The wait for spring becomes almost a living thing for those of us in this climate. We dread the return of mud, but the return of green growing things and sunshine is too palatable to really be bothered by mud that much. We’ll complain about the mud, of course, especially when that mud sucks our mud boots right off our feet, or we’re stuck axles deep trying to get to a job site, but we do it under sunny, warm skies, knowing the mud will dry up.

Well, hoping the mud will dry up. Some summers…

Stores are stocking their gardening equipment and seeds, and we are no where near ready to do much of anything with it! 2019 was getting the house in, and thanks to the constant rain, not much else. Our 2020 list is pretty ambitious –

  • Get the chicken yard and shed built, and things like waterers and feeders, etc purchased (and get chicks and/or hens, of course!),
  • Get all the fencing in and shelters built for goats and/or sheep, and buying the first animals
  • Spread the topsoil over the yard, seed the areas that’ll get grass with it and start roughing out walkways and garden spots
  • Build a greenhouse (to be heated) and starting working on what will be in the garden’s soil, into usable dirt
  • lots of small projects for house, yard, and property

Right now, all we are is 160 acres of land with some hay and a house, so there’s lots and lots to do, but we will get some to most of it set up this year. Rain is the largest deciding factor on how much happens.

So the gardening we do will be limited to very small containers. Lettuce, tomatoes, bell peppers, and possibly some snacking cucumbers should all do well on the deck. Maybe some herbs…. Since I’m limited on experience growing this in this climate, I turn to the internet to give me an idea when I should start planting.

We are in planting zone 3b. Which, you know, could be worse. Could be better. Mentally, I still miss living in 8b. I love Alberta, but man, I did love the long growing seasons too! That’s ok though. Starting seeds indoors, a heated greenhouse, row covers, and selecting hardier seeds will help us grow everything we need, that can be grown here.

Farmer’s Almanac has a general planting calendar (Valleyview being the closest location), and it gives some general guidelines for what I want to grow.

  • Bell peppers – start seeds inside at the end of March, transplant end of June
  • Tomatoes – start seeds inside mid-April, transplant mid-June
  • Lettuce – start seeds inside at the end of April, transplant start of June
  • Cucumbers – start seeds inside early May, transplant end of June

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The start dates will be fairly accurate, but the transplant dates will depend on local conditions. For example, cucumbers like warmth, lots of warmth, so putting them outside when it’s still struggling to get to 15°c won’t do either of you any favors. I still have a whole month before I plant anything!

I’m picking up this neat 20 year shelf life survivalist pack for next year. Not all the seeds are suited to this climate, but the Alberta reviews are still good, and with a heated greenhouse, they’ll probably all do well. The “be prepared for anything” part of me loves stuff like this. There’s an heirloom herb kit too.

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