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My Garden Goals for 2017

January is the month where I spend the most time in my garden, pruning, tidying, and planting. I'm outside working for several hours almost every day.

I have some goals I'd like to achieve in the garden this year, and a lot of those will come from good planning and preparation done this month. This year, I want the garden to be both more productive and more beautiful. Here's how I plan to make that happen:

Pea Seedlings The Prudent Homemaker

Snow Pea Seedlings; these are the 30 day "Little Snowpea White" that I also grew last year; I love the short time to harvest!

 

More Productive:

 

1. Bring in new dirt to the garden. This will refresh the area and also fill in where the garden soil has settled over the years. 

2. Fertilize more often. Fruit trees should be fertilized here 3 times a year (February, May, and September), and roses every few weeks. I generally only fertilize my fruit trees once a year (I never get around to the other two times) and roses once in a while.

3. Plant more often. I want to make sure to do lots of succession planting (where I plant again every few weeks), especially with lettuce.

4. Plant earlier. I want to plant more before the heat sets in. Our last frost date is February 15th, which means warm-season crops can go in the ground then.

5. Add new plants. Last year I added 2 more pomegranate trees (in pots), a mandarin tree (in a pot), male and female pistachio trees, and 2 new blackberry bushes. This year I want to add at least 5 more blackberry bushes (and if I can figure out a way to add more trees, I'll do that too!). 

6. Make the shady areas more productive by planting more of what works well in the shade in these areas. This includes Swiss chard, New Zealand spinach, parsley, and Vesca (Alpine) strawberries.

7. Plant more squash.

8. Spray more often. I lost part of my grape crop last year to powdery mildew (and almost lost all of it). I will spray neem oil a couple of times before the leaves come out in March/April, and again in April or May if needed.

9. Bag grapes in paper lunch bags (stapled on) to keep the birds from eating the grapes.

10. Plant more snow peas, Armenian cucumbers, and red noodle beans. To do this, I am unrolling some homemade tomato cages (made from 6-inch concrete mesh) and using stakes that I already have to use the flat mesh as a trellis (pictured above).

11. Plant more chives and green onions from seed. 

12. Plant more artichokes.

January Sundial The Prudent Homemaker Four of the new rose bushes surrounded by flowering cabbage

 

More beautiful:

Last year I added 14 new rose bushes to the garden in back. Five of these did not make it; the company will be sending me replacements in February. The plants are small to start, but the ones that I planted last year should start flowering this year.

I planted a few hundred flower bulbs over the last few weeks, and I've still got more to plant. I'll be planting those this year.

 

1. Plant 250 daffodil bulbs in the garden (hopefully all this week if I can).

2. Plant small hedges along the walkway in the white garden. 

3. Dig 6 large bushes from the white garden (from the planting areas along the walkway, seen in the photo below) and transplant them into pots on the back patio. I have been growing these for 3 years and pruning them to become spheres. By the end of this year, there is a good chance they will have reached the size and shape I've been planning.

4. Plant another hedge in the garden in back. I'm going slow on this and using cuttings from existing bushes to grow the hedge. It will take many more years to grow it this way, but it doesn't cost me any money to do it like this.

5. Plant nasturtium seeds in all of the potted fruit trees on the patio. The seeds are ones we collected from the garden last year.

6. Plant rows of flower seeds in between the vegetables.

7. Resod and reseed grass in areas where we lost grass last year (we had some larger areas die due to broken sprinkler issues, as well as some of the normal loss due to grubs, for which we always reseed in spring).

8. Purchase a new edger and learn how to use it. I'd like to have sharp edges on the grass around the beds this year.

9. Prune hedges 4 times a year to keep them looking good.

January Walkway Planter The Prudent Homemaker

The start of changes to the front walkway: I just planted daffodils in this bed last week as well as these pansies. The large bushes will be transplanted into pots in the backyard and will hopefully finish growing into the sphere shapes I have always planned for them to be (but now they'll do so in the backyard). I'll surround each of these 4 planters by the walkway with smaller box leaf euonymus hedges; I've put in 2 small ones already at the top of this planter (near the other large bush in the planter) and I am waiting for the nursery to have more for sale over the next few months. The bed is soaked from a wonderful rain we had a few days ago; this bed is in full shade all day and will be for the next couple of months.

 

The local nursery will be having many sales over the next four months, and they'll have coupons too, so I will look for sales on the blackberries and box leaf euonymus as well as coupons to make those sales even better deals.

We're enjoying temperatures in the 50's and 60's this week; a frost is possible this month and we'll likely get at least one night of it sometime later this month, but for the most part, it's spring-like weather with lots to do!

