It may not seem like I am, but I do try to be very private about most stuff happening in our life here at the cottage. When I go "off the radar", y'all can expect it's due to putting my attention to matters at hand. I will share, though, the main reason I've been absent: I earned my licensure in insurance!
Studying for my licensure in insurance was a wee bit intense, I was terrified I wouldn't pass. Then, when I did, I needed a break so I took some time off from The Healer's Nook. Wanting to protect myself against burn-out, I watch for warning signs of mental fatigue and try to take a step back for clarity. This can help retain and refresh my inspiration and creativity. I'm really proud of myself for maturing enough to recognize when I need to take a step or two back, and to realize that I am on no one else's timeline or schedule but my own.
My Garden Plans Always Start in January.
Actually, that's not necessarily true. My garden plans for the next year usually start at the end of the current harvest. What I could've done better, did or didn't like is usually stored away as the wheels start spinning for next year's garden. January is when I bring my seeds out and start drawing up my new garden's lay out.
I've dabbled at container gardening (see this post), did some traditional plowed-style gardening, and finally raised beds. I want to get better at raised garden beds and container gardening, as I see them more fit to suit our needs. It's important to know what works best for you and to start out small. There's no shame in doing a little to learn a lot, I bit off way too much with our first garden here at the cottage. It was really three gardens! We had a pumpkin patch out front, our raised beds beside us, and our plowed garden in the back. Because I was new to the property, I had no clue how the shade and sunned areas of the yard would change with the seasons. We lost more hours of sun with the summer as the leaves grew on the trees. With my lack of knowledge, my yield was that of a smaller garden.
So now my goal every year is to increase the efficiency of my yield.
Learning What Grows Well Together...And What Doesn't.
After reviewing what I did and did not like about the last garden, I continue my planning with the companion plant layout. This is something I have to review every year as I don't seem to remember more than marigolds and tomatoes.
What is companion planting? Many plants actually help or hinder each other's growth. They can help attract pollinators or repel pests, and apparently some are theorized to improve quality and taste of other plants. There are plenty of charts you can find online for companion planting. The Almanac's website has a great post and chart on it here. I've seen some really pretty gardens out there that have been carefully cultivated with companion planting.
Figuring Out How I'll Use It
So once I've laid out what I'm growing, how and where I'll grow it, I look up all the ways of how I'll process it. Some things will be used right away for dinner like kale cooked down into a side of greens for dinner. A lot of what I'll grow will be immediately processed as canned or frozen.
With my newfound confidence in pressure canning, I do have a list of new things I'll be trying as well as my typical water bathed items. Here's my list on what I'll be growing and canning, we'll see if I get them all!
I'm sure there's a lot more I'll be canning, and not everything on that list is stuff I'll can from the garden. The canning list is more overall from the garden, farmer's market, and stores.
I also am going to try trellis gardening this year with my squash and such, to save room and increase efficiency.
Are you growing a garden this year? If so, what are your goals? With everything that is happening in the world, there's nothing better than having some control over your own food supply!
For my blog post on the best medicinal herbs to grow this year, click here.
Thanks for reading, y'all, and don't forget to comment!
Author: Tina Potter
Master Herbalist, I've graduated as an American Healthcare College Alumnus, I've become a member of American Herbalist Guild and author of survivalist series Survival Ember co-authored by professional survivalist Kenny Dietrich of Ashland, KY. I've been beyond blessed with the constant desire to learn and teach.
COMMON SENSE NOTICE: I do not claim to diagnose, treat, or cure disease. What you do with the information I post is up to you, but it is advised to consult with a doctor before acting on alternative methods of medicine. I wish you all the best!