Every winter when the seed catalogs begin arriving in the mail I start dreaming about what the garden could be. It’s so fun to read about the different varieties and see all the flowers. There are endlesspossibilities of fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers to choose from.
Seeds arrived in March and plants started arriving in April giving me spring fever along with them! It is so hard to be patient and just plant the things that must be planted early while being patient for the rest.
I have slowly been getting the garden ready and planted for the last several weeks. This year, I am taking my time getting it done and doing it exactly how I want it instead of hurrying and then being mad at myself for how it looks. Yes, I plan my garden based on how it will look if I can keep it all weeded, as well as which plants are good companions for each other. Keeping my garden weeded always seems to be an issue though, year after year…..this will be the year that I keep up with it all!
Our garden is actually 12 beds made from cedar tree trunks from the trees we cut down in our yard. Each year I rotate what is planted in them. Lance and the kids used old hog panels to build an arch trellis between each bed for plants to climb up. I love how it looks when the tomatoes and pumpkins are growing up it!
This year, I decided to only plant the things I know I can grow, with the exception of watermelon because I just can’t give up on it yet. The garden consists of 24 tomato plants, 12 sweet pepper and 2 jalapeño pepper plants, a lot of potatoes, several sweet potatoes, lots of onions, butternut squash (Colton asked that we plant a lot of this!), zucchini, bush beans, cucumbers, watermelon, and several pumpkin/winter squash varieties. Everything is planted except for the pumpkins and some of the winter squash. Then as soon as the seedlings are up we will lay down thick paper with straw on top of it to help keep the weeds under control. The paper will break down over time and the straw will compost nicely into the soil improving it while it does. We also put a couple of wheelbarrows full of manure in each bed before planting to help our soil.
We also added to our orchard this year by adding 3 apple trees and 2 pear trees to the peach trees. Two grape vines flank the archway gate. Two-year-old Blueberry and elderberry bushes are also in the yard. I am looking forward to the year we can harvest from all of them too!
I believe that every garden needs flowers in it as well not only to help attract more pollinators but also because I love flowers. Once the plants are all up and we have them mulched well, I will transplant some marigolds and zinnias from one of the flower beds (I have several flower beds but those will be another post for another day!) into the garden beds since they will need to be thinned out anyway.
The goal for this year is to be able to harvest and preserve as much as we can from it so I only planted what I have had success with before. We would like to provide at least a quarter of the tomatoes, salsa, spaghetti sauce, and pickles we eat each year. We also go through a lot of squash and potatoes so it would be nice to have a good amount of those stored away for the winter too. If you have any recipes for preserving any of the things in our garden please send them! I would love to can a variety of recipes to see what we like best.
If you have a garden or flower beds, I hope you have abundant rain, plenty of sunshine, and no bugs except the good ones!