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Tagged in: Goals The Garden

Comments

  • I love those rain gutter gardens! They are so interesting! And a great idea for apartments, too! I've seen strawberries in them too.

  • SJ in Vancouver BC January 05, 2017

    Great idea about the strawberries. Thanks

  • Jo January 04, 2017

    Your garden plans are so ambitious! I hope every bit of it grows well for you. I feel like a slug in comparison, but I work over 40 hours a week outside the home and I'm a good bit older, so the slowing down had to happen sometime, I guess. But I plan to keep growing some of our food every year. We started blackberries last year and hope for good results there. We lost our entire grape crop to raccoons and opossums - again.
    Brandy, have you looked at what ornamentals could be air-layered? If there are any plants that grow in your area that can be layered easily, you would only have to buy one or maybe two and could start propagating your own at next to no cost. Your extension agent can help you there. My husband air-layered oak leaf hydrangeas and fig trees are fabulous for air layering He also grew loquat trees from seeds and got some nice strong young trees. He sells or gives his away, but he's had pretty good luck in getting it to work. His mother was well-known for getting a cutting (or just snapping off a piece) and getting it to grow somehow into a mature plant -- she had a green thumb I lack. We have taken cuttings from an heirloom rose that was his grandmother's and made multiple plants off of it, but of course, that doesn't work on grafted plants.
    Good luck on your plans!

  • Mable January 04, 2017

    Brandy, are the little snow pea white a shelling pea or a pea pod? I looked them up but even at the Territorial Seed Company site I could not figure it out from the description. Thanks for any help.

  • They're snow peas (edible pods with peas inside). They have a purple one too, but it's almost twice as long to maturity: http://www.territorialseed.com/category/snow_peas_seed

  • Terry January 04, 2017

    Brandy, I watched this show this afternoon on our local PBS channel and thought you might enjoy it. This episode is about growing an edible garden. I don't know if you know of Graham Kerr but I used to watch his show when I was a teenager. His recipes are wonderful and he is quite entertaining!

    http://www.growingagreenerworld.com/episode216/

  • momsav January 04, 2017

    You have such a green thumb and endless knowledge!
    I'd like to have a raised bed here but i don't think my husband will go for it. Our yard is very small. The front door is nine feet from the sidewalk. Behind our house is the neighbors garage. Our 'yard' is to the side. We have several dwarf fruit trees, a shed and a medium flower/herb garden. I'd like to plant a dwarf peach. I pulled the cherry that didn't do well enough to suit me. (My husband is onboard for the peach tree.) I do have a very small garden area that butts up against the shed. It gets a lot of sun and the shed cuts the North wind. I planted potatoes and shallots there last year. Neither did great; the shallots were better than the potatoes. I think i got about six and they weren't much bigger than when i planted them. I'm thinking i may just sit this year out, except for the peach tree, and just think about things. I love working in the garden but not getting a decent crop is not working for me. (Although, i did get great apples for the first time. And, the wild blueberries were phenomenal!!!) The plums were meh...

  • Becky January 04, 2017

    I have quite a few garden goals for 2017 as well. Because I am living in a new house, I am going to work with the existing garden area that is here, and the landscaping, which is well-established.

    There are 2 blueberry bushes. I pruned them lightly, will fertilize, and hopefully get a crop.

    There are a few strawberry plants along the shop. They are patchy and 1/2 dead and the dirt is sunken. I plan to buy another batch of berry plants, some more dirt--plant, fertilize, then hopefully eat strawberries!

    There is a rhubarb and a chive bush.

    The raspberries I planted will hopefully grow. We transplanted the Marion berries and left some everbearing raspberries where they were.

    There is an apple, pear and peach tree. I have no idea if they will do anything, but time will tell.

    I plan to plant some things on trellises because this garden is much smaller than my last one. I also may utilize the flowerbeds if I need to. I will probably need to plant corn for freezing at my sister's farm. I am still working on formulating my exact plan of which varieties I will plant, and where. It's still a work in progress. Thankfully, I still have several weeks before I need to or even can plant anything.

  • SJ in Vancouver BC January 05, 2017

    When I inherited my community garden, about 1/3 of the space was planted in strawberries. However, they had been quite neglected. I carefully dug out each plant. Then, I turned over the soil and added compost. Then replanted the strawberries. I had a bumper crop.
    I also love strawberries because they will self propagate if you let them. That's what I did last summer. I let some of the plants' runners go and establish new plants. Long way to say that if you're patient, you wouldn't have to buy more plants.

