What’s Going In Your Garden This Summer?

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sunflowersWe had so much fun and such great success with last year’s garden that we are itching to expand and grow even more of our own food this summer.  It seems far away but this is the time to start making plans so that when the ground thaws in the spring you’re not scrambling at the last second.

There are a few things that didn’t go well that I’d like to try again:

1) I really want to start my own seedlings, indoors.

I’m a plant murderer.  I kill them all.  I don’t mean to. I just…. forget. I forget to water or to move them out of the draft or into the sun or I forget to transplant.  Maybe I have a maximum number of “things I can be in charge of keeping alive at one time” and all my mojo goes into the people and pets. I’m not sure.  Still, I’m going to try it again.  If we are ever going to really and truly be self-sufficient (or even close) when it comes to food I’m going to have to be able to grow things from seeds.

I got some new little plastic indoor greenhouse things on clearance at the end of last season so maybe those will help.  Hopefully.

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2) Lavender.

I adore lavender.  I finally got a lovely plant last year and, in ignorance, put it in a terrible spot that got far too much water and, eventually, it was over-run by the ginormous freaky tomato plants that took over half the yard.  This year I’ll try again, more wisely.

3) Potted herbs.

See, “plant murderer,” above.  Still… I’m convinced that I have it in me to grow a little bit of basil in a pot without killing it.  My sister, who has beautiful lush potted plants all the time, told me I’m potting them wrong.  I’ll take her advice and try again. I think I can… I think I can… I think I can…

There are a few things that went well that I can’t wait to do again.

tomatoes1) Tomatoes.

We are a tomato-eating family.  We love them fresh, on sandwiches, in salsa, as sauce and juiced. Last year the tomatoes came and came and came until I was shoulder-deep in tomatoes and thought I never wanted to see another one.

This year I’ll plant even more.

Why?  Well… because it’s only the middle of January and we’ve used up all but one jar of what we grew so, obviously we didn’t grow enough.

Last year we grew Sweet 100 Cherry Tomatoes and Big Boys.  I’d like to do those again and perhaps add one or two new varieties as well.

2) Lettuce.

I loved having fresh lettuce! Unlike the tomatoes, though, there can be too much of a good thing.  We used a lot of space for lettuce and ended up with a massive crop and you really can’t preserve it.  I’ll cut back a bit this time.

The bunnies loved the lettuce too. I didn't mind. They were adorable and we had more than enough to share.

The bunnies loved the lettuce too. I didn’t mind. They were adorable and we had more than enough to share.

3) Bell peppers, jalepenos, cucumbers, zucchini, carrots, peas, onions and corn.

They all did great and they were so yummy! I can’t wait to plant them again!

Things I’m looking forward to growing/harvesting for the first time.

1) Asparagus.

We planted and watched as it grew up all big and green and ferny and wild looking. Now, this year, it should be well-enough established that we will get to eat at least a few of those sweet, tender shoots. Yum!

2) Garlic.

Our garlic is already planted and snug under a nice layer of straw.  I can’t wait to see the little green shoots pop up in the spring!

Kiwi Anna fruitDSC_05993) Hardy Kiwis.

I’m fascinated by the idea of a kiwi that grows in Michigan.  I’m hoping to try these out and see how it goes.

4) Potatoes in a box.

I’ve seen this all over Pinterest.  I’m eager to see if I can make it work.  People make it sound like the simplest thing in the world.

Things I may just scrap this year.

1) Watermelon.

My family was really excited about growing fresh watermelon but it seems we weren’t terribly thrilled about eating it.  It takes a huge amount of space and half of what we grew ended up back in the compost bin.  Maybe I’ll grow one or two vines but… probably I’ll just spend the $3 to buy one at the farmer’s market and that will be enough.

2) Broccoli.

It didn’t grow well. No one seemed to care. We’ll probably just give that space over to something different this year.

To see some truly fabulous, inventive, pretty, creative and handy ideas from people far more clever than me visit my Pinterest “gardening and outdoor stuff” board.  If you have a gardening board too, leave the link in the comments. I’d love to follow it!

This is so pretty and seems like it would save so much space. I think I need to give it a try this year.

This vertical garden is so pretty and seems like it would save so much space. I think I need to give it a try this year.

What am I forgetting?  

What’s going in your garden this year?

Any tips or advice for a girl who’s still just learning to squish her toes in the dirt?

