New Year, New Gardens — Welcome 2021!

Happy New Year! I’d like to start by saying that I hope you and yours enjoyed a safe a happy holiday. 2020 was challenging, to say the least, but rather than dwell on a year that cannot be changed I prefer to focus on the blank canvas in front of us. Let us create a masterpiece, shall we?

My 2021 gardening season is forecasted to be a roller coaster and I’m going to do my best to throw my hands up and embrace the ride with minimal screaming. In preparation for what we hope to be the purchase of a new home and a move out of our current one, I am doing very little gardening in our backyard with the intention of renting two plots (doubling my square footage) at the local community garden. While I feel very fortunate to have this option available to me, it does come with additional challenges. With 60 plots in close proximity to one another, the spread of disease is rapid and relentless. My cucumbers and tomatoes will be extra challenging this year, but it will be a great learning experience…right?

We also have a 17-year brood of cicadas to consider. So, no sunflowers (soul crushing) or any other flowers that have exposed stems larger than 1 inch in diameter. To keep the bees happy I will plant borage and I plan to include Candy Cane Mix zinnias for a pop of color; another pollinator favorite. Additionally, I will be minimizing my pepper plant count because they typically end up with a 1-2 inch woody stem that would likely be an appealing target. Needless to say, I have a lot of planning to do and I’m going to have to be diligent if I intend to maximize the potential of my growing spaces with minimal cicada disruption.

All that in mind, I have begun the process. Shortly before Christmas I planted a couple herbs in my greenhouse and after the hustle and bustle of the big day I sowed three types of onion seeds. Now that the New Year is upon us, I have added a couple more herbs and Prosperosa eggplants to the list. Next, I’ll start bunching onions in two intervals, to lengthen my harvest window, as well as peppers and tomatoes. All of my seeds have been started in Jiffy pellets on heating mats supplemented with red and blue grow lights. If you’re working with grow lights for the first time, I’ve outlined some helpful tips for getting started here.

Warm weather will be here before we know it and I am looking forward to fresh air and the smell of rich soil. Have you gotten a head start on your 2021 garden? What are you growing this year? What challenges are you expecting? I’d love to hear what you have planned in the comments below. Cheers, friends!

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