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Plans are in for a big garden for 2017. Last fall, Ken fed the garden with generous quantities of organic soil amendments, then planted cover crops. The abbey’s garden soil has been pure organic dynamite for years, but this year it should be better than ever.

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds has been our source for garden seeds for years. Unfortunately, we haven’t done a good job of saving seeds from year to year, so that’s something we need to work on.

Each year we learn. For example, as much as everyone loves broccoli and cauliflower, the climate here is such that cool-weather crops like broccoli bolt too soon, without ever forming heads. We end up wasting a lot of garden space and effort on broccoli and cauliflower. Cabbage, however, does fine. This year we’ll do more herbs — basil as always, but also parsley and cilantro.

Here’s hoping that 2017’s weather will make it a good gardening year. Last year was terrible. There were long spells of hot, dry weather that were devastating to gardens. We can deal with the heat, but not with drought.

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