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It's Never Too Late or Too Early to Create a Plan

Hello and Happy July. It seems like the month is flying on by and we have been so busy we haven't realized that July has just about come and gone. A few weeks ago my beautiful grandmother, known by many as “Mammie” went to spend her eternity with her creator. So we traveled up north at the beginning of the month to my hometown of Newport News, VA for the funeral and we ended up visiting some other family and made a nice trip out of it based on the circumstances. When we returned from our trip, there was a lot of catch up to do around the homestead.

The gardens, the forest, and the landscape are in a continual state of development. The gardens and guilds that hold our primary family gardens are in a maintenance phase which needs a couple of hours a week for harvesting, weeding, and pulling out spent plants. On the other hand, I have other areas that are being prepped for garden beds for fall plantings by rotating the egg layers in a chicken tractor processing the cover crop that we planted in those areas a couple months back. Then I have areas in constant observation to see if or when I will expand the gardens to those places around the property. It made me start thinking quite a bit about all the time I spend planning. A lot of the time this planning is pretty informal, but it is constantly happening in my head. When you become a land or animal steward, your skills start to develop after you gain experience, not book experience, but hands-on, in the field experience. Your mind will start to strategically plan and envision different gardening scenarios, animal rotation plans, or any other aspects that contribute to a regenerative and resilient system.

If you intend to plant a fall garden in your area, there is no better time than now to create your plan. Start with deciding what you want to grow, then order the seeds. In the meantime, while you are waiting for your seeds, you can start to prepare your growing spaces and get your soil ready and primed for growing nutrient dense vegetables. It's easy to get overwhelmed in the garden quickly after all your seeds have germinated and you have to transplant them to the beds. Try to set yourself up for success and don't overload yourself, your time, and your gardens with too much this upcoming season. It is super easy to get overwhelmed, more planning and preparation will avert the extra stress.

For the newbies getting into gardening: Read some books, talk to some like minded farmers, and try to do the leg work and self education before you get your hands in the dirt. I am a visual and hands-on learner so books only do so much for me. If you are like me then you can look for volunteer opportunities, part time internships, or check out other programs like WWOOF (Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms) where you can stay onsite at different farms for another type of immersion experience. Either way, doing your research and education will keep you from making mistakes and wasting time and money. One of my favorite holistic gardeners is Jim Kovaleski and he has an online gardening masterclass available to purchase and it is worth every penny. Read a variety of garden authors and adapt different methods, not one person has the answer, I don't care who they are and how much money they have. I like to pick out things that other farmers and gardeners practice that will fit best into my system.

If you are like me and are constantly thinking and strategizing your landscape, gardens and homesteads, I would like to share a couple things to leave you with that I practice on a regular basis that keeps my goals moving in a positive direction. I keep a journal, actually two, one for my personal saga and one for my design projects and garden notes. I also write down my schedule weekly so I have clear picture of what each week generally looks like. These things alone keep my plans and goals moving in a positive direction and help keep order in my mind, my life, and most importantly in collaboration with my family. If you have any questions or need assistance with any planning or gardening goals, feel free to drop us a line at support@southernedgeagroforestry.com.

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