Edit: I have imported this from my The Black Thumb of Death Gardening Blog to my regular blog...
As I look at the still dry mountains and our property, I try to get some sort of hope we will actually get some snow and rain this year! The snow is a bare crust. I am told the same holds true in the Sierras. They cannot go a year the way we can. They are way too dry there on a good year.
This year I will be adding hoops with covers when I first plant. It will help the seedlings start a little sooner and keep insects at bay. We will also put in a drip system so we can see our new grandchild that should appear sometime in late May. I have been looking at what others have done. I am going for an agro-cover that I can buy by the foot at a good price in long lengths we can cut to fit each area. Of course I do not have standard lengths set up. I still need to add sides to the additional areas I prepared last fall. The sides really help to retain water, lowering the amount needed. I will stay with my simple deer repellent- fishing line "fencing" on the poles. I learned this on Mother Earth News. It really works. They walk into the line, it freaks them out and they go another way. Whether I inherit more intelligent deer will be the next question. After that, what about the moose? They are back. Wonderful, but I am not sure what problems I will have to overcome if they stick around during the warmer months.
I learned last year that companion planting does work for most plants. You can find free lists online. The tomatoes and potatoes were "protected" by parsley and onion plants. I did not put carrots with tomatoes because the tomatoes stunt the carrots from what I read. Cabbage with (dry) bush beans did nothing for each other. I was too late with the real-imitation cabbage moths floating above the bed. I only found a couple of worms, though. I made the beds for this year's carrots, parsnips and other root crops 1-foot deep on top and dug down another foot. I will be careful to watch the nitrogen content so we do not get carrots with appendages. They were rather entertaining to cut up for dinner. Himself tended to wince at the visuals.
Neem was the final solution to the earwig Armageddon. Every couple of years, certain pests come with a vengeance. It was the year of mormon crickets and earwigs. Oh... the crickets did not cotton to the neem either. It looks like neem is a good solution, sprayed at night after the bees go home, to protect the plants. Once dry, it is safe for the bees. Do not spray on blooms, of course.
I am missing the fresh food! I have my seeds, stare out the window and plan at this point. I do not make resolutions, but I do want to try for one- Make better notes on the beds, plants, relationships when growing so intensely, etc.