One way to guard against the winter blues is to order garden seed catalogs early and start preparation plans for the garden. Leafing through colorful catalog photos guards against those dreaded moments of winter doldrums. Gardening ideas begin to percolate, too.
The winter months are also a good time to find a complementary calendar that displays the quarters of the moon. Below is an outline of how to take advantage of the moon’s phases.
I also like to make drawings of my garden plans. These are casual. No one needs to be a Rembrandt for this endeavor.
Because rotating the locations of standard plantings is important for disease prevention, the drawing plan suits two purposes. After the garden is planted, I save the drawing for next year’s reference, rather than trusting it to memory. This way I can be sure that I’m rotating each crop to a new place.
Before you know it, the greenhouses will be opening up and spring will be in full motion.
Some tips for transplanting from nursery stock are as follows:
1.) Once the flats of new plant babies arrive at your home, they need to go into the garden right away. The soil they have been living in is probably depleted, and leaving them around even for two or three days can be traumatic.
2.) I always check the moonsign to ensure optimum growth.
a.) first quarter of the moon is best for above ground plants
b.) second quarter continues to be good planting.
c.) full moon is not a good time for activities in the garden.
d.) last quarter accommodates root crops like carrots or beets
3.) Soak the flats in water for a while first. This gets the roots loose and ranging around nicely. I don’t go with the recommendations of scraping or digging into the roots for loosening up the root ball. Salty fingers and scraping on delicate roots seems all wrong.
4.) A mild solution of liquid fertilizer strengthens the nursery starts and bolsters them up for growing in the new garden location. First loosen the soil where the planting will take place. Dig the hole and add lots of the diluted fertilizer before putting the starts into the ground. Replace the dirt, gently pat down, and soak the area again once in the ground. Water them every day for a couple of weeks.
5.) While in this process, always say god bless you when moving the plant babies into the ground. I shared this transplanting ritual with my Catholic girlfriend who changed it into a chant . . . .godblessyou godblessyou godblessyou.
When it’s harvest time, your plant babies will be grown up and ready to return your blessing with the bounty of flowers and/or vegetable produce from your very own garden.