Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow?

Is it that time of year? The garden is calling.

My fingers are itching to get outside and dig into fresh garden soil. I can already smell it. Ahhh… a gardener’s dream.

Last week the weather teased my green thumb. Friday it was 71°F here and it felt like spring. But sadly during the weekend the temperatures bottomed out. Those two days of warmth were exciting, and a strong reminder that spring is just around the corner.

What does a gardener do during the winter months?

  • Tend to indoor plants.
  • Look after those plants that need protection from extreme cold.
  • Clean and treat gardening tools.
  • Plan a garden for the next growing season.
  • Buy the supplies needed.
  • Order or purchase seeds or starter plants.
  • Start some plants from seeds to save money later.
  • Plant cool season vegetables in a cold frame or greenhouse.

To me it is of utmost importance to grow fruits and vegetables that are not genetically modified and are chemical-free.

What steps can I take to have a healthier garden, without the use of chemicals?

  • Buy Non-GMO / Organic seeds.
  • Do not use chemicals.
  • Use crop-rotation.
  • Use organic ways to feed and treat the garden.
  • Stick to organic practices when pests and diseases invade.
  • Growing organic food presents an extra challenge, but knowing that our food is free from GMOs, pesticides and cancer-causing agents makes any effort worth-while.

My plan: Attract and Introduce Beneficial Insects to the Garden

So far this year:

  • Created the garden layout, following a crop-rotation plan in order to minimize problems with diseases and pests.
  • Located almost all seeds and starter plants and I am now waiting for a shipment at the time of planting. 
  • Adding something new: Over the last few years I’ve always added something new (herbs, fruit plants, and different vegetables.) This year as well, I will try to grow something new. Salsify, Parsnips, Horseradish, Celeriac and Celery will be new to our garden. I look forward to the challenge. 
  • Pest control: In an effort to not use pesticides, I have looked for natural, organic ways to get rid of pests in the garden. For two years I’ve tried to introduce ladybugs and praying mantises to my garden. But so far, I’ve not been able to get ladybugs locally. Last year was the first year I was able to hang up a praying mantis egg and I loved it! Hundreds of praying mantises hatched. It was amazing to see them go to work.
  • This year I have decided to order beneficial bugs online, for three ma reasons. 
    • After doing a little research I found that ladybugs that are shipped to stores are mostly trapped and collected in the wild. Since they come from a vastly different environment, they can introduce new problems in the form of parasites and diseases to the garden.
    • Often those ladybugs that are shipped as adults do not fare well in a very different environment. So this year I have opted to order ladybug larvae from a reputable online supplier instead. I will order a Praying Mantis egg and lacewings at the same time. 
    • Ordering ladybugs and praying mantises myself makes me not dependent on the nursery / garden center. (Last year I waited three months and the insects never came in.)

I look forward to chatting with you about the garden again. Come join me soon to see what is next.

Our frozen over pond is beautiful but
I can’t wait for spring to come.

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