Sunday, May 7, 2017

My 2017 Edible Garden Plan

Mid-May garden
Sunday, May 7, 2017

There are veggies and herbs I keep in my garden year after year and then there are the “experiments”.  I have my standby’s but I love trying new things each year.  New varieties or just new kinds of edibles.  I try new varieties to find the ones that are most prolific for my garden conditions and taste.

The perennials in the garden are your back bone.  They come back year after year with no effort on your part.  They are the first up in the spring and the last to leave in the winter.  If the winters are not harsh, many are harvestable year round.  Midwest Perennial Vegetable Garden

Edible perennials in our garden:
Herbs-lavender, bay laurel, rosemary, thyme, sage, mint, thyme, oregano, salad burnet, common chives, tarragon, horseradish, garlic, Elephant garlic, and leeks.  For more on growing herbs, Start a kitchen herb garden!  I am adding a creeping thyme with various flower colors this year.  Our rosemary did not make it through the winter, even though it is hardy in our zone.  I am trying two new hardy varieties Tuscan Blue and Arp.  The sage was so large that I was able to take a good part from a self-rooting stem and replant at my mother-in-laws.
Vegetables/Fruits-Goji berry, potato onions, Egyptian walking onions, French sorrel, blood veined sorrel, chard, cultivated dandelions, strawberries, apples, figs.  Corn salad, cilantro and sprouting broccoli both came back from their own seed.  I also had many self seeders come back: carrots, tomatoes, corn salad, lettuce, and cilantro. 

I have annual herbs, flowers and vegetables that I grow each year.  Most I have to either start from seed or purchase bedding plants from the store.  There are some that self sow and will come back year after year with no effort on your part.  Self-seeding crops, plant once and forget 'em
Large seeds are started in peat pots with starting soil and small seeds in the Aerogarden on right
Edible annuals I can’t live without that I have in my garden this year:
Herbs-celery (Utah), cilantro (Slo Bolt since our springs are short), basil (Lettuce Leaf and Genevose for cooking and pesto), borage, Wild Zaatar oregano (from Jordan/Israel), two new varieties of sage (Blue Monday and Salvia Sirius Blue mainly for their blue flowers), dill, English thyme and chervil for cooking and adding to body oil.  I have to have parsley in the garden.  It is a self-sower and usually comes back each year, which it did this year so no more are needed.  
Vegetables/Fruits-Solid red Terra Rose and solid blue Purple Majesty potatoes (started from seed potatoes), sweet peppers (Sweet Yellow banana, overwintered Ancient Red, Pizza, Feher Ozon paprika, Healthy), hot peppers (a Sicilian pepper Bocca Rossa, Ancho and Poblano for chili powder), summer squash (Early Prolific Straightneck and Cocozelle), green beans (vine types-Romano II, Scarlet Runner, Golden Sunshine Runner, Purple Podded and Bean Blauhilde), storage beans (Portal Jade, Good Mother Stollard and King of the Garden lima beans) and tomatoes (Cherokee Purple, Italian Red Pear an heirloom paste, Principe Borghese, Chocolate Pear, small and medium yellow storage tomatoes from Sicily, Black Vernissage, Lucid Gem, Patio Princess for the pot, and Rosella).  I always keep cayenne and jalapeño peppers in the freezