This will just be a spewing of swirling ideas as they fall out of my mind. I’m trying to make sense of the craziness in my head so I can begin seeding & layouts soon. Here we go!
I’m going heavy on the landraces from here on out, as you’ll notice.
I’m beginning to feel my way around cooler weather crops, such as the hardy greens. I’m even experimenting with perennial greens a bit this year.
I wasn’t sure how Tomato Henge would end up, if I would be happy with it or not. I was. I was thrilled with it. We were prepared (and still are) to put supports in midway each row but it wasn’t needed. I thought maybe that nylon would have too much stretch but it was perfect. I’m really, really pleased with it. I do want to do something with the ends of the rows, maybe little mini-beds there with climbing somethings up the braces. And it still needs painted.
Raised beds. This is still a major work in progress. We need to redo most of the main garden before we add the permanent raised beds so who knows when/how that will get done. The raised beds in other areas, where there is grass between them such as for the herbs and perennial beds, are easy to do and will likely get completed in time.
We’re also making each of the kids their own raised beds… somewhere. They may be in the front yard or they may be in the back next to the perennial beds. Need to get that decided. A few of the kids will be selling produce out of them so it should be a good experience. Each kid will have complete control of their bed as well as space in the main garden for huge things like watermelon. I think each bed will be 4′ x 20′.
Since we’re getting goats this year, I need to take their chomping along the fencing under consideration. I like to plant vining things & various perennials along fencing wherever it is but, obviously, that won’t work alongside the goat fences. I think, in the end, we’ll end up with one big fence around the yard in which the goats, dogs, and chickens all roam. That means whatever trees are within the fence will need protected from nibbling as well.
Speaking of fencing for all of this, we need to leave access to the house doors, the water meter in the front yard, the electric meter in the back yard, and room for a roadside veggie stand. That all plays a part in the garden set up because of the aforementioned fence-planting issues.
I’m definitely planting a bazillion peas — but only Sugar Snap or Super Sugar Snap. I also need to make a mental note to save seed from them this year since they are now a family favorite.
I’m going to start a landrace of beans this year. Only those that work well as green beans — and freeze well — will end up in my final landrace selections. I’ve only got a small selection this year but, now that I’ve decided upon my goal for these, I can begin collecting other varieties with that in mind. For now, I will plant Cooper’s Running Snap (our favorite from last year’s grow-outs), Rattlesnake, Red Striped Greasy, and Olde Timey Long Cut.
I will plant Insuk’s Wang Kong Runner beans. This is my first time playing with runner beans so we’ll see how we like them.
I’m going to start a landrace of these as well, beginning with a couple of old favorites of mine and adding in a new one. Double Yield is the new one. My favorites are Boston, National, and Homemade. I believe I read somewhere that two of those are actually the same variety but it makes no difference to me.
Again, I want to start a landrace but, as of right now, only have one variety: Monster of Viroflay. I may not get around to finding more varieties until next year.
Another beginning landrace. I saved seeds from a couple of mixed sections last year to which I’ll add seed from my entire stash this year. I want a good mix of colors but only leaf lettuces. I have no use for heading lettuces.
I don’t know a whole lot about chard. I’ve grown it. I’ve eaten it. But I don’t know about the various varieties. Are the different colors the varieties or does it go beyond that? Must read on it a bit. In the meantime, I have a couple of packets I’ll toss out together.
Beginning landrace. I have two separate varieties and one mix with which to begin. I’m a complete novice to kale.
Miscellaneous Annual Greens:
Stem Lettuce is a new thing for me this year, as is Aurora Orach. We’ll see how they do before I commit to them. Same for Corn Salad/Mache.
Good King Henry and French Sorrel are new to me this year. They’ll each be getting some space in one of the perennial beds.
I’ve got quite a few perennial herbs already out there and will have to see what has survived the winter. It’s been a very mild winter so far so I’m not expecting losses. For annual herbs, I’ll be planting a mix of dills, a humongous bed of cilantro, brown mustard seed, and Orange Star calendula. Maybe hyssop, too. Herbs, I never seem to commit to until the last minute.
