It’s my favorite time of the year ~ well not so much.
It is the time of the year I get to do one of my favorite things and that’s plan my vegetable garden! Nothing better when it’s icy and cold outside than thinking about digging your fingers in the dirt and making a plan for what will be planted come spring.
I am an organic vegetable gardener.
Vegetable gardening has been an interesting journey in finding balance! The first year we moved to this house (we have about 3 acres of land) we tilled up a huge area (maybe like a quarter an acre) and planted everything known to man. What I hadn’t realized was just how much WORK and time a huge garden can take. I also didn’t realize just how many weeds there would be to tend to.
The second year we used the same space but I double dug the whole thing. Digging out aisles around the rows so you in essence have raised beds/rows in the garden. That worked pretty well, but it was a LOT of work. I still had a lot of trouble keeping up with the garden, the weeds invaded and by the time Summer hit (and it gets really hot here!) I was spent and most of the garden went to waste.
I just didn’t garden for a few years, but I love it too much, and having amazing home grown tomatoes just makes summer so much better. I came across a book called Lasagna Gardening. It talked about using small raised beds to plant your garden. I also around the same time came across the book Square Foot Gardening. I have sinced used a combination of the two. I love it.
The combination of the two is perfect for me. I have a small space to tend to, but the Square foot planting really keeps the weeds to a minimum because the plants actually shade out the weeds. I get a fair amount of produce, and if I feel like I need more space to grow things I just build another bed! This year I really want to do more to have more vegetables to can and freeze so we’ll have our own vegetables through the winter. This is going to mean I need more space for sure.
I am going to build one more bed I believe but I also have this “flower bed” in my front yard. It’s a circle bed that’s been designated for flowers but the only thing I’ve managed to get planted is a row of Iris around the outside. It is now filled with grass again. I think this year I’m going to use it as a Lasagna bed and grow my bigger vegetables there instead of the raised bed.
I’m trying to find the balance between going overboard and producing enough produce to keep us in veggies through the winter. It’s tough. It’s so easy to go overboard. The key I believe is going to be to look at our actual eating habits and grow the things we really eat. I love to grow interesting and different things, but the bad part of that is we don’t eat it then it all goes to waste.
My vegetable garden plan for this year:
Tomatoes ~ maybe 10 plants of tomatoes using Roma, 1 or 2 bigger varieties, and then 1 or 2 cherry/grape plants. We love tomatoes, but I have a hard time growing the larger varieties here for some reason. So I will concentrate on the Romas which grow really well for me, they are easy to can and work great for just about anything.They will be going in the new garden area.
Green Beans ~ we eat a ton of green beans. I’ve grown them in the past, but never in the quantity we’d need to save them and use them later. Will be planting many more green bean plants this year. Zucchini ~ there’s nothing I love more than grilled zucchini ~ this will be going in the new garden area as well. I’ve tried the last few years to put them in big galvanized buckets and they just haven’t done all that well, so into the bed they go this year. I’m hoping to freeze a bunch for grilling and soups during the winter.
Watermelon and Canteloupe ~ we’ve never had much luck with these. Last year was the first year we had canteloupe and it was a volunteer plant that I had nothing to do with. We had a couple really nice looking canteloupe and were getting ready to pick them when the chickens got into them and ate them all up. Damn chickens. But we’ll try them again, because we love them and spend quite a bit of money on them at the store during the summer, so the price of seed would make it worth it to try again.
Cucumbers ~ this is a staple in our garden. We are cucumber FIENDS. I’d love to have enough cukes to make a variety of different pickles as well as have plenty to eat through the summer. We’ve only grown a few plants the last few years and that hasn’t been nearly enough. This year I’ll probably do 5 to 10 cucumber plants. I also plan to grow them on a fence this year ~ my mom did it last year and it worked great!
So that’s pretty much my vegetable garden plan for this year. I’d love to hear what you’re planning for your garden!