Okay, so you’ve found the space for your garden. Now, what to grow? Ask yourself these questions:
What do you like to eat? If you only have a small space, choose wisely and pick the things you are least likely to get sick of. For instance, while I like the occasional cucumber, I don’t like them enough to devote any garden space to the plants. I was drowning in cucumbers last year (my own fault, as I didn’t realize how productive a single plant could be and had 8 plants). Spinach and tomatoes, on the other hand? Though they produce a lot, I know I’m not going to get sick of them!
How much bang do you want for your buck? And not just in terms of money, but time, energy and space as well. If you consistently pick them, zucchini, lettuce, tomatoes and herbs will keep producing more and more food. Plus, plants like spinach and radishes grow quickly, so you can do a second or even third planting throughout the season for even more produce! Plants like broccoli, onions and carrots, however, only grow one unit per plant and take a long time to mature, so they are’t as space or energy efficient. If you only have a little space, these probably aren’t the best choice.
Where do you live and when will you need to plant? Living in the northern part of the country, I know that our warm season is too short for me to plant all the seeds directly outside. Heat-loving plants like tomatoes and peppers need a lot of time to grow, so I’m going to need to start growing the seedlings indoors in the spring to plant outside once the soil warms up…and I’ll need space by a sunny window for that! But spinach and kale grow quickly enough and handle the cold well enough that I can wait and plant them directly outside.
What cans/freezes well (if you have space to grow a little extra)? I know I’m going to want to freeze some summer vegetables to use in the cold winter months. Most veggies such as spinach, beans, peas and corn freeze remarkably well, while tomatoes are easy to can in the form of chopped tomatoes, salsa and pasta sauce. Taking the time to freeze and can during the gardening season will save money and help me keep eating locally in the winter!
Next up: Choosing which varieties or breeds of each vegetable to grow!
What I’m Growing:
- Tomatoes (lots)
- Peppers (lots)
- Beans (lots)
- Peas (lots)
- Spinach (lots)
- Lima Beans
- Summer Squash
- Cauliflower (maybe)
- Brussels Sprouts (maybe)
- Maybe some cherries or raspberries… still considering this!
- Basil (lots–I want to freeze some pesto)
- Rest to be determined…
What are you going to grow?? Or if you aren’t gardening, what do you wish you could grow?