Again, landraces. My watermelon landrace is teeny-tiny but I’ll add to it each year. Last year, I got started with Joseph’s (Most Diverse) landraces for both muskmelons and non-muskmelons and was hooked. In the chaos that is our life, they were mixed so now it’s one big happy melon landrace and I’m cool with that. I’ll be adding more to that as well this year.
I’m broadening my horizons in the miscellaneous department this year, too. I’ll be growing out some mystery seeds from Ilene, maybe Aronia but who knows? Just for fun, I have some Pink Banana and Orange Master Pomegranate I’ll be starting this year and overwintering inside. Aunt Molly’s ground cherries were a huge hit last year so will be back. Podding radishes will be making their first appearance in our garden this year. I’m still not sure on broccoli, cabbage, tomatillos, and Brussel sprouts. I tried some Wonderberry seed from Ilene last year but it didn’t do well, I’m sure due their poor location (and the fact that Steve ran into them with the skidsteer a couple of times early in the growing season). I’m giving them a second chance this year in a better spot.
I’ve got a variety of OP bulbing onions I’m growing from seed this year. (I have been buying onions from Dixondale but decided to switch things up this year and learn how to start them from seed.) I also have seed for Red Welsh (perennial) bunching onions to add to the perennial onion bed with Ilene’s walking onions.
More landraces here. I’ll be starting landraces of jalapeno types, NuMex types, and miscellaneous chiles, along with a landrace for sweet bells and a separate one for other sweets.
I already have a good start on a main crop landrace for tomatoes. This was my main push for last year. I’ll add more in this year and likely start one for cherries. I do think I’ll keep Tess’ Landrace separate because I’d hate to lose that one in the mass. It’s a different type of tomato and it outcrosses easily, if I remember correctly. (I crammed too much info into my head over the winter and some things I used to know have been pushed right out. I hate when that happens.)
I’ve never been much of a root crop gal but I’m diving in deeper this year. I’ll have a mix of carrots, plus try my hand at parsnips & rutabagas. I’ve grown turnips before but only infrequently. They’ll be back this year to break up some harder ground in the back corner of the main garden. I’m still undecided on whether beets & radishes will be planted this year.
I’ve got some tubers that I’ll be pulling sprouts from since I liked that method so much last year. As for TPS (true potato seed), I’ll be growing them again this year but, I think, I’ll do so in pots this time — or at least some way/place where I have a bit more control.
I saved seed from sunflowers, marigolds, zinnias, hollyhocks (both mini and large), and a mix of other flowery things I’ve dubbed my “wildflower” mix. I’ll pick up a few packs of each as I see them on the seed racks to add to the variety. I’m am so very jealous of Ilene’s zinnia mix! My aim is to get a gorgeous mix like hers when I’m done.
Other Perennials & Assorted Stuff:
Sunchokes are still in place along the front walk. They did well but I need to come up with a place for their permanent home at some point this year. The garlic is at home in its permanent bed in the back yard. In the wheel beds in back, there are chives, garlic chives, wild onions, oregano, sage, asparagus, rhubarb (although, I have no confidence it has survived), and whatever else I’m not recalling at the moment. The blackberries recently met with some good intentions that likely set them back quite a bit but, knowing how hardy blackberries are, I’m sure they’ll end up fine. The raspberries did not do well so I’ll have to buy some replacements this year. Most of the fruit trees did fine but a few died. Those will be replaced for free by Stark’s so no worries there. While at Stark’s later this spring getting those trees and rhubarb replaced, I’ll also get some strawberries for a permanent bed and maybe some grapes if we have a place set up for them by then. The mints from Susan have, of course, done well. My comfrey start from Susan thrived last year but I think I’ll end up moving it this year, from the front yard to the back. Another gardening buddy gave me several divisions from yellow flag which I planted around the lagoon overflow. I’m hoping they go nuts this year but I’d also like to put a couple more things in there so soak up the excess water. It stays pretty soggy in that area so I’ll be on the lookout for water-sucking plants.
That’s the end for now. I’ll have to do some refining, obviously, but I had to get some general thoughts down on “paper” to get me started.