Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Garden Planning, and Your Top 5

I have been doing a lot of garden pondering lately.  I am still in that 'I want to try everything' phase, but for the first time since starting this garden journey I also feel some clarity.  This clarity is coming from the knowledge that I will never have enough room; and that greens,  herbs, and perennial producers  should be my main focus for most of the year.  If I could just get 3 months ahead, and stay 3 months ahead of myself in the world of planning, rotation, pruning, and sowing schedules it would grand!  Life would be easier, right?

But back to the greens and herbs for a moment,  these are the items I crave the most.  Sure I can get them anywhere, but fresh herbs and salad ingredients are what I would use everyday if given the opportunity- so why not give myself that opportunity!  The other cool bit is that I have come to enjoy the many flavors and textures that having a variety have greens can offer.  Mustards, Asian Greens, Chard, Kale and other oddities like Claytonia make a delicious plate of colors, flavors, and textures.  (I went so far as to make up my own lettuce mix this week, its getting crazy over here, lol!)   And what is up with  half of my beds being filled with onions, garlic, and shallots?  I mean really- what was I thinking?  Now I have room for little else, like all those greens I have decided I need in my life.  Sheesh.

I need to learn to rely on the farmer's markets for trying out a new pepper or tomato variety, not my garden.  This is of course limiting, but in reality how many different peppers and tomatoes do I really need in my life?  A little of this and a little of that can be picked up anywhere, but the heart of my food - the potatoes, peas, lettuce, favorite tomato varieties, and things that can be stored and preserved for nourishment should take center stage.  It may not be glamorous, but I think it would make good use of space and money to concentrate on these few things, and do them really, really well.  It all goes back to the KISS:  Keep It Simple Stupid. It is in the KISS spirit that I must document my intentions for next Spring:  I will concentrate on getting my "KISS List"- herbs, peas, chard, spinach, kale, and lettuce sown asap- and in copious quantities!  (Everything else will have to show it's merit this gardening season in order to make the final cut for 2011.)  So, if YOU were stranded on a gardening island and could only order 5 seed packets, what would they be?  (And yes you are alone, and no, there are no other gardens to go foraging for seed in.  ☺)


Kelly said...

I will of coarse play along...
1.) Bright Lights Chard
2.) Bolero Carrots
3.) Sungold Tomatoes
4.) Garlic Chives
5.) LaRatte Fingerlings (ok, so not a "packet", but "seeds" just the same) if they produce well for me. If not I sub in peas.

Thomas said...

I can understand your clarity. It definitely makes sense. I on the other hand am obsessed with growing varieties that I cannot source locally, although greens do play a leading role in the drama that is my garden.

Since this is my first real summer garden, I really can't answer your question!...although hakerui turnips would definitely be on the list.

Erin said...

Asking to list 5 actually strikes terror in my soul, LOL! Here we go: 1. Heatwave Lettuce Blend 2. Basil 3. Brandywine Tomato 4. Pole Beans 5. Bell Pepper! I didn't take time to figure out most varieties, I was too scared, LOL! Good luck with not trying out new varieties in your own garden, I bet you delete this post next winter when it's time to order seeds so you don't have to eat those words :) !!!

Kelly said...

LOL- You know it Erin! I have enough seed on hand that I have not tried yet to get through the next 5 years I think. It's all about streamlining! ;)

Ribbit said...


Yellow pear tomatoes
Cucumbers...or more yellow pear tomatoes.

Kelly said...

Thomas- It is a thin line to walk. It is advised to grow what you can't get locally, which only makes sense. But for me I really want to feed my family as much as possible from the garden going forward, so that needs to be my focus. Your way is much more fun Thomas, and you have introduced me to so many new things in a very short time- so thank-you!

Kelly said...

So Ribbit- what your sayin' is that you like zucchini?!?

Annie's Granny said...

1. Carrots, most definitely. Any orange variety that grows well for me, such as Chantenay or Imperator.

2. Lettuce. A crisp, slow bolting one such as Buttercrunch or a nice red such as Red Sails. This is really a tossup with spinach, which can be used like lettuce or steamed, frozen and used through the winter. Spinach would probably be the most practical of the two.

3. Green beans. Probably a pole bean for longer production.

4. An all purpose tomato, such as Homestead. Not as tasty as some of the other heirlooms, but disease resistant and bears heavily through our hot summers, and tastes pretty darned good. Excess can be canned or made into salsa.

5. Butternut squash. It's a good keeper, and would provide me with food for an extended period if needed.

Ribbit said...



Kelly said...

Ribbit- Lol.

Granny- Nice thorough list, I was thinking along the same lines.

megan/mason said...

If you like interesting salad greens, you might want to try growing nasturtiums and burnet. You don't have to use much of either to add really great flavor to a salad mix.

I guess I would go with the things that grow well in our soil and heat. I love broccoli and carrots, but have never had any luck with them whatsoever.

1. Arkansas Traveler tomatoes: they aren't the prettiest or most unique, but they taste great and produce like mad without cracking in the heat.
2. kale: I'm growing Nero di Toscana and Ragged Jack this year, but any variety would be welcomed in our house.
3. garlic: this is my first year growing it, but I know that I will never go a season without it again. Green garlic is so good!
4. basil
5. cucumbers

Kelly said...

megan/mason- funny you should mention green garlic, I will be doing a post on it soon- never 'heard' of it until recently.

What have you been making with it? I am thinking of trying a pesto and garlic bread.