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19 responses »

  1. You’ll have to let me know how those hardy kiwis do, and if they taste like the real thing. I have not started planning yet for this season. I like to wait until atleast February our else I just torture myself with the waiting! We are definitely doing more tomatoes this year. I canned mine for the first time in a very long time last year, and we ran out by the end of November (but they were so much better than store bought, that we were eating them atleast once a week). We did an heirloom variety of corn last year that was at its peak for such a short time that we poetically won’t do it again. It wasn’t ready for soo long and then next thing I knew it was almost past its peak and beginning to lose its sweetness. We had one or two good dinners and then I realized it was getting tough and less sweet. We left it to dry and fed it to the squirrels. (It was silver queen if you want to know) really very good if you can time it just right. It’s just not right for me, I’m not that meticulous I guess. Thinking abit digging a diff party of the yard up and doing pumpkins again. Like watermelons, they take up a lot of room.

    • I will let you know about the kiwis! I’m so curious about them! We had really good luck with corn (I think it was Chubby Checker) but I was uncomfortable with not knowing if the corn we planted was GMO. I know most is, these days. I’d like to try an heirloom variety this year, or at least use seed from an organic supplier. We also have some heirloom popcorn this year I forgot to mention.

  2. I smiled all the way through this post. I am a plant murderer too. I joke about it and say I have two black thumbs. Whether I do a great job taking care of it or not, the plant is doomed with me. I am the angel of plant death. Oh well. My youngest has better luck 🙂 I also thought it was SO sweet to see the picture of the baby bunny with your comment that you had enough to share…. my heart turned into a puddle of goo- you melted it! I wish I had the space and ability to plant a full garden. Maybe when we move sometime this year!

    • “The angel of plant death.” hahaha!!!

      I’m glad you enjoyed it. I’d love to make mine bigger and bigger… I know, though, it would be easy to get in over my head. Maybe that’s why God won’t let me have 10 acres yet. It’s a test. “Let’s see how you do with a corner lot in the village and we’ll go from there.” So far I’ve had mixed results. The garden did great. The grass rarely got cut. I figure if we expand the garden we’ll have less grass to worry about. 😉

  3. Ohh, I loved this post so much. We had a little garden last year, but we didn’t tend to it so it was a huge failure. I hope to challenge myself a little more this year and try some new things and ACTUALLY take care of it and tend to it like I should 🙂

    It also makes me happy that we are almost done with winter.. well closer then we were a month ago!

  4. We had many pros and cons in our garden too. And strangely, some things worked well the first two years but not the third. I’m guessing the soil has been depleted. We’ll try to rectify. I LOVE the idea of a kiwi plant. My youngest has loved kiwi since she was able to eat solid food. I’m hesitant to try it yet, however, as we have a hard enough time keeping our existing plants alive. Wisteria is considered a weed in many places. A WEED! You’d think I’d be able to not kill a WEED!

  5. Ok, I’m inspired now. It’s been a few years since we had a garden but I’m determined to get the ball rolling again. Although By the time that happens around here it will be too late to plant lettuce. Lettuce DOES NOT do well in Texas heat. 😦

    • Go for it! Even if you just get a few plants in they will make you so happy. 🙂 I imagine lettuce would be hard in a hot climate. That was the first thing in the ground here, even before the last frost of the year, and the first thing to be harvested. It did well during those cool days. We tried a second round in the fall but I think it was a little TOO cool at that point.

  6. I would love to have a garden but for now we don’t have the space. What bit of yard we do have is over run by a lab who thinks he is a goat. Seriously! He eats EVERYTHING. So until we can tear down the gigantic deck and create a more steppe like area in the back my gardening is regulated to dreaming on Pinterest.

    I am going to try to grow herbs and a few fruits in containers though!

    • Pinterest has some amazing ideas for container and vertical gardening. You know… if you don’t murder everything that grows in a container. Like I do. 😛

  7. Fun! We tried to have a little garden of potted plants on our patio and they all died. I would love to have a real garden though! Especially with lavender and herbs!

    • I’m sorry they died, but it does make me feel a little better to know I’m not the only one who has these problems! Successful Older Sister says that the trick is to plant them and then put that pot inside a larger pot with a layer of gravel in between. I’m going to give it a shot this year and see if it works any better.

  8. We haven’t decided what we will grow this year. We usually have a small garden in the green house and a larger one at our farm (it’s a campground kind of farm). My four year old loves to plant and harvest her own food! it is an awesome thing!

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