Monday, April 15, 2013

Planning the garden. Part 1.

Spring is still a little late coming in KY this year. So, normally, I'd be a little behind planning the garden. But, this year, it's right on track. Many vegetables can't be planted outside until after danger of the last frost. Which is typically around Mother's Day for us.

The only real advice I want to offer is that you contact your local extension office or their resources on the Internet for planting.

Visiting local garden shows, I've collected printed information from the local extension offices and organized them in a 3 ring binder. I only grabbed those of interest to me so to streamline searching through the binder.

My approach to the vegetable garden planning is to make a "shopping list." What do I want out of my garden, what ingredients can I grow to cook fresh summer meals and preserve/store some fresh organically grown items for winter?

Here's a basic summary of my list. Though the actual preliminary list is pictured. My most basic goals are to store lots of tomato products (salsa, juice, paste, whole), pickles, beans, and others, to grow fresh salad ingredients, and my 10 year old son REALLY wants to grow some of our own pumpkins this year for Halloween. Going to try our best. (We'll share pics of progress, of course.)

I'm taking a different approach to salad items this year after doing some research over the winter. I plan to continually plant small amounts of items such as mixed lettuces, carrots and radishes each week. Once they start producing, I should be able to grow and harvest a steady amount of fresh salad for the entire growing season.

Another item I'm planting much more of this year is basil. We love pesto and I am looking forward to storing plenty!! If I could just find a cheaper resource for pine nuts!! Any tips?

A favorite vegetable of mine to grow is zucchini. It's easy We use it and yellow squash in many dishes: grill packets, stir fry, oven roasted veggies, raw with ranch dip. I like to freeze zucchini bread and muffins for winter treats also.

MY number one goal for the garden this summer: MORE STRAWBERRIES!!! You just can never have enough!!! :-) To walk out the back door, grab a couple to slice over cereal in the mornings....heavenly!

Looking forward to sharing some of my gardening journey this summer.