How to prepare your family to survive and thrive in todays uncertain world

Kearney Garden Planning, 2013

heirloomgardenseedsAs I’m sure a number of you have done recently or are planning on doing soon, my wife and I sat down the other evening to go over our garden plans for this year.

We’re not going to make the same mistake we did last year with assuming we’d move earlier and not putting in a garden.  While we certainly hope to be able to move to our new home towards the end of this year, there are no guarantees, and we’ll get a fair amount of the harvest either way.

That said, we may also establish some garden beds at the new place for things that don’t need close cultivation and can survive largely on their own.  This plan remains to be fleshed out and decided on.

In any case, as usual we ended up with a ton of different things we want to grow, and probably more than we’ll actually pull off.  We’ll see.

In no particular order, here’s what we’re planning (high level, not going to dive into specific strains or varieties)

Beans – We’re planning here mainly on bush and running green beans, no dried beans.  Basically the stuff that the kids like to eat fresh and we like to can.

Beets – These are good eating in two ways … the root and the greens.  Definitely more of a ingredient type crop, and a new one for us.

Broccoli – Third time is the charm, I hope.  We haven’t had much luck with broccoli in the past, but we like it alot and eat a ton of it, so it makes sense to try again.

Brussels Sprouts – A staple of our diet for a good part of the year, we all love these.  Fresh, of course, not frozen.  This is another new crop for us this year.

Cabbage – We love cabbage, and hope that it will do well in our new climate.  My wife makes a cabbage salad that is heaven on earth.  And of course I have this Harsch crock that likes making sauerkraut for me…

Carrots and Radishes – These usually don’t make it out of the garden.  Kids devour them.  Must plant LOTS this year to hopefully actually get some to eat.

Cukes – This year we’re planning on limiting the varieties here to one slicer and one pickler variant.

Greens – Pretty straight forward … lots of various lettuces, spinaches, and mustard greens.  And we can’t forget the Raddichio!

Cantaloupe and Watermelon – Didn’t have good luck with these last year but we’re in a different climate zone now and have a hotter summer.  Maybe that’ll help.

Onions – Need I say more?

Peas – I plan on using a three-variety mix here that lets us plant at the same time but thanks to different maturity times end up with a staggered harvest.  Focus on sugar snap style peas, but will probably add a fourth variety for some snow peas.

Peppers – I love me my peppers.  Hot and sweet, I love them all.  And plan to grow alot of them.  A whole lot.

Zucchini – Chocolate Zucchini Bread.  Enough said. (Yes, another Wife Specialty.  Her stunning beauty isn’t the only reason I married her … she’s a darn good cook too!)

Tomatoes – Probably a roma variety and a cherry variety, maybe a larger slicer but probably not.  Also will probably grow tomatillos (I know, not really a tomato, but close enough) for salsas.

Herbs – Parsley, chives, basil, oregano, cilantro, dill, etc etc … all the usuals.

So … my question to you … what are some of your favorite varieties that we should try this year?

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8 Responses to Kearney Garden Planning, 2013

  1. This sounds a lot like my plans for this summer…I’m adding sunflowers, because my husband loves the seeds and we also feed the birds during the winter. Also winter squash, specifically butternut. We all love it and it stores for a long long time.

    Would your wife share the cabbage salad recipe? Thanks

  2. Last year a friend told us how a purple tomato adds a rich deep color to tomato sauce and paste. So in addition to our red Romas and Amish Paste, we planted Black Krim and Black Cherokee. They were tasty at the red stage, but ours seemed to lose flavor by the time they got purple. This year we’re going to try a purple paste tomato instead.

    That 3-pea mix sounds like a great idea–succession planting all at one time!

  3. We also have not had much luck with broccoli but want to try again this year. And..yea, please share the cabbage salad recipe!!

  4. Mortgage Lifter is one of our favorite tomatoes. They’re great for slicing and canning. Kenebec potatoes are great. I’ve heard red torpedo onions are good and a good keeper. We’ll try them this year. And definitely Waltham butternut squash!

  5. What do you guys intend to plant out at the homestead? I’d love to hear about any tricks you’re using to ‘tend’ that garden while you’re away. We grow in four community garden plots in four different directions, so I always try to make one of them ‘self-tending’.

    We grow scarlet nantes carrots for storage. They’re pretty uniform for canning and taste good fresh, canned, or cooked. They’ll also do ok off on their own, and anecdotely seem to improve the tomato harvest when inter-planted.

    Winter squashes! They store well with just a cool dry room, don’t need to be tended nearly as much as summer squashes, and kids love then with a touch of brown sugar. I’ve had good luck with Acorn Queen being prolific, like 8-10 full sized fruit a vine over the season, although personally recommend butternut varieties for flavor. We’ve got a three sisters garden (corn, beans, and squash,) going into our farthest away community garden plot, with some bean varieties chosen for canning and hardiness on the vine so hopefully they can stand being left alone a few days at a stretch. Plans call for heavy mulch and visits twice a week for most the season.

    I’d also recommend planting a few extra tomato plants. Pretty much anything that gets large and ‘woody’ textured from not being picked soon enough can be canned up with some homemade tomato sauce. Good for that far off garden and the lost giant zuccinni.

    Planted twenty cucs last year because our starts were so stunted for so long we thought they’d barely produce, then they took off….. So we’re only putting in three plants this year….I bet THIS year they barely produce…

    • Well, at this point we are about half an hour drive from the homestead so we’ll be able to get out there fairly often. I’ll keep posting about what we end up doing there once we decide.

      We love the squash as well, just don’t have any planned right now. That’d probably be a homestead crop since they are pretty bomb proof once established.

      Definitely planting tons of tomatoes and peppers. Can’t ever have enough :)

    • Yeah, I’ve heard folks grow sweet potatoes here, and we LOVE them. So there’s hope, even though it’s a colder climate.