Here’s the Plan

It is February. The seed catalogs arrived about six weeks ago. I bought stuff.

From Johnny’s Selected Seeds I selected string beans, the most disease resistant zucchini and pickling cucumbers I could find, and a hearty-looking variety of pumpkin called Rival. I will not lie, the description of this variety as a “doorstop pumpkin” was highly endearing. I am also giving carrots another try. If we can aggressively control the critters that like to nibble the tops as they grow I think we will have success; I’ll come back to that later. Finally, I decided to try leeks this year. No special reason, I just want to try growing them.

From another favorite vendor, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, I got a variety of greens. The bok choy is for Mr. Food It Yourself and me. The lettuce is for the chickens. My plan is to start a few planters, several weeks apart. The planter with the most mature lettuce will go in the coop, we will swap as necessary. The snow peas are for Mr. Food It Yourself and I to stir-fry with the bok choy. The sunflowers are because sunflowers are awesome.

We had a warm spell a few weeks ago and my rhubarb got excited. It is now wicked cold, so it might be dead. We shall see.

We will also be adding to the tree collection in the Food It Yourself garden. I finally ordered a fruit cocktail tree, also known as a fruit salad tree. There are several variations, but I ordered a dwarf root-stock with peach, apricot, nectarine, and plumb buds all grafted on to it. There are also citrus versions, but those would not survive here.

A random conversation between Mr, Food It Yourself and I about fruit lead to the question, “can Asian pear trees grow in central Massachusetts?” The good news: yes they can. The bad news: pears, like apples, require cross-pollination between varieties to produce fruit. The really good news:The nursery that sells fruit cocktail trees also offers a 3-variety-in-1 Asian pear tree. I am very excited for the trees to arrive. It will be three to five years before we really get fruit from them, but it will be worth the wait.

If you are still looking for places to buy garden stuff this year, here are some of my favorite sellers:

  • Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds The owner is a die-hard crop diversity enthusiast. The website and catalog use his family and employees as models. I love supporting this company.
  • Johnny’s Selected Seeds A Maine-based company that sells good stuff. The website has very detailed instructions for planting everything. They have a mix of uncommon heirloom varieties and the old standards your grandparents grew.
  • Seed Savers Exchange The seed sales are just a tiny part of what these people do! They are working to preserve biodiversity in food crops and promote responsible agriculture.
  • I ordered those exciting fruit trees from Ison’s Nursery and Vineyards. I have not ordered from them previously, but they have excellent reviews. We shall see how it goes.

About that critter-control issue, Mr. Food It Yourself has promised me an electric fence this year. Not only will it keep bunnies and woodchucks out of the garden, but it will keep foxes and skunks out of the chicken coop.

The All Knowing Woodchuck of Pennsylvania has decided that we shall have an early spring! That’s great for the Mid Atlantic, but here in central New England “springtime” and “blizzard” are not mutually exclusive conditions. It will be quite a while before I plant anything outside. When the warmth finally arrives, however, I will be ready. I mean, I probably will. What plans do you have for your DIYet this year? Share in the comments!