Spring is coming up fast and I'm getting really excited. It's almost time to start the veggie garden and that makes me so happy. I feel like, somehow, my father figured out how to brainwash me in my younger years. My brother and I got up early almost every single morning to work on our own large vegetable garden at home. We had several acres of fruits and veggies and it was a long time consuming task that I hated with a firey passion. Now that I'm an adult and dad is gone I still feel the need every year to get out and do something. I can't help it, it's like an uncontrollable itch. Brainwashed.
We sold our vegetables back then, that's why we had so much to do. I don't intend on selling mine though I will do some canning and a little giving away of what I grow. I just don't have the time or manpower to go quite that big. I am going big though. Go big or go home ha ha. I've been looking all over at seed varieties and prices and studying up on the new plants I want to grow. I'm going to do something a little different this year and include artichokes, asparagus and okra in my garden. Mainly because these are things we enjoy here that are kind of expensive. Artichokes are about three dollars a piece at my local grocery store and I feel that that is outrageous. I'd much rather grow them and can the hearts for use during the colder months- canning only what I don't steam and eat with a cup of melted butter (yum!).
As for my other plants I've decided to go strictly heirloom. For those of you that don't know the heirloom varieties of fruits and veggies are the oldest seeds/plants that haven't been changed genetically for mass production. This means that an heirloom plant or seed is not a hybrid. That means that you can take the seeds from the heirloom plants and save them for next year and still get the exact same species, you won't get that from the grocery store. Heirloom varieties are often much more flavorful as well. I love the idea of only having to buy seeds once. Let's think about this for a second. The average ear of corn has roughly 700 kernels on it. The average stalk of corn can produce between 2-4 ears (this varies by species and care). One kernel (or seed) of corn can grow one corn stalk. It's not garunteed that every kernel will grow but your chances are good. I'll let you do the math. FYI: Seeds store best in a bag (plastic or paper) and ideally in your refridgerator. They can last up to three years. Using this method you can give seeds away as gifts!
Here's my list:
okra (clemson spineless or dwarf long pod)
asparagus (mary washington)
artichokes (green globe)
green beans (KY wonder)
bush beans (red kidney)
lettuce (loose leaf haven't decided on type yet)
tomatoes (early girl, beefsteak, and brandywine)
yellow squash (early summer crookneck)
zucchini (black beauty)
carrots (danvers are my personal fave)
cabbage (all season)
cucumber (straight 8)
onions (unsure probably vidalia)
peas (progress no.9 and sugar snap)
Bell Peppers (california wonder and sunbright yellow)
Hot peppers (cayenne jalapeno and habanero)
Spinach (noble giant)
Basil (italian large leaf)
Parsley (flat green leaf italian)
We have a huge back yard for being as close to the city as we are, and it's fenced it. I'm going to utilize that fence to the best of my ability, of coursse. I'll use part of it as a trellis for the pole beans. Kentucky Wonder beans are fast growing and very heavy. They will definitely need the fence for support. I'm also going to grow corn and okra along the fence. I considered growing the beans with the corn but then decided I didn't want my beans to drag down my corn. My sun sensitive plants like my lettuce and leafy greens, artichokes,and cauliflower closer to the taller plants and the more the plant loves the sun the further into the yard it will go, most likely with the peppers at the end. Some will also be in containers on our porch. I'll map it out and let everyone see later.