A Garden Plan for 2019
Sometimes I think it's more exciting to plan a garden than to harvest it. When I harvest, all I think about is how much more work I'll have to do to preserve it all.
But it's the beginning of the gardening season so it's time to dream and plan.
This year, I'm cutting out old favorites in favor of more practical options. As I do every year, I'm also including something new to me.
What I'm cutting:
Corn: Corn is cheap. It might be all GMO, but it's so ridiculously cheap there's no way I can compete. That and we have the most horrid time trying to grow it. Everything, and I mean everything tries to eat it. From ants to worms to raccoons and birds. I give up.
Sunflowers: Surprisingly, it's both cost effective and easy to grow, but again, everything tries to eat it before I can cut them down. One year, the raccoons took out our entire bed the night before it was ready to be harvested. If Greg wants, he can grow a big swath of it in the back pasture. We've got plenty of room. I'm not going to bother with it though. If it makes it, it makes it.
What I'm cutting back:
Okra: Okra is a weird creature. We like it--a lot--but we never seem to get around to eating it. It always seems to get forgotten in the freezer. It's also wildly prolific by us. I think two plants this year instead of the usual six should do us.
Jalapeno peppers: We eat a lot of peppers. We love them, but we also prefer them fresh. It's not quite the same after they've been frozen. I think in lieu of extra jalapeno plants I might focus more on bell pepper and a new sweet pepper I found. They freeze well.
What I'm adding:
Parsnips: I've never tasted a parsnip. Neither has Greg. But a friend was singing its praises so loudly I felt I should try it at least once. It sounds like something we'd like. It requires a long growing season which we have.
Amaranth: My sister sent me these seeds and I'm dying to try it because I've never grown a grain crop. If I like it, I might try it on a bigger scale in the back pasture.
I'm going to try to get the cool weather plants like Brussels sprouts, cabbages, and lettuce out as early as I can. We heat up fast down here and it's a race against the season to get them harvested before summer arrives.
I'm also going to give summer squash another try. Squash bugs murder my plants every year. This year, we turned over the beds and picked out any larvae. It would be nice to have one more freeze before it warms up to kill anything we've exposed but I think that's it for our freezes.
We'll plant the loofahs again. They brought so many bees to the garden last year. I don't know what it is about loofahs, but bees and wasps of all sorts love this plant. I'd grow it just to feed them.
We had more compost than I thought and we managed to give each bed a healthy layer of compost. I also bought some Azomite. It's rock dust from Utah that has all sorts of trace minerals. I've been reading about it for years, and this year I thought, why not, I'll try it. I've read a lot of success stories about it from my gardening forums. I'll let you know how it did for us.
I'll probably experiment more with landscaping the front yard with edibles. I am not a grass person. I really detest the stuff. It's fine for small areas if you have little kids or pets, but it seems a waste to have a front lawn that does nothing but demand to be cut and fertilized.
I still haven't found the right ground cover, but I want it to be pretty, withstand our intense heat, and not require mowing. I don't want much, do I? LOL!
Now, what I want to know is if you've ever eaten parsnips. Do you like them? Is there any vegetable you absolutely don't like? For me, it's beets. Friends tell me it's because I haven't had them prepared right. Maybe, but I don't want to take the chance. :D
We don't always have the best luck buying jalapeños though - sometimes they're spicy, sometimes not. I guess it just depends on the crop?
I know your growing season is shorter. If you can get a hundred days of warm weather, you might be able to grow them or at least get them to the flowering stage to bring in more bees.
Thanks for sharing your plans with us!
Our tomatoes didn't do well last year, so I'm doing some soil amendments to see if that corrects the problem.
I like crows though. I couldn't get mad at them if they stole some of my food.
Parsnips are better harvested after a frost, though, just fyi. So you'll probably want to count back from your first frost date to figure out planting time.
re: parsnips and frost
I read that the other day about parsnips. I might do a taste test between harvest times to see for myself.