Taking over the blog today is one of my favorite bloggers, Aimee, owner of EcoGrrl. I have had the pleasure of guest blogging and also being interviewed over at EcoGrrl. Aimee writes about a great variety of topics, with my favorite category being her wellness section. Today she is going to share some tips on how to get your mind in the garden, even though we might be snowed in for a couple more months.
So, it’s that often frustrating time of year for us gardeners, where we start suffering from cabin fever. We’re looking out at our dismal garden and craving that wonderful feeling of digging in the dirt, picking veggies, watching the honeybees, and all those other delights that come with gardening.
Having recently returned from a month-long trip to Australia in December, I had the great fortune of eating fresh picked produce, picking olives off trees, and wandering through the wonderful food markets celebrating the season. It made me think, how can I bring some inspiration back home to get me through the gray and the cold and the wet of mid-winter, when I’m stuck inside and dreaming of springtime?
Here are five ideas to get your gardener blood flowing this winter…
1) Graph Paper
Geek out and attempt to map out the basic elements of your property and/or available garden space, so you can figure out what you want to plant where and understand how much space you really have. It’s suggested that you rotate your crops, and so this allows me to figure out how I want to set up each year rather than experimenting. On my standard 50’x100’ city lot, I use one square for one square foot, so I can have my entire front and back and side yards pictured on one page. I recommend making multiple copies of the map, so that you can try out different variations before committing.
2) Research Preservation Websites, Blogs, Books, etc.
Some of my favorite blogs about canning and other forms of food preservation that give me the biggest inspiration include Food in Jars, Small Measure, and of course, this one! And I’m a huge fan of Karen Solomon’s books that provide awesome recipes of everything from homemade crackers to curing meat to ketchup and so much more. Serious yum.
3) Start enjoying your current stored foods and note what worked and what didn’t work.
During the dead of winter, it’s a great time to learn what you are really eating from last year’s preservation efforts and think about what you could be doing with next year’s crop. Maybe it’s not all about jam – maybe it’s pickling, or making sauces, or freezing? I realized that I gave away most of my jam after going gluten free, so this past year I went into savory recipes, from salsas to pickled cherries to tomato jam and more. It made my gardening feel SO much more productive because I was eating more of my harvest!
4) Make a list for 2014’s garden – or go big and create a binder!
I have a binder that acts as my awesome garden planning bible. In it I’m storing informative articles (is anyone out there obsessed with Organic Gardening magazine like me?!) to my graph paper garden maps to recipes for homemade insect pest sprays and natural weed killers to the latest Territorial Seed catalog, it’s my everything-in-one-place reference guide! I love using plastic sleeves to protect everything, and slip in a month-by-month calendar in the cover for easy reference.
5) When all else fails? Fly south…
Hey, sometimes an escape does the trick. Get that nice dose of Vitamin D along with visiting the Southern Hemisphere, where it’s summer right now! I recommend Australia – they grow everything there due to their multiple climates, from kipfler potatoes to mangoes to peppers to lychees and more. Plus they have some awesome community gardens (check out some photos I took at Veg Out)! Grab inspiration in a place where things are growing, try varieties of fruits and veggies you may not ever have the chance to try at home, and remember – when the spring does return? It’ll be winter there!!