Big Plans for a Big Harvest

After making an impressive rally throughout March, I am pretty sure Old Man Winter has keeled over dead. I could be wrong, though. This is New England after all. Even if he makes a few last gasps in April I have decided it is time to get going on the Food It Yourself 2018 garden. This year we are going big.

First, let’s look at the raised beds in the back yard. Here is a diagram of the raised beds from 2017.

Two things that need to happen in 2018. First we need to rotate all our crops to prevent depleting the soil.  Second we need to remove the rabbits that are eating all the plants. Here is my proposed 2018 plot for the raised beds.

We have planned two more raised beds to make sure we have space for the pumpkins, watermelons, and corn. At this time am not certain how we will keep the bunnies away. It will probably involve a combination of strategic chicken wire placement and one of those spray on repellents you can make at home for pennies. I will also take rabbit-repelling suggestions from my fellow DIYeters.

I think some of the plants are okay, but the tower walls are toast.

Then there are the strawberries. Our strawberry tower got a little stepped on while our house was re-sided in November. Not to worry, I have purchased 200 new strawberry plants. They are currently being stored in a bio-stasis chamber. Just kidding, they are in a cabinet in my cellar; the cold is keeping them dormant until I can re-arrange the front yard. First, I will remove the grass. Grass is stupid because you cannot eat it. Then, I will sift the gravel from the dirt. This will leave me with a large amount of gravel, which I will use to make pathways around the planted berries. In my imagination it looks amazing. We shall see what happens in the real world.

Also, I am starting seeds inside now. I have never once been able to grow peppers from seeds but I got some for free as a “thank you for your order” gift from Baker Creek Seeds, so we’ll see how that turns out. I also got a free packet of tomato seeds for ordering so many strawberries. Since I had the supplies out, I figured I might as well get a jump-start on my parsley, pumpkins and watermelons.

Everyone has their favorite way to start seeds. For me, the first step is always to find a spot to keep them. This year I made space on the living room floor under one of our plant lights. Next, I made pots for the peppers, tomatoes and parsley. I do not endorse too many products on this blog, but I really do like my PotMaker. Totally worth the one-time investment to never have to buy seed starting pots again.

The grocery store sale circulars from the newspaper are perfect for making pots.

I searched my garage and basement for larger pots for the watermelon and pumpkins. They are “heavy feeders” even as seedlings. I like to fill the pots with damp seed starting soil, then add labels so you can tell one green thing from another. Then, add the seeds and cover with more soil.

A little scrap of newspaper in the bottom of the pot keeps the soil from running out the bottom.


Watering the seeds sometimes causes them to float away. I find it easier to set them into damp soil.


I cannot stress enough how important it is to label the pots. Seedlings can be hard to tell apart.

Rhubarb is only a few weeks away!

Now comes the hardest part of growing things- waiting. I am so impatient to pull some DIY crops from my yard!

There are more plans for getting a big harvest out of our little sliver of planet Earth. There will be an expansion of the chicken run, possible integration of rain barrels with our irrigation system, and Mr. Food It Yourself has some interesting ideas involving his aquarium and lettuce plants. I am so excited to get going with my garden this year. What are you planning to grow? Share in the comments.