I don’t know about you, but Spring really sneaked up on us this year. With all the rain, flooding, and just plain gloomy, depressing weather spring seemingly came out of nowhere and not a minute too soon. The sun is out, the temperatures are rising and I am completely unprepared! OK, not completely, but not nearly where I should be according to the calendar. We have some tomato and pepper seedlings that we started indoors as well as some seeds left over from last year, but we are definitely starting later than normal.

OK, Spring. Two major items to be prepared for; gardening season and storms. Gardening is the most fun and rewarding, but also the most work; so preparing for the storm season should be a breeze right? Well, that depends; do you have plastic sheeting, duct tape, tarps, candles, flashlights, extra batteries, hand crank radio, canned food, and plenty of water? If so, you’re in pretty good shape, if not there’s no time like the present to get that inventory up to par. Note: a good chainsaw, fuel, leather gloves, eye and ear protection can really come in handy when cleaning up after a bad storm.

Gardening is something we both look forward to all winter, but it is without a doubt a great deal of work. We plan to expand again this year with another raised bed, more 5 gallon buckets and one more garden spot. We already have the supplies to build the bed (minus the soil) and with any luck it will be built and ready for soil this weekend.  We cleaned out most of the buckets in the fall, but we have about 20 buckets of strawberries that could really use some attention. All the blueberry bushes survived and are budding except one, that one may need to be replaced as well as add a few more. Our planning for this season is really two fold, what can we eat throughout the season, and what will we be able to can/freeze and how much. We plan to grow more Bell peppers and fewer hot peppers this time based on what we have left from last year. Tomatoes will hopefully increase again; we have lots of salsa left, but want to can some pasta sauces this time as well. Green beans, lots of green beans and trying our hand at growing black-eyed peas for the first time. Okra did really well for us last year (and for the deer) and we still have quite a bit in the freezer so we will give that one a go again as well.

Blackberries. You may remember an article I posted last year about picking and freezing blackberries, well, the neighbor cleared the area where I picked the majority of them each year, so whether or not they come back remains to be seen. Fortunately, we always try to harvest more than we need so we still have about 3 gallons left in the freezer from last year.

Some people really don’t get why anyone would spend all the time and energy to grow their own food when you can just pick it up at the grocery store (and what if there is no grocery store?), but they’ve probably never actually tasted home grown fruits and veggies either. Personally, I like knowing where my food came from whenever possible; home grown is cheaper, it’s healthier and it just plain tastes better!  Anyway, all this talk of gardening is motivating me to get out of this chair and get to it!

Happy gardening!

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