Sunday, January 31, 2016

January - planning the garden

This years garden seed project
photo by Fern Louise

It is now the end of January.
This month has been one of setting plans in motion and getting at least a few ducks in a row!

Our winter here in Montana, has been quite unusual. While the rest of the state has been enjoying regular snowfalls, our little town seems to have been left out. It's been warmer than normal, and most of our snow from December, as steadily melted into slush, only to freeze at night, leaving a treacherous ice in its wake. This makes walking a challenge.

While the days have been grey, we have been busy planning away. January is the month of planning out the garden, pouring through seed catalogues and deciding what we would like to grow.  this year, we did all of our ordering through Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. They have a huge catalogue filled with vegetables, flowers, fruit and herb varieties. I have used their seeds many times in the past and have found the seeds to be of good quality, high germination rates and good producers. The owners of this company have their hearts in the right place, sourcing heirloom seeds that are sustainable and non-GMO. On their website, one thing that I really like, is that customers are able to write a review about the seeds they used, giving future customers further insights on what to expect. There are many different organizations out there that also come highly recommended for their seeds.  I found this helpful website Weed 'em & Reap who has done an excellent job sourcing a handful of the larger seed companies offering non-GMO, heirloom, organic (etc) seeds. Do you have a particular seed company that you prefer to use?

Now that our seeds have arrived, we are faced with the big hurdle in our garden. WATER. We are going to have to drill a well, but what is the most efficient pumping situation?  This has been the topic of conversation for weeks now, and while there is an array of possibilities to choose one, it is challenging to narrow down what would be the most efficient and cost effective for our needs.
The things to consider are:
- Can the system sustain itself if we go away for a weekend?
- Can the system be user friendly if someone else were to help out?
- Is there a way of creating a system that will not break the bank?
-Is there a solid alternative that would not require electricity?

Because we both work full-time, an ideal situation would be a system that does not require us to be at the land everyday (the land is 4 miles out of town, which is not far, but is a time commitment). An electric pump seems to be the best way to go, though that will also be an expensive route as well, between the initial set-up and then the monthly charges.

We've got plenty of time, as the well can't be drilled until late-spring so stay tuned to that development as it unfolds.

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