Inspiration for the 2016 Garden

After last year’s major gardening slump, I was in need of some inspiration to get me revved up again. And boy, did I find it. A handful of blogs and books have me excited about gardening again, and have convinced me to think about vegetable planting in a whole new way.

First, two blogs that have been particularly inspiring to me this year:

Logo for Living HomegrownLiving Homegrown: Written by Theresa Loe, who is also an executive producer of PBS’ Growing a Greener World, this blog is packed with great content on gardening and canning, another love of mine. This winter, Living Homegrown introduced me to the term “foodscaping” (see more below), which has me totally re-envisioning my garden. There is also a wonderful weekly Living Homegrown podcast that I recommend checking out.

Favorite posts:
Why You Should Rethink Food Growing
Ten Show-Stopping Edibles
8 Delicious Ways to Use Up Leftover Preserves

Logo for NW Edible LifeNorthwest Edible Life: Erica’s blog is full of no-nonsense advice no matter what level of “homesteading” you embrace. I love her tips on vegetable gardening, and she also has plenty of recipes, food preserving advice, and even how-to posts on topics like making your own soap and home-brewing. Both Theresa and Erica have given me serious chicken envy, too. I’m not quite ready for my own coop, but I love vicariously experiencing theirs.

Favorite posts:
Lawn to Garden in a Single Weekend
How to Make Succession Planting and Year-Round Gardening Really Work
Which Seed-Starting Supplies Are Worth It? And Which Aren’t?

A1F8vI99cmLNext, the books. A post on Living Homegrown (I think) led me to the work of Rosalind Creasy. Creasy is a pioneer in edible landscaping, or what has popularly been termed “foodscaping.” I picked up her book “Edible Landscaping” during the depths of winter when I was most in need of encouragement, and it is full of envious landscapes. The idea behind foodscaping is to grow edible plants as if they were ornamentals, taking factors such as plant shape and size, texture, foliage color, and blooms into consideration. Rather than utilitarian rows, you end up with a cottage-style garden that is both productive and beautiful! Edible Landscaping even includes photos of the experimental foodscapes that Creasy has planted in her own front yard over the years. As I tackle arranging edibles in my expanded backyard veggie beds, I’ll be turning to these inspirational images again and again.

The cover of "The Bountiful Container"I actually purchased a copy of McGee and Stuckey’s Bountiful Container a few years ago. It’s packed with useful information, and when I first bought it, I was a little overwhelmed by everything there was to learn. But when I picked it back up this winter while planning the 2016 garden, I was motivated anew to try some of the authors’ tips and planting arrangements. I’ll be using a lot of the advice here in deciding how to fill my two new whiskey barrel containers.

What resources are serving as your garden inspiration this year?