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Planning Ahead in the Garden

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This time of year, the last thing most of us are thinking about is next year’s garden.  This is the time to savor the fruit (and vegetables) of our labor and Spring seems a long way away.

But, this is the perfect time to do a little planning for next year.

Since I am cooking, eating and canning from my garden, I took some time today to decide on a few changes for next year’s garden while the ideas are fresh in my mind.  I have a spiral notebook that I use as a garden journal.  I have also seen lovely ones like P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home Journal.  But whether you have a special book, or something simple, a garden journal is a great way to keep track of your ideas.

For instance, I definitely didn’t plant enough Roma tomatoes this year.  I planted 12 tomato plants in all, and among them are 2 Roma’s.  But with homemade salsa, marinara, bruschetta, Eggplant Parmesan and canning… I’ve been running out of Roma tomatoes all year.  “Plant 4 Roma tomatoes next year” is written in my journal.

I also wish I had planted more hot peppers and more basil.

And I didn’t like the cucumber I planted this year… it was an English cucumber, but it has had a tendency to go bitter.  Next year I need to do more checking on the variety.

Next year I need less zucchini!

I also want to make sure I plant one grape tomato plant.  This year I planted a Super Sweet One Hundred, which I thought was a grape tomato, but was a cherry.  I just like the Grape tomatoes better.

And I really want to plant a red currant shrub this next year in my own garden, because it is my new favorite jelly.

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I have cedar garden boxes.  So I am writing down which boxes I planted with what, so I can make sure to rotate my crops.  In the Spring, I will be scratching my head trying to remember which boxes had tomatoes in them last year.  Well actually I won’t be scratching my head, because I am taking the time to write it down now…

I am also making plans for how to build better trellis’ for my peas next Spring.  Right now I have concrete mesh held up with the large green metal stakes.  I would love to build something more permanent and good looking.

So you see, September is not too early to start thinking about next year.  And keeping a garden journal is a great way to keep track of all your ideas.

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