I been doing some end-of-the-season shopping and I found some real bargains. I got open pollinated seeds for 1/2 price. I now  have enough seeds to plant for next year even if I bought no more. I made sure to get the basics like corn, beans, squashes, tomatoes, beets, carrots, turnips and peas. I could always forage enough greens to see me through but the root crops are the basis of my storage food as they require no energy to store. I can dehydrate the corn, beans, peas and tomatoes. Squash keeps well at cool room temperature. I did get a lot of other seeds and duplicates of many. I can always give them away if seed is hard to come by next year. I got my order out for my herb garden too. I am planning two gardens. One will be culinary and one medicinal. I want the culinary garden closer to the house but my yard is not really set up for that to be possible without tearing up the flower gardens my husband has spent years developing. 

I am putting a lot of effort into planning our garden. If your garden is a hobby you can afford to wait until the mood strike in the spring to start thinking about it but if you expect it to feed your family the time to plan is now. If you want more space, now is the time to put in some sheet mulch so the soil will be rich and ready for planting. I put down well composted manure, shavings and newspapers or cardboard down. I also poke some hole first with a pitchfork. As the paper and shaving decompose they add organic matter to the soil while killing the grass underneath.

It is not enough to say you want to grow beans. You need to decide which variety based on what you plan to do with them. You also need to be planning meals around what you have preserved and decide which things are winners and which just not worth the effort. We have gone through most of our dilled green beans. Next year, I will do many more. Last year they were not as popular but I switched to a haricot verde variety and everybody loves them.

This is where your notebook comes in handy. You need good records to make decisions. I know. You think you will remember. You won’t.

My greenhouse is very productive right now. We aren’t eating huge salads but we are getting enough greens to top a pizza, add to soups and put on sandwiches. Just sitting out there, in the warm, humid air lets me forget for a minute that winter is just around the corner.

I am increasingly worried about the state of our economy. I fear that many will struggle to put food on the table in the coming months. When you plan your garden, think about how many you will be feeding and add a few rows for your adult children, aging parents and neighbors who might be in need if you can manage it.