How to Pick Your Veggies

I've been reading blogs from people pouring over seed catalogues.  In my spot of the world there will be no planting of veggies for many months, most likely May, April at the very earliest.  But now I've caught the seed bug too.  I've been looking for seeds for my planned raised bed veggies.

What I wonder is how ever do people decide on what to plant.  Sure we'll plant tomatoes, we already do.  We tuck those plants in amongst the flowers.  We don't grow root crops because the soil here is contaminated with heavy metals from out local smelter.  But I think I'll be okay with new soil in my raised beds so the carrots I've been craving will get planted.  Cucumber does well tucked in the flower gardens so we'll do another vine or two there.  I want to plant some lettuce.

That's as far as I've got.  I'd like to plant peas but I don't think I'll have enough room.  Squash is not a big fave with my family although I don't mind it.  Squash takes up lots of room so I may leave that out. Oh, maybe a zucchini will get slipped in but even they can grow to massive sizes.

If you had two raised bed gardens that were about 6 ft. long and 3 ft across what would you suggest?  Oh, I just thought of peppers too.  So far I have tomatoes, peppers, carrots, cucumber, lettuce and a zucchini or other squash plant.   I've been thinking maybe some onions but then onions are so inexpensive that I'm loath to use some space on them.

I won't plant broccoli again, it's a long story about my first pregnancy and a big fat green worm, enough said!!!  If I thought we'd use cabbage I'd plant a few of those but once again these are inexpensive to buy and I'd like to stick to things that we love to eat and fresh makes all the difference in taste.

I'm buying heirloom seeds so I can keep seeds from the plants that do the best for next year.  This is a dream of mine to not have to buy seeds.   It would be nice to have seeds from the plants that are guaranteed to taste and grow well instead of having to wonder if the seeds you bought will grow well and taste good.  That is my plan so far.

I'll build two raised beds in our back yard.  We have gardens all around the outside or our yard that have mostly flowers but we have herbs and plant some veggies in amongst the flowers too.  I'll plant lettuce, peppers, tomatoes, carrots, cucumber, a squash plant and maybe some peas or beans along our back fence.

What I really dream about is some fruit trees and more berry bushes.  We have a few blueberry bushes but they aren't producing so well anymore.  I've been trying to figure out if they are just too old or needs some special fertilizer.  I did find some blueberry fertilizer last year but it didn't seem to help.  I'll try some pine needles this year and see if that works.  If not then I may just get rid of the blueberry bushes and put something else in there.  My strawberries don't produce a huge amount but last year's 5 plants were producing berries right up until the late fall when I finally cut the berries off and mulched the plants in for the winter.  I hope they do as well this year.

What I really should be doing is cleaning my kitchen like I planned to do instead of dreaming of gardens!  I did manage to get a couple of drawers cleaned out.  The kids have a rolling cabinet of drawers that we put their craft stuff in.  I cleaned that out and got rid of most of the junk in it.  What to do with all those crayons and used pencil crayons and felt pens.  Every year through elementary school they needed a box of crayons, felt pens and sometimes pencil crayons.  They never used them all up but each year they needed a new box of each.  So I ended up with boxes of them because I just couldn't throw out perfectly good things.  Lets just say I got over it today and tossed most of them away.  The crayons we sorted and will keep for candles and other wax crafts but the old felt pens and pencil crayons got tossed.  We only kept a handful of each.  That cut three boxes down to one.

I'm getting there but it's slow and frustrating cause I want to get it all done yesterday.  Oh, well I'll keep bashing on and hope that someday I can sit back and see that I made a dent in the mess.  I just hope I'm not so slow that as I get one thing done another piles back up!


Erin said…
One thing I have learned, if you don't like eating it, don't waste space on it! When I first started I felt like I needed to do EVERYTHING, but honestly the veggies you listed are pretty much what we like, too. If you can grow basil there, that's a fast grower and you can freeze it for use in the winter, that's one herb you can always make use of. I don't do too many root crops here since we don't have basements and can't store them well, but we do garlic, that seems to do okay. By all means, make a list of the things you actually use, then pay attention to if you are supplementing frequent purchases of something at the store, then add that in as necessary. Lettuces are a big one - it costs next to nothing to grow them, so I never feel bad about composting excess harvest, but the fresh ones will result in you throwing any extra stuff you have on hand in with it and eating much healthier. Our faves in the summer are lettuces with any fresh stuff and grilled chicken or steak strips. You can make the meat ahead and slice into baggies and eat nicely and quickly all week.
Sparkless said…
Thanks Erin, great advice. I'm not growing anything we don't love to eat. I don't have anywhere to store carrots either but am only going to grow enough to eat. I can always give any extras away.
Mama Pea said…
Unless you can sell at a Farmer's Market or to a restaurant it's silly to use garden space for veggies your family doesn't eat. Root veggies can be canned, pickled or frozen if you don't have a root cellar type environment. Do you have chickens? I can't remember. If so, anything that gets "old" in the garden can go to them and they'll thank you by giving you healthier eggs. Tossed veggies will also improve your compost pile. It's trial and error to see what is worthwhile to grow in our own gardens. Just go for it . . . it's fun and great exercise!
Sparkless said…
Nope, no chickens here Mama Pea. We live too close to our neighbours to be able to have chickens even if it was allowed. I'd love to have chickens though.
Not many Farmers markets either as we live in the mountains so not many farms around or even good land to grow on.
We had a compost pile but a bear ripped it apart so now I'm not sure if I'll attempt another. I don't want to attract the bears.

One day I'll have a larger property and be able to grow all the things I want to. For now I'll just have to make do and drool over gardens like yours and Erin's.
ModernMom said…
I have been a complete failure when it comes to growing veggies with the exception of peppers! I hadn't thought to try lettuce so maybe will add it to my list this year;)

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