I love it when a package of new seeds arrives in the mail.
So much potential in one little package. My first order of 2020 arrived from the Hudson Valley Seed Co. Ironically AFTER I noted in this post on seed catalogs that I do not receive a catalog from HVSC, and AFTER I placed my order online, a seed catalog from them arrived. Actually, two.
Right now I am budgeting for seeds that I don’t have, inventorying seeds I do have (check!), and compiling a list of what we’re planting and how much of each variety. The list, my friends, is pretty big. I’m not sure what Mr. Gordon is going to think once I share my ideas. 😀
So far this is what I intend to plant. I have not yet decided on numbers, but I know we’re scaling back on plants like cucumbers, and trying to increase our successful planting / growing / harvesting of things like carrots, onions, and garlic. This past weekend I inventoried the canned jars of pickles we still have. We have a lot. A. Lot.
Plan To Grow
I have almost all of these seeds in my inventory now. Just a few more varieties to purchase.
1. Asparagus – We need to finally determine where the permanent bed should go.
2. Basil, Genovese – for cooking, pesto
3. Basil, Holy Tulsi – for tea and the bees! (They LOVE it.)
4. Ruby Queen Beet – (Awesome, produces early.)
5. Beans for Baking? (Have Hank’s X-tra Special from last year. Worth the energy to grow?)
6. Black Beans? (Have Black Turtle Beans from last year. Worth the energy to grow?)
7. Kidney Beans? (Have Light Red Kidney Beans from last year. Worth the energy to grow?)
8. Green Beans – NOT ideal Market Beans – so aggressive! Need to pick new variety.
9. Wax Beans, Gold Rush Yellow Wax Bean
10. Di Ciccio Broccoli
11. Brussels Sprouts, Long Island Improved
12. Cabbage – Haven’t picked a variety yet.
13. Carrots, Scarlet Nantes Carrot
14. Celery, Tall Utah
16. Corn – Plant Top Hat again?
17. Double Yield Cucumber (very prolific) – Limit number of plants.
18. Dill, Bouquet
19. Edible Flowers – Have a mix, maybe containers?
20. Eggplant? (Mr. Gordon wants; me, not so much.)
21. Garbanzo Beans? Probably not. Too cold and wet here.
22. Garlic – 3 kinds planted in fall 2019 (Chesnok Red, Music, and German Extra Hardy) upper garden.
24. American Flag Leeks
25. Clear Dawn Onions
26. Peas, Green Arrow Shell Peas
27. Peas, maybe Purple Podded
28. Peas, maybe Sugar Snap Peas
29. Peppers, Green Bell? – Need to determine variety.
30. Peppers, Bridge to Paris
31. Peppers, Joe’s Long Cayenne
32. Peppers, Tam Jalapeno
33. Peppers, Boldog Hungarian Paprika Spice
34. Peppers – Have Sweet Pimento Pepper from last year
35. Potatoes – King Harry White, Keuka Gold, and Dark Red Norland. Maybe blue if we have any left over from last year.
36. Rhubarb – We haven’t designated a patch yet.
37. Shallots, Dutch Red – Planted in fall 2019 in upper garden.
38. Spinach, Bloomsdale – Probably will have to wait for fall now; still need to establish cold frame / location.
39. Squash, Blue Hubbard
40. Squash, Butternut
41. Squash, Honeynut
42. Squash, Yellow Summer
43. Tomatoes, for eating: Rutgers – at least 5 plants
44. Tomatoes, for canning: Amish Paste – at least 20 plants
45. Tomatoes, Yellow Pear Cherry Tomato
46. Tomatoes, for drying: Principe Borghese Sun Dried Tomato
47. Tomatoes – Maybe a couple of other varieties just for fun?
48. Black Beauty Zucchini
49. Zucchini – Maybe another variety, too, since our Black Beauties are attractive to squash bugs
One particularly important task is to keep notes on what went well – and what did not – with regards to different varieties, planting, growing, harvesting, etc.
