Monday, January 20, 2014

2014 Garden Plans and Goals

Well, I've gone and done it. Yesterday I started my onion seeds and planted a few more pots of lettuce and spinach to grow indoors. Now the garden is all I can think of. I find myself throughout the day wandering to the patio door and looking out over the back garden. It's still covered in snow, but I can still see the hugelbeet that I put in a low spot in the yard. I'm reading blog posts and watching Wisconsin Vegetable Gardener videos. I'm fantasizing about ripe tomatoes that practically fall off the plant into your hand.

To keep myself from going crazy, I've been planning. Here are my plans and goals for the coming garden season.

* Expand the gardening space. There is a large area in the back yard under a tree that has grown up in weeds. That area will be dug up and planted in lettuce, since it's mostly shaded and not much else will grow there. I'll dig at least one more garden bed in the main garden.

* Venture into the wonderful world of edible landscaping. The previous owners endowed us with incredible perennial flowers. They really did an awesome job; there's always something blooming. However, the strip between the driveway and hedges is a bit sparse. I plan to sneak in some Rainbow swiss chard, some frilly red lettuces, Burgundy okra, and chives. At a going-out-of-business sale I found giant matching planters for $5 each. I will put one on each side of the driveway by the street. I plan to plant a Burgundy okra (thriller) in each, surrounded by a lime green and red speckled lettuce (filler) with Milkmaid Nasturtiums (spiller).

* Start a reasonable number of transplants. Last year I assumed I would kill almost all of my seedlings. So I over-planted. I had hundreds of tomato seedlings (around 300), 50 peppers, 50 eggplants. Definitely didn't have enough space for that many (Although it was wonderful to supply my parents with all they needed and to walk around the market I work at and give people free seedlings). This year I will start a more reasonable number, and also start some kale, lettuce, basil, etc seedlings to get a jump start on the cool season.

* Get a longer harvest. Get some cold-hardy goodies in early, and keep on planting season appropriate plants until August or September. This past year I didn't start getting a harvest until the end of May, and I'd like to get some early spring greens this year.

* Plan the garden well, and keep planting to fill in spaces as needed so there isn't a lot of wasted space like last year. I have over 100 veggie and herb varieties, and multiple packs of some of them; there is no fear of running out of seeds. I can plant with abandon.

* Dehydrate lots of yummy things for teas. I enjoy herbal teas so this could save me a lot of money over the year. Last year I dehydrated a fair amount of violet leaves and flowers, as they grow over most of the lawn. This year I plan to dehydrate some herbs I'm planting, as well as some "weeds" that are good in teas. I'm still debating about mint. I adore mint teas, but I know that it is invasive.

* Plant a heck of a lot more lettuce. I had some failures in the garden last year, and chalked most of them up to beginner's lessons. The thing I can't forgive myself for is how little lettuce I grew. I planted it later than I should have, didn't plant nearly enough, and then tried to plant most of it when the weather was too hot. Nothing germinated in the summer. Then for some reason, instead of planting a bunch for fall harvest, I planted lots of radishes and beets, but no more lettuce. We ate a few salads a week for a couple months. Not this year. This year I'm eating lettuce until it comes out my ears.

* Not waste a bit of the produce grown. I have a fancy new dehydrator, and I am hoping to learn how to can this year. Put up as much as I can for the winter. If I get a glut of something that I don't want to can, dehydrate and powder it to add to my veggie powder jar.

* Here is a rough list of what I'm growing this year: two types of eggplant, 3 sweet peppers; 4 hot peppers (including Jamaican Hot Chocolate Habaneros!), 7 tomatoes (inc Black from Tula and Brandywine), 3 types of cucumber (including Crystal Apple), 5 beet, 3 swiss chard, 4 types carrots, turnips, 10 types radishes, 5 types of beans (including Scarlet Runner and Calypso/yin-yang beans), spinach, kale, mustard, 10 types lettuce, chives, cilantro, 3 types of basil, onions, Burgundy okra, milkmaid nasturtiums, and more random things that I may or may not plant. Whew.

What are your plans and goals for the garden? What are you growing?

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From The Farm Blog Hop13 Heritage Homesteaders Hop #1


  1. You make me want to go out and buy seeds right now! We grew lettuce last year (among other veggies) and my regret was not growing more. It was so nice to be able to pluck some lettuce from the garden for a salad. This year we are renting, but maybe I will try planting some in our pots on the porch. I can't wait to see how your lettuce does and what else you plant. Enjoy your seedlings!

  2. You've been nominated for a Liebster Award. Check out my blog to read all about it.

  3. Ahh, how I wish we could start some plants. Still much too early here, but hopefully very soon.

    Your plans sound wonderful.

    God bless.

  4. We've expanded our garden this year, too. We added another large raised bed using the old boards from the beds we rebuilt. One thing we like to do is sneak veggies into our flower beds. We grew corn in with the mums from our back yard wedding, and I thought it looked mighty fine, haha.

  5. I am getting ready to buy some seeds online. We are still covered in snow, and like you I look out the window waiting for spring to get into the dirt.I am not sure what to plant this year. I grew tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, celery, garlic last year but my garden is not big enough to feed a family of 4 people. I got a bushel if tomatoes for $10.00 and bought 3 plus my garden and we will not have enough for the year. I may plant things that are more expensive to buy and grow those myself. I bought a pressure canner last year and all set this year to do some canning. Right now I have to get past the cold frigid days and horrible wind we are not used to having.

  6. What a wise and industrious young woman you are. I am deeply impressed by the depth of your knowledge and the passion of your interest.


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