Start Growing!


I’m ready to start sowing in my basement light setup. I checked it and everything still works. I just received the first batch of seeds from Fedco. We also found a great deal for a 4-flat heat mat with thermostat, so jumped on it – and that has arrived as well. I bought my seedling starter (I splurged on a huge bag of Country Cottage Seed Starter). So here’s the plan for this weekend:

INDOORS: start seedlings in basement

  1. short term seedlings destined for cold frames: lettuce, mache, chard, spinach, some brassicas
  2. long term growers: onions, celeriac, many herbs

I also need to figure out how to make seedling flats. I don’t feel like using those plastic plugs anymore (except for those seedlings that really enjoy their own space). I’ve saved up a lot of plastic containers, but I am thinking I might build some flats out of scrap wood, maybe making them so I can easily remove the sides when it’s transplanting time…

OUTDOORS: prepare Spring Garden

The weather is cold (28F max) and gray, but there’s no snow or rain. I’m wrapping up to do some outdoor work as well. Here’s a map (made with Plangarden) of the early spring garden (click on it for a slightly larger image):


  1. plant carrots and most hardy lettuces in beds 10 and 15 inside hoop house (indicated by red crosses)
  2. start fitting and making extra box plus windows for on top of beds 3, 5 and 10 (circled in frosty blue)
  3. put black plastic on beds 8, 12, and the one in front of the house, to start warming the soil (circled in camo green)
  4. clear and check ground that will become bed 11 (circled in brown): this is located inside the hoop house so the soil might not be frozen, in which case I could start digging on one side – the compost bin is standing in that spot, but I doubt I’ll get to that side

I also want to walk the property and take some serious measurements so I can start placing the pond, the channel that will take the rainwater runoff from our roof there, the chicken coop, the studio, the beehive, and take some decisions about potentially getting some more trees removed.


In the image, hardy crops that will be ready for harvesting when most Summer crops go in are in in bright blue (after last year’s bolting incident, I’m planning on freezing a lot of spinach this time!). Crops in darker blue are already in there (mostly overwintered in the hoop house). Crops in light green go in early as well (favas, peas and carrots), but they will stay in throughout the summer. Crops in pink are also longer term (brassicas) or succession crops (more lettuce, etc.), but their beds aren’t ready yet.

I have two of these maps: one for Early Spring, one for Late Spring/Summer, each with most of the crops I want to grow fitted in. I’d love to show them, but I need to find a better platform to show them along with my spreadsheet.

Join the Conversation


  1. I absolutely love the color coding on the graph paper. I’m working this ours out on graph paper too, so maybe I need to color code mine too! I confess I’m not as organized as you though. Hopefully I’ll get it together once my seeds arrive!

  2. Hi Leigh,
    I make these graphs with an online-based program called, not on paper. I’d hate having to erase all the time. Before I found this program I wasn’t as organized either!

  3. How do you like plangarden? I tried it, but, it seemed a little incomplete and was a bit tedious to use. I’m curious what your experience has been. BTW I’ve been following your blog and you have a lot of nice posts. From the design it looks like you have a pretty big garden.

    Happy gardening,

  4. Hi Chris,
    Thank you!
    I like Plangarden but I understand your frustrations. It is a bit clunky and limited (not enough vegetable choices, and herbs are all “herb”) and some features need more tweaking (being able to rename garden plans, for instance). Still, it’s the better one of the ones I tried, and what it can’t do I make up with colors and excel sheets, etc. To be honest I don’t even use half of the features it offers yet.
    I just sowed the first seeds in my basement. Lovely!

  5. That’s cool. I can see the value in using it, because I am costantly changing my garden around that I wouldn’t want to keep updating a drawing.

    Yes, I’ve been following your blog and I’ve read how you bought so many seeds :-) … I did the same this year … way more than I probably have room for … but, I love variety. My wife said I am cut off for this year … the cool thing about having a large variety of seeds is that they’ll last for a few years.

    I’m following several gardening blogs and I am learning a lot. This will be my second year gardening. I’m really loving it.


  6. I agree that Plangarden needs more vegetables to choose from. That is coming very soon with a ton of new icons.

    BTW. If you go to “Options -> Preferences” you can change your garden name.


  7. Hi Plangarden,
    we’re looking forward to those new vegetables. Herbs too, perhaps?
    I did rename my garden, thanks to your tip. Lovely, now I have a Spring and a Summer Garden!

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