Even though it’s still January..well, almost February to be fair, and it’s hard to imagine warmer days will ever be in our near future, we’re really only 7 1/2 weeks away from Spring. Wether you have a large market garden, or a tiny one on the balcony of your apartment, planning ahead for the growing season will save you mountains of stress.
I find this time of the year most frustrating because I have so many plans that can’t be executed until the weather warms, so instead I must sit by the fire and dream. But when April arrives, watch out! It’s like a flood gate of work opens, and without careful planning it’s easy for those plans and dreams to get washed away in the gazillion tasks that need to be done.
Almost every year I say I’m going to be more organized. Better prepared. It’s yet to happen like that. But this is my year. Through this blog, I’ve been introduced to so many incredible planning tools that make life so much smoother.
Plan To Eat is one of my favorites. After having used it for a couple weeks, I was amazed at how my stress level was reduced. To be honest I didn’t even realize my lack of meal planning caused me stress, but being able to look on the fridge and see my plan for the whole week made me feel like a weight had been lifted. I no longer have to struggle to come up with some semblance of a balanced meal 3 times daily. I am able to see what needs to be taken out of the fridge, and what could be prepared ahead of time while Little Farmer is having his nap. This will be so incredibly useful come spring, as it will take one more thing off my mind. Also worth mentioning is the amount of money I saved by having a clear, concise shopping list (generated by the program), instead of running to the local grocery store 3 times a week where things are far more expensive. I am able to get everything I need at once from the discount grocery store in the city. If you are discouraged by the membership price (which I think is only $20 or $30), deduct it from your grocery budget, because you’ll save at least that in if not one, maybe two trips to the store.
Mother Earth News Garden Planner might be my biggest life saver when it comes to reaching my goals outside. I’ve been able to plan my garden down to the last bean, with all the correct planting dates (indoors and out) harvesting dates, and complete inforation about companion planting is listed beside each vegetable, along with soil preference, sun requirements, and common problems (and solutions). I will actually get an email notification as it comes time to begin each new task (starting, planting , harvesting, ect.) After thoroughly perusing my seed catalogues and deciding on which variety’s to plant this year, I’m also able to input specific directions for each variety into the information section of the garden planner. It’s truly brilliant. It’s even useful for planning my medicinal herb garden, because although it doesn’t list things like horehound, you can enter it as “herb” and then input the name and details yourself.
31 Days to Clean will prevent my house from imploding this year. I found this eBook extremely effective in helping me realize why it’s important to me to have a clean house. Sarah Mae digs deeper than “just because you should”. I plan on having an enourmous yard sale the first decent day this spring to reduce all those things that I no longer want or need, but could never bring myself to throw away. This will also help bring some money that could be spent on something I do need, like a new vaccuum or better fencing for the animals.
ListPlanIt is also something I found through Sarah Mae, and for a small membership fee, it gives you access to hundreds of lists. This winter I have discovered the importance of lists and routine. I must make it clear, I am not a clean organized person by nature. It takes an extreme amount of pushing and perseverance for me to maintain any semblance of order. But with lists, clear concise jobs to do, I manage much better.
I have a vision in my head of a productive summer, where my gardens are well kept, my vegetable garden thrives, I put away and preserve enough food for our family to last us until 2013, our sweet corn and egg business is successful, and our animals are all healthy happy and productive. And most of all, I dream of helping Farmer in Training explore and learn all about life on our farm, and grow closer to God. This will be the year that I’m organized and prepared for success!
-Featured on Barn Hop #47