Midwinter Merriment: Break Up Your Garden To-Do List

Here it is – a countdown til spring. From now until the first day of spring, I will post ways to make the dreary days of midwinter a little more merry.

Day 5: Break your garden to-do list into manageable chunks.

I’m a horrible estimator of time. I always think projects are going to be easier or faster to complete than they actually are. I’ve gotten myself in the midst of many a multi-day project that I thought was only going to take a few hours. To combat this shortcoming, I’m trying to divide up the tasks I need to accomplish. For example, instead of trying to build the raised bed, fill it with soil, set up a cloche and sow some seeds all in one laborious day, I’m trying to break those projects into chunks. When I do that, I’ve found that the whole thing becomes more enjoyable, especially the days when planting is my goal.

15_SqFt_PrepThe backyard beds are already cloche-ready, so I needed to get my front yard Giving Garden prepared. Before it was actually time to start sowing spring seeds, I divided my beds into square feet for square foot gardening and set up my cloches. Wine bottles make the perfect little anchors for square foot lines.

15_ClocheFun2Next, I set up the cloche*. It’s actually ideal to set up your cloche ahead of time so that you warm the soil up a bit before sowing your seeds, which will mean you end up with better germination. The wine bottle borders with irregular-shaped sides pose an interesting challenge for setting up a cloche, but not one I can’t handle!

15_ClocheI inserted those 4-foot long plastic coated stakes into the soil, right in the bed, where I wanted one side of the cloche. Then, I slid the PVC pipe over that stake to hold the arc in place. Place the plastic over the arcs, secure in place with cloche clips and let the soil warming begin! I have heard that painting the PVC pipes first prevent a reaction from happening when the PVC and plastic come into contact, which can mean the plastic doesn’t last as long, but I’ve never managed to get that done. Someday…

*A cloche is simply a hoop structure that is covered with plastic and placed over a raised bed. It is used as a season-extender to warm the soil and air around the plants, allowing you to sow seeds earlier than if you were to sow them directly into the ground without protection. It also allows us NW gardeners to grow crops, like tomatoes, that like warmer temperatures.

Day 6: Plant sale time
Day 7: Throw a Pi Party!
Day 8: Celebrate a milestone.
Day 9: Put a little summer on your pancakes.
Day 10: Feed your soil.
Day 11: Chicken gawking.
Day 12: Plant identification with kids.
Day 13: Plant your backyard berry patch.
Day 14: #dirtonmyiPhone
Day 15: Start seeds indoors.
Day 16: Sew a sassy garden tool belt.
Day 17: A class that keeps on giving!
Day 18: Buy yourself some flowers.
Day 19: Go to the park and play!
Day 20: Plant peas (and sign up for my free newsletter!)
Day 21: Take a gardening class.
Day 22:Plant bare root.
Day 23: Sign up for Seattle Seedling’s Spring Fling!
Day 24: Plant primroses.
Day 25: Get yourself a doughnut and make it “for here.”
Day 26: Frequent the Farmers’ Market
Day 27: Eat Root Vegetables Disguised as Cake!
Day 28: Be a Garden Show Goer.
Day 29: Drink more hot chocolate.
Day 30: Create a springtime “advent” calendar.

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