For example, from my notes on tomatoes in my most recent garden journal (thanks, Tina!):
- Amish Paste – Indeterminate, does really well here. Great fruits, large. Wonderful for canning. Will grow uncontrollably if not staked. Will crowd out other plants. Will seed the ground around them and will come back.
- Firminio’s Plum Tomato – Will not plant again. Tiny fruits, watery fruit.
- New Yorker Tomato – First tried in 2019; would try again in future because believe growing and transplanting not ideal in 2019. Definitely determinate, which is a plus. Early yields, but only for 3 or 4 weeks. Pruning not needed. Stake or cage. Eating tomato.
This year we plan to buy and get our first set of fruit trees into the ground. We wanted to do it last year, but we had some unexpected expenses early in the year (like a blown truck engine). But, the sooner we get them into the ground and growing well, the earlier we can begin to grow our own tree fruit. We have to really nail down the placement on our property. I worry about the wet ground and deer. And actually, the wind. We’re hoping to be able to get an “expert” from a nursery out here to guide us. I wonder if that’s possible? Anyhow, the plans are to buy…
Two of Each?
- Apple – With so many varieties, we haven’t decided yet. Must store well and be good for baking, canning, preserving.
- Apricot (maybe Goldcot)
- Peach (Reliance? Madison?)
- Pear (hopefully Bosc)
Mr. Gordon wants to buy the biggest we can afford to buy. We’re making plans to visit one local nursery this weekend. I think their fruit trees run about $60 each. There’s a chance we might only buy 6 fruit trees. We also have to figure in fencing, compost, possibly mulch or wood chips, and deer netting costs. This will not be a cheap endeavor.
Other things to consider beyond variety and placement: what we buy will probably not be organic. How do we feel about that? Could we afford organic? Could we even find local-to-us, organic trees to buy?
Mr. Gordon and I often have “spirited” conversations. I am passionate; he is stubborn. (Hahaha – let’s see if he reads this post!) But even though our vision is very much the same for our home(stead) and future, our paths to get there weave back and forth – often traveling side-by-side, but sometimes winding away from the other.
We actually had one such “spirited” conversation during breakfast this week regarding costs. I suggested this year we hold off on mulch or wood chips. His response: I’m not letting the grass grow waist deep between the trees over the summer. Well, I wasn’t suggesting that, but perhaps he could get his reel lawn mower back from his son. Then he tossed back: Great, more chores to eat up my time. I’m not doing that. Here’s where the wife throws up her hands and says: Hey, I have a limited budget for this, but if you don’t – go for it! 🙂
Like I said: Spirited. 😀
…But I Do Have One
…point, that is: PLAN. Plan, plan, plan. At the end of the day, this is not a hobby. And healthy plans take a lot of discussion, consideration, research, and more of the same. We know from experience that having no plan is a recipe for poor and / or unexpected outcomes. Oh, there have been the lucky times in which having no plans or halfhearted plans worked out okay. But, when you are investing (that’s what this is) in your future – lifestyle, health, sustainability, and food – halfhearted isn’t going to cut it. I look back on our “practice years” in the small, shady backyard of our city home and the two years we have had here with our gardens, and I can see where plans / no plans and worked / didn’t work. Experience is a powerful teacher.
So right now we are in the planning and research phase. Next steps:
- This weekend: Visit one of the local retail nurseries (maybe two) to talk about fruit tree options and our plans
- Follow-up on email from local third tree nursery – do they have a retail store? Can we visit?
- Determine new source for yards of compost (wasn’t thrilled with last year’s batch)
- Layout the garden plans – how many of each variety and where they should be planted
- Determine what else needs to be purchased: seeds, fencing, additional watering system (drip-approach this year), seed dispenser (for those teeny, tiny seeds)
- Inventory seed starting set-up; need to order organic peat pellets, pots, buy organic seed starting mix, etc.
Of course this is just the beginning, but you have to start somewhere. I’m an advocate of getting it down on paper or electronically in a spreadsheet, OneNote, etc. It just works better.
So Tell Us About Your Plans!
What are you doing in the way of garden plans? Anything different this year? Scaling back, growing more? What’s your planning process like?
We’d love to hear about it. Please share your thoughts and plans in a comment below!