So far this is the 5th coldest and snowiest winter on record in the United States.  There hasn’t been a state in the continental US that’s been spared the fearsome power that is the winter storm complete with ice – even in Florida!  Here in Northwest Ohio we got buried again this week.  For our little family it kind of turned out to be a good thing for a couple of reasons.  We had planned a mini vacation to take our kids with another family to an indoor water park for this week on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.  Sunday I got sick.  Really sick.  It had me really worried how I was going to manage getting everyone and everything ready for a trip when I felt like I’d been hit by a truck.  My husband was sure I’d be fine by the time we were ready to leave, but what about everyone else?  What if they got sick?

Thankfully, my brother-in-law called my husband on Monday concerned about the weather.  He didn’t want to risk his family on the road.  I couldn’t really blame him.  We had to cancel before noon or we’d have to forfeit the entire value of the trip instead of just the $25 penalty.  It was a real bummer that we’d lose out on the great deal we found, but even if the weather didn’t ruin things the fact that I was sick and got my husband sick would have. He spent the day Wednesday sick with fever and chills (the day we would have had to leave).  I ran a fever of 102 until early on Thursday morning.  Today was the first day since Sunday my temperature was under 99.  I need spring.

I’m all for digging for exercise but this is ridiculous (especially when you’re running a fever). I’d much rather dig in the garden come spring.

While I’m looking forward to clear roads, warmer days and a lot more green I’m not just dreaming I’m actively planning.  To keep myself from going nuts thinking about how long it’s going to be before I can get outside in the garden I’m always planning projects, layouts, decorations, new crops, wants and must haves.  Seeing all the neat and crazy projects people have made over the years for their gardens on the internet is enough to spend a lifetime on – so be careful :P.  Believe it or not these snowy cold days are perfect for wintersowing.  In years that we had little to no snowfall my wintersowing failed miserably.   I’ve been saving my milk jugs and preparing my seeds so that when I feel a little better I can go bury the little wintersowing greenhouses in the snow.   Plants like tomatoes, cosmos, and borage do well like this.  If I can keep my gardening “junk” outside of the house that keeps my husband happy.

This year I’d like to more actively introduce beneficial insects and creatures to the garden.  By adding a bee habitat you increase the health and fertility of your garden.  To improve the texture and richness of your soil add red worms and a place for them to come to feed.  Red worms or manure worms are great composters.  As long as they have a steady supply of food they have no reason to leave your garden, plus they don’t bother living plants.  For fun and for some insect removal benefits you could consider adding a few small bird houses to your garden.  Watching the little birds like finches and even sparrows dart between the tomato plants picking off insects is very entertaining.

All my garden beds are raised beds and I’d like very much to upgrade them this year.  My plan is to use untreated lumber to make taller, longer and slightly narrower beds.  Currently they are 4 x 8 but I noticed I find myself struggling a little bit at harvest time to reach some of the fruits that form near the middle of the garden.   I’d like to make 3 x 12 x 12 beds to accommodate all the crops I have planned for this years square foot gardening plan.  If you don’t have that much room or experience with gardening I saw something the other day called an UrbMat that includes irrigation, seeds, and a weed barrier cloth labeled with an ideal layout.  It’s geared toward the urban gardener, but I wouldn’t be above using that for my kids garden.

Have you started making plans for your spring garden?