Happy Superb Owl Sunday and Start of Garden Season to you and yours. I’ve sown my first onion seeds today; therefore I consider February 13, 2022 to be the start of this season. It’s that time of year—making the best of plans, ordering seeds, getting totally unrealistic about what I can accomplish in one year—it’s simply the best. I’ve got a lot of garden-related plans as usual.
Now that I have a seed-starting setup that can accommodate most of what I want to start, it helps to have a schedule—of course I start indoors, but once we hit April I’m sowing both indoors and out. I’m leaving my dates a bit vague on purpose; I’d rather work within rough timeframes so that I’m not stressed and also to account for variations in weather—March through early May is a real weather roller coaster in Minnesota.
I already bought my seeds for this year, and most of them have arrived. I shopped at both Seed Savers Exchange and High Mowing Organic Seeds. I usually try to do as many heirlooms as possible but this year I’m opting for more f1 hybrids that have been bred for disease resistance. I’d like to see if their yield is higher, too.
Without further ado, here is one northern gardener’s schedule for 2022. I realize this is a lot. I am an ambitious gardener but I think gardening is cool no matter your goals or level of interest. Maybe you just want to grow a tomato in a pot, and I think that’s awesome. Nevertheless, it helps me stay organized if I have a plan before the madness of spring sets in.
- Start leek and onion seeds inside – DONE!
- Prune trees and shrubs that need it (exception: magnolia, which gets pruned later)
- Start dahlias, lettuce, and parsley inside
- Start peppers, chamomile, and okra inside
- Start basil, cilantro, and holy basil inside
- Transplant lettuce seedlings into hoop house, sow lettuce seed around them
- Start tomatoes, brussels sprouts, tithonia, cosmos, zinnias inside (replaces lettuce tray)
- Direct sow snap peas, collards, kale, mustard greens, chard, carrots and radishes outside (seeds)
- Remove cages from shrubs, place around tulips instead
- Start cucumbers inside (use compostible pots)
- Set out tulip pots wherever they’re needed
- Transplant onions into half barrel
- Transplant shallots into strawberry bed
- Dig up and find homes for hops
- Put up new trellises by deck
- Pot up nasturtiums
- Acquire other annuals for one or two large front yard pots
- Dig up and get rid of one gooseberry bush
- Acquire other herbs for herb spiral and plant (rosemary, oregano, thyme, sage, etc)
- Move compost bin
- Create new raspberry bed (like this) and transplant raspberries into it
- Sow Dutch white clover all around raspberries in their new home
- Plant new hedgerow (!) where the raspberries were
- Remove cages from shrubs; transfer to newly-potted annuals
- Get seed potatoes ready
- Plant new climbing rose and Virgin’s Bower (Clematis virginiana) plants around deck
- Plant sale!!
- Move around prairie plants as necessary for new driveway, cutting garden
- Plant okra, tomatoes, sweet peppers (weather permitting)
- Plant green beans, runner beans, potatoes
- Plant cucumbers
- Plant cutting garden: tithonia, zinnia, dahlias, cosmos
- Plant Brussels sprouts in tank after carrots are done, or thinned out enough to make room
- Plant hot peppers in tank after radishes are done, or thinned out enough to make room
- Plant annuals in pots after tulips are done
- Sow cilantro and ‘teddy’ dill after garlic harvest is done
- Patio and path paver work
- Fencing work
- Fruit harvesting season! Sour cherries, currants, gooseberries
- Plant more Pennsylvania sedge if needed around new patio
Early to mid-May is my craziest time of year; the week leading up to Mothers Day is usually the most intense. Part of the reason for that is I like to attend the annual Friends School Plant Sale at the state fairgrounds, so I have to get ready for new perennials, annuals, and everything else. The past few years I’ve been taking most or all of that week off work, so it’s easier to cram lots of my to do list into one week.
Of course, all of these plans are made knowing some things may not be possible depending on the weather. The last few years, we’ve had light frosts the first and second weeks of May, so I’ve had to be more conservative with setting out really tender annuals such as tomatoes and peppers.
My vegetable garden layout is here for your perusal; it’s not terribly exciting anymore because I’ve figured out what grows well in this space and now it’s just a matter of rotating things around as best I can.
We’ve got some exciting things going on this year, not least of all my husband setting up a pottery studio in our brand new garage. Some light landscaping will need to be done around that project, including a brand new fence and gate. I’ll also have to retool the garden area that’s adjacent to the driveway after we’re done replacing that (the old driveway was a casualty of construction equipment).
I’m also really excited to move my raspberries, for so many reasons. Not the least of which is: they are in too shady of a spot and our harvests have been puny for several years. I want to revitalize them, and move them into a spot where they will be more productive. I will also plan better this time so that they are more contained.
I’m downright silly excited about the new cutting garden I’m going to create. I’ve never grown dahlias before, and they sound a little bit challenging. But I’ll pair them with easy-to-grow zinnias and cosmos, so if they fail the whole area should still look good. I’m also planting a climbing rose! I still have plenty of pollinator supports / native plants all over the yard, and I will always make sure they are in the majority, but I’ve decided it’s OK to add a handful of plants that are mostly just for me.
Get ready, get set, and here we go: gardening is underway for the year. Thank goodness.