Posted in Behind the Scenes, Progress

Rough draft of our garden plans for 2021

If I have learned anything in going on four years of trying my hand at gardening, it’s that it’s not hard for me to come up with plans.  What’s hard is narrowing down those plans to a realistic list. So I’m going to try something new this year, which I hope will help us best whittle down our To Do List—which is still awesome to behold.
[Courtesy Notice: This is one of my long rambles so you might want to grab a beverage/snack beforehand.]

Because I’m an idea person, I will talk about all sorts of notions because in my head, they’re roughly set as to how far in the future they should/might happen.  The trouble is, the longer my list gets, the more confused my partner gets about what needs to happen when; what we decided to push off to another year or drop altogether; and which are the biggest priorities.  That’s caused many a lost in translation issue in the past.

First I broke down the To Do List into the three main groups (Needs/Wants/Greeds), then organized items within each based on time of year and/or what needed to happen before other bits.  Then I chose the top three items per group. I’ve not managed to figure out a better way to name the groups, so they may change when I discuss this draft with him.  He may also have other/better suggestions that tweak things further.

By breaking the long list down into three distinct groups, it gives us more rotation possibilities because of the obvious hierarchy.  If we finish the first three “Needs”, then we can decide if we want to tackle the first “Want” or would rather roll in the next three “Needs” just in case we get a rainy spell or what have you.

It may seem like overkill.  Yet I also like to have hope in my life.  So seeing those other two groups as potential possibilities will help me in particular to not slack off like last year.  This is a concern for me because he is still working six days a week with no sign of that stopping any time soon.  So I’m hoping for the best, but bracing for the worst.  I don’t want a repeat of last year because that left us with much less produce because we barely started a whole lot of things, and only finished a handful.  He has been asking for a stretch of time off for a long while, but it’s still all hands on deck at the post office, so he might not get the time off he wants.  We should know soon.  Hopefully no one will have to go into quarantine/again that he’ll have to cover for.  To be clear—this doesn’t mean if he gets the time off I will immediately commandeer that time entirely for the garden!  He really is beat.  We decided not to start haggling his true “off” time until he gets the green light and told how much they’ll give him.  If it turns out it’s only a day or two I probably will just take a full day off with him if not both.  Otherwise, the entire point of him being off would be lost.  If he gets at least two weeks…then the negotiations start!  *chuckle*

My hope is this will help us prioritize better because as we progress, we can alter/rotate through the three groups along with the weather because some things are best done at specific times.  I honestly think we’ll spend most of the year rotating out and then adding more into the Needs group.  We may touch on some Wants, the last…it’d sure be nice but I’m not holding my breath.  I also hope this will help prevent the usual trying to do too much all at the same time.

Using this method, the list below is what got sorted out from the To Do List which is Awesome to Behold.  After we go over this together, I’ll post the final version to start us off for the year.


  1. The blackberry/former play set corner has grown out of control.  We just can’t put this off anymore, because it is now volunteer central with all sorts of berry and other volunteer plant spread.  Some of the saplings protected within the thorny canes are now taller than us.  We’ve thinned it some each year around the edges, but really only kept up clearing the path to the compost area.  Completing this before other projects will likely make life overall easier this year.  The deadfall alone from two drought years followed by this winter’s vicious winter winds made for tricky path finding around thorny canes to get to the longer intact branches that fell to take them to the wood pile and I never did manage to get it all.  So we need to clear the area where we plan to train the blackberry canes, set the posts and wire, then transplant.
  2. Except when he needs me for that, first I have to clean up in the garage where we didn’t finish reorganizing last autumn to make room for the old wood garage doors we picked up to make an outbuilding when time allows.  I’ll need his help to move the panels themselves because they are large and still have most of their original glass intact.  Once they’re in shelter away from the elements, I’ll start clearing along the west wall of the garage in preparation for setting up the cloche before the tomato starters arrive.
  3. Depending on the progress of the two above, at some point during that we’ll also be starting some seeds indoors.  I’m betting neither will be near done before we have to start in on those.  The areas we’re clearing might not be huge, but there are layers we’ll be digging out by hand or with hand tools through years of thorned creepers and a wall climber we’ve still not been able to ID.  My plan for this year because we still lack a lot of south facing windows is to only water bathe a portion of the ones we need to plant as close to last frost as possible.  Any that sprout, I will egg carton plant and soon after put out in our still quick and dirty cold frames we use.  My thinking is we won’t have as much trouble playing the “harden off” game if we just have to crack the cold frames rather than carry all the cartons in and out.  Prior, we always used to grow any seeds started indoors to seedlings before moving them outside.  I’m only doing some of them in case this goes horribly wrong, but if the Farmer’s Almanac is correct, we should not have May snow this year.  *fingers crossed*


  1. I really, really want the garage bed to be free of the old rotting landscape fabric.  Although we did get some decent cleanup done there and I did manage to finally finish clearing that 3’x6′ patch of the fabric that I worked on a while ago, and we did at least clear brush where we found the Hidden Treasure Trellis last year–that bed overall has been so long neglected that it will take a while to do this.
  2. I want all the safety glass out of the safety glass bed.  We’ve removed a good portion, but ran out of time and haven’t touched back on it since.
  3. I want a proper trellis for my Grandpa Ott morning glories this year.  The Hidden Treasure Trellis was “good enough” for the few I planted last year due to its size, but I spent too much time wending the vines to try to keep it on the trellis and not invading into our neighbor’s property.


  1. Install gutters in the corner where the bulky exit cover meets the house right next to my office window.  The backyard rain barrel will do a much better job if we’re directing the water rather than just randomly catching what falls in that corner. We still get water that way, but the guttering will really help keep splash off our original wood window trim and the windows themselves.
  2. Remove all the day lilies on the east side of the house to make way for a walking path from the side stairs to the front of the house without having to walk down the driveway.
  3. Install at least one decent handrail on the front porch.  Whomever put the current one there did a shoddy job and it wiggled.  I shimmed it, but it literally looks like a “You want a handrail and you have some scrap lumber?  Hold my beer…” Drunken Weasel job.

Care to share thoughts on this?