  • Cindy in the South January 05, 2017

    After horrendous rainstorms, my entire back yard was under water earlier this week, as well as a large portion of my front yard. My backyard is shaded year around, except for the drainage ditch. I have determined it I am going to have a garden of any sort it will have to be in the small portion of the front yard that gets sun. I think I have good soil, it just stays soggy......lol. I could do raised beds in the front, I believe. That is my goal.

  • Sharla Middleton January 05, 2017

    You mentioned wanting to plant more blackberry bushes. I've had blackberry bushes for a few years and noticed that any of the canes that touch the ground have rooted themselves. I've just cut them apart from the main plant and they've done well. In fact last year I cut the canes short in preparation for fall. But life happened and the cut canes were left lying on the ground for a week until I had to move them so my husband could mow the lawn. I noticed that about a 1/3 of the canes on the bottom of the pile had rooted themselves in a week's time. I just dug them up and moved them to the garden where they survived and grew quite a bit this summer. New bushes for free!

  • Cindi January 06, 2017

    I went through all my seeds yesterday and decided what I need to order to fill in gaps. I'm also deciding where to plant what. I have two raised beds and a greenhouse -- I'm still learning what does best in the best and what I should grown in the greenhouse. The garden didn't do very well last year, but I am hoping for better results this year.

  • LB January 07, 2017

    No garden plans this year.....no yard since moving into an apartment. However, I think I might do some herbs and maybe a small tomato plant on the balcony. I guess I could do some lettuce...hmmm. Maybe I will. I think my daughter wants to start gardening, so maybe I'll help her get one started at her new place. I am hoping to frequent the many farmer's markets in the area though.

  • Melissa V January 07, 2017

    I have started my seed lists - in fact my Pinetree garden catalog is looking a little tattered from being brought to all of hubby's doc appointment - it also has lots of circles and stars in it :D It will be three months though before I can even really begin to think of gardening outside again.
    I will only be focusing on planting beans, lettuces, carrots, potatoes, squash and cukes. We will be spending alot of time at our new little lot up North and we are beginning the process of figuring out what we need to do to sell our current home to get out from under a mortgage. I don't want to plant anything more permanent that I cannot take with me. I may plant some dwarf fruit trees in very large containers if I do buy any - that way I will be able to move them even if I have to dump out the soil to do so.

  • Athanasia January 10, 2017

    My gardening plans are simple. My oldest girl does most of the planning since she and her family moved back 4years ago. That is her interest and education...agricultural and animal science. She plans, orders seed, start seedlings, transplants, saves seeds, uses a mix of standards and heirlooms. With help from my husband, her husband and our youngest daughter they plant, weed and harvest. This year our tenants are fitting into the equation as they want to garden too. The have worked out with her labor in exchange for produce so they don't need to plant their own separate garden. I have my patio garden of raised beds and pots that I can access easily. My main job of course is dealing with the combined harvest...canning, freezing and drying. Our goal is always to grow everything we possibly can for fresh eating and to last us though to the next growing season.

  • Kristi Novac January 18, 2017

    Hi, Brandy! I love your blog and benefit so much from your knowledge. Thank you for sharing so much with us. I have a question: like you, we live in an arid climate (the Phoenix area). We are trying to establish a garden, but have awful problems with invading Bermuda grass. Do you have that problem as well? If so, how do you manage the grass and keep it from invading your garden areas? We actually had to give up on our in-ground garden because the Bermuda took it over and we had to kill it all. :( I would so appreciate any insights you can offer to help with this problem!

  • Kristi,

    Grass does not naturally grow here. If someone has planted bermuda grass, then you can have a problem. That said, I did end up with a bit of an invasive grass problem, thanks to some still-fresh local manure (I won't go that route again!) and I've been battling it for 10 years without getting rid of it. Vinegar might work, but I don't know about eradicating it completely. I just have to keep on top of it. I have rid some areas that got it; you have to get every single lit bit out of the ground. It's a lot of work and best done when it's dormant.

  • Sue January 25, 2017

    Brandy, can you tell me the name of that white-bleached tree in the corner of your yard? The one in the second photo, with the armillary? Thanks!

  • Sure Sue! That is a Mission Fig tree. It will leaf out in April. It's a great shade tree for the desert, fruits twice a year!, and has fairly soft branches, which make it easy to prune.

  • Alison September 28, 2017

    Brandy, you might try to propagate the Euonymus bushes just cut 10 12 inch pieces, strip lower leaves and stick in the ground. or a pot or a jar with water. My mother created complete hedges this way, lol.

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