil, working with nature’s natural rhythms, and disturbing the environment as little as possible makes it so that both the plants and all wildlife thrive.

Unfortunately, I got this book from the Dollar Tree and I’m unable to locate it on Amazon. However, the author has another book on Amazon that may be worth checking out (it covers the lunar phases and their effects on plants). Make sure to check that out if you enjoy this sort of content.

This book is broken down into six, easy-to-read chapters. The first chapter teaches the basics, explaining what lunar gardening and biodynamics are, and how these two differ from one another. The next chapter outlines what you need to start, depending on the size of your intended garden. The next chapters focus on soil and compost, growing food, growing flowers, and container gardening.

The author resides in the UK, so he is located in the Northern Hemisphere like me. But, he has generously provided resources for readers that may be in the Southern Hemisphere. He also shares resources to help readers get further clarification on certain principles.

I love how accessible lunar and biodynamic gardening approaches can be for novices. Jackson does a great job explaining how to work with various yard/garden sizes. My yard is medium sized, but my garden will be planned as if I have a small yard, and if I’m inspired, I will expand in future years. It’ll be great to start small so I can really master the concepts before I dive deeper.

In this world of law of attraction/conscious creation, it’s really easy to focus on the spiritual or esoteric sides of things to the point where we may not see the practical side of tuning into nature. But this book is a great reminder of how energy works, and how everything works together. I’m fascinated by the moon cycles, and I’m eager to see how these principles influence my garden’s success. I’ll be writing about this in upcoming posts, so look out for updates!

That’s it for today. I hope you all are staying safe and having a great day. Take care!

*This post contains affiliate links.

health · life curation

Preparing for Mid-Summer Gardening!

I have still been enjoying time out in my yard, and I’m considering what plants I can start in July (since I was SO behind the ball this season). For the record, I didn’t know that I was going to be so fascinated with gardening, flowers, and nature in general this spring. My fascination blindsided me, so I’m very LATE in garden planning. But that doesn’t mean that all hope is lost! There are quite a few plants that can be started in midsummer and still thrive with ease.

Dreaming of summer gardening . . .

Burpee’s website outlines all of the crops that can be started in July. I wasn’t interested in growing vegetables per se, but if I change my mind, I may try to grow squash. My preference is smaller herbs and maybe some flowers. I found this guide published on The Spruce to be the best one for planning the kind of plants I would like to grow.

The only thing currently blooming in my yard: my gorgeous gardenias!

I’ve very interested in growing cilantro, garlic, basil and (perhaps) arugula or looseleaf lettuce. I want to start small and then expand into bigger plants. I really enjoyed seeing my overall growing options over on the Old Farmer’s Almanac website. There are a lot of plants that can grow in my zone (zone 7) so I’m excited to see if I can squeeze in one more herb or maybe even a fruit (perhaps blackberries or raspberries).

I watched this fantastic video that also gave me some ideas for what I may grow in my zone in July. I like that this guide can be used for multiple zones, not just zone 7. Rare Seeds’s YouTube channel is a wealth of information.

Will any of you be trying some midsummer gardening? Let me know about it in the comments!