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Spring Garden Dreamin' (On Such A Winter's Day)

January in New England. Outside it's a raw wet, mucky mess. The lawn is pale. The trees are bare. The chickens have scratched the garden beds to within an inch of their useful life. (Thank goodness I put the garlic chives in cages or those would be dug up too.) So, while the garden is currently LESS than inspirational, Karl and I have been planning and dreaming hardcore about our Spring produce and perennial projects. (Say that three times fast-I dare ya.)

Last year I planted a few new heirloom varieties directly into the beds via seed, including lemon globe cucumbers which were crazy prolific and DELICIOUS. (That's them in the basket photo.)

Heirlooms seeds have always been my favorites. They are so much tastier than their hybrid counterparts, and I believe strongly that mother nature is smarter than science - she knows what it takes to make a good veggie!

Anyway, last year I didn't build any extra beds, and so I still have a bunch of new(ish) seed packets to try. This year, we are really excited about expanding the garden. We will be trying some large area, "lazy gardener" techniques we've learned watching permaculture videos, such as "no dig" gardening. From what I can gather, this involves starting beds by simply laying down a large patch of wood chip mulch over compost. (Or even just bare lousy ground.) The process of the mulch decomposing "sweetens" the ground beneath, and in very little time, produces rich, fertile beds. (Kind of like composting in place.) I don't know about you, but I'm all for anything that saves money and energy! We also have many areas of our yard which need added fencing. Both to expand safe free range areas for the chicken girls, and to allow us to protect new crops from their industrious feet.

Needless to say, we have lots of ordering and planning to do! Some of our new edible experiments this year will be: Broccoli (why have I never grown broccoli!?) brussel sprouts, winter squash, gooseberries, raspberries, blueberries, currants, onions and sweet potatoes. We will also have our regular raised bed garden with kitchen and medical herbs, tomatoes, lettuces, chards, kale and spinach. Plus perennials and annuals to add color and attract beneficial bugs. And trying to get our new baby apple tree to grow. (She'll probably need friends.) Maybe, if we have time, we'll even add a small water garden to welcome birds and amphibians. They will eat even more of "the bad guys" and the bees will appreciate the larger water source.

These are the things I contentedly dream about while drinking hot tea and waiting out the winter. What are your garden plans for Spring?

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