Garden Planning: 2014


It is time to plan my garden. I will include photos of the plants that I grew last year when I have them and then include a list of what I will be ordering this week.

Beans: Trail of Tears Black Beans on trellises in multiple locations.

Photo: Black bean pods are a beautiful purple.

Beets: Early Wonder beets.

Photo: Early Wonder beets are easy to grow and beautiful.

Early wonder beets
Bok Choy: Pak Choi. I am switching to the traditional bok choy variety for this season. After reading that it can be harvested young I decided to switch from the dwarf variety which just didn’t produce enough to please me.

Photo: Dwarf bok choy was delicious but yielded a small harvest.

Dwarf bok choy almost ready to harvest.  I will cut the outer leaves on these plants so they can continue to provide throughout the summer until they go to seed
Chinese Cabbage: Aichi Chinese cabbage. Last year I sowed seeds directly in the ground. This year I will start seeds indoors and transplant much earlier with the goal of getting heads of this delicious cabbage which is supposed to be excellent in egg rolls and stir fry.

Photo: Young Aichi Chinese cabbage.

Aichi Chinese cabbage
Corn: Stowell’s Evergreen Sweet Corn. I learned how to grow corn last year on the little strawberry popcorn patch so I am ready to attempt to grow an intensively planted block of sweet corn this year mostly for salsa.

Photo: Small ears of strawberry popcorn forming.

Cucumbers: Homemade Pickling Cucumbers were prolific, easy to grow on the teepee trellis, and made some delicious pickles.

Photo: Pickling cucumbers awaiting canning. Most of these are between 4-6 inches long.

Pickling cucumbers awaiting canning. Most of these are between 4-6 inches.
Cucumbers: Suyo Long Cucumbers are sweet, easy to grow, and burpless; grow on trellis.

Photo: Young, 11″ Suyo Long cucumber. When ready to pick they are filled out and up to 18″ long.

Immature Suyo Long cucumber already 11" long
Lettuce: Amish Deer Tongue and other heirloom lettuce. I love the mild flavor of Amish Deer Tongue and other heirloom lettuce varieties. Cut as baby lettuce they grow back for multiple harvests.

Photo: Amish deer tongue and other lettuce varieties growing with onions and dwarf bok choy in front.

Peas: Snow peas will be grown on teepee trellis.

Photo: Heirloom edible pod snow peas.

Peppers: Anaheim, Jalapeno and bell peppers. I will attempt to grow peppers again this year. I believe I need row covers and earlier plantings to succeed.

Photo: Pepper plants growing with squash eventually formed fruit but our growing season was too short for a harvest.

Anaheim peppers growing between the green and yellow squash plants
Potatoes: Red and yellow potatoes in grow bags because I think I know what I’m doing now.

Photo: Red potatoes harvested from a grow bag on a large dinner plate. I grew these from organic potatoes purchased in the grocery store.

Red potatoes harvested from a grow bag on a large dinner plate
Pumpkin: Sugar pumpkins will be started in the back yard but not in a raised bed. I will start them near the bed they started in last year but outside the fence. I want to compost the entire area where they will vine out for a larger harvest in a small space.

I finally figured out why my pumpkin pies taste so different than any made from canned pumpkin (other than the fact that mine are grown organically); I roast my pumpkin before pureeing for pies. I do not peel, cube and cook in a pot with a little water. I believe the roasting or baking process gives the pumpkin a level of flavor you just don’t get with traditionally cooked pumpkin.

Photo: Home grown organic pumpkin made into pumpkin pies

Home grown organic pumpkin made into pumpkin pies
Spinach: Bloomsdale Long Standing is an easy cool weather crop that provides multiple harvests: as you cut outer leaves off of plants new leaves grow from center.

Photo: Baby spinach almost ready to start cutting outer leaves so it can continue to produce.

Baby spinach almost ready to start cutting outer leaves so it can continue to produce
Squash: Yellow straightneck summer squash in front garden (not in raised beds).

Photo: First yellow squash finally after a very late spring and very late growing season.

Squash: Black Beauty Zucchini summer squash in front garden (not in raised beds).

Photo: Zucchini seedlings in front garden.

Two zucchini seedlings
Tomato: Moskovich early variety in grow bags.

Photo: Moskovich tomato ripening after heat wave was over.


Additional crops that I will be growing:

Green beans — I have not decided on the variety (thinking about Blue Lake Bush Bean) but I enjoy fermented green beans and green beans sauteed in butter with shallots so much that I have decided to grow my own even after the Romano green beans didn’t do well until the end of September (I left them on the vine and harvested them for seed). I might grow a bush variety so that I get a large enough crop to try my hand at canning.

Red Brussel Sprouts — Because I am a glutton for punishment and because a good friend keeps telling me I would love brussel sprouts (because I love cabbage), I will be ordering an heirloom variety that is supposed to be amazing. I have nightmares of white cabbage caterpillars from last year. It will be either row covers or nothing this year, baby.

Onions — I didn’t have a lot of success last year with onions. I believe my soil did not have enough organic matter and was too hard. I will try again with more compost added to the soil. I will also fertilize them more often using fish emulsion stopping when I want them to begin to bulb up. I also plan on adding wood ash to all of my root vegetable beds before planting.

Radishes — I don’t love the flavor of radishes but when I had only lettuce leaves to harvest last spring I was craving something crunchy and spicy. That is when I realized why people love radishes so much: they grow quickly and are ready before nearly everything else in the garden.

Sweet potatoes — Researching whether these will even grow here in New England. I sure love how they taste and are very expensive to purchase (organic).

Herbs — I am planning my herb garden separately. I definitely want to grow sage (for my own sausage), basil, parsley, oregano, lots of dill for pickles and dilly carrots, thyme, cilantro and possibly tarragon.

The exciting part about planning this year’s garden is that I only need to purchase a handful of seed varieties as I saved a lot of seed the past two years. I will be making a trip to Comstock, Ferre & Co. to see what they have in stock before I order anything. The best part about a trip there is meeting other gardeners and talking to the experienced owners.

Happy gardening!


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