Planning for Savvy Garden 2014

I was a bit behind the ball on my seed ordering this year, but I have finally figured out how the Savvy Garden 2014 is going to shape up this summer.  Last year, I was all about restoring some nutrients to my soil so that this year’s tomatoes and beans can thrive. So here’s what I’m planning for 2014 (nearly all of these seeds are heirloom varieties and can be purchased from Seed Savers Exchange):

Cold Frames

For the front yard.

Once again, I’ll be planting lettuce and arugula in the cold frames. Usually, I would only grow leaf lettuces, since they are much more amenable to a pick-and-come-again harvesting.  But I really want to try out some Romaine and Butterhead style lettuces as well, so I’m expanding the lettuce plantings to the raised beds out front as well.

I’m keeping the kale in the space next to the front steps, per usual, and I’m adding some flowers that do well as cuttings to the main front bed.

Varieties I’m growing: 

Arugula: Apollo.  

Lettuces: Gold Rush, Ella Kropf, Forellenschluss, Speckled, and a salad mix I have leftover from last year.

Kale: Halbhoher Gruner Krauser (say that three times fast!).

Flowers: Torch sunflowers, Drumsticks, Zinnias

Garden June 2013

For the back yard.

I’ve recently learned that I have a bit of a nightshade sensitivity, so I’m supposed to eat tomatoes and other nightshades in limited quantities.  Because of this, I toyed with the idea of only growing one bed of tomatoes again, but that just didn’t give us enough tomatoes for preserves last year. So I’m back to 2 raised beds of sungold tomatoes, interspersed with some basil.

Having just one bed of beans last year was plenty for our needs, so I’ll be sticking with that amount again in 2014, with a little extra arugula in the bed as well.

Last year was my first successful year growing cucumbers. I loved having a fresh cucumber or two nearly every day, and so I’m going with 2 raised beds of the same variety I grew last year.  Because I can only eat so many cucumbers, though, I’ll be adding some more lettuce (I eat a lot of salads in the summer!) and borage.

Dill, cilantro and flowers will be in the various pots and smaller planters I have around the garden, and basil will be everywhere. Sadly, I’ve had to give up on peas and zucchini – they just aren’t meant to be grown in our garden, apparently.

Varieties I’m growing:

Basil: ALL OF THE BASILS. Definitely Genovese and Thai, with some others mixed in (getting many of these as starters, not seeds).

Beans: Fin de Bagnol.

Cilantro: Starters from Agway.

Cucumbers: Edmonson, same as last year.

Dill: Starters from Agway.

Flowers: More of the same from out front + borage.

Mint: Last year’s perennials.

Oregano: Last year’s perennials.

Rosemary: Starters from Agway.

Sage: Starters from Agway.

Tomatoes: Sungold.

Thyme: Last year’s perennials.

Seed Dates

I can’t wait to start things from seed in a few weeks!

What are you growing this year? 

Savvy Garden 2013: Zucchini

JulyGarden 2

There is an old tradition of slipping your family, friends and neighbors some summer squash whenever you can manage, because home gardeners are usually drowning in zucchini and summer squash around this time of year.  In fact, August 8 is the official “Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Night.”

You know who will not be participating in that holiday? The Savvy Household.  Because somehow, zucchini seems to be one of the only things I cannot successfully grow.

The other one? Peppers. I think it just doesn’t get sunny and hot enough in the backyard for long enough.

The first year we were in the house, my zucchini plants got a bad case of powdery mildew and had to be tossed before any vegetables formed.  Last year, they were attacked by bugs, and I again got zero zucchini.  This summer, my zucchini plants were lush and leafy. I cross-planted them with borage and nasturtium to help with the bugs, and everything seemed to be going well.  Except, the female flowers never seemed to open.  The result? Tiny 2″-long zucchini-to-be that withered and died because they never got pollinated.  

Sad face.  However, I have been getting a ton of cucumbers (5 last week alone, and plenty more babies on the vine) and the beans have started coming in.  I’ve never had more basil, and I just harvested the garlic and shallots.  And I think I’m going to throw in the towel on the zucchini this week and plant some carrots and salad greens in their place.

How is your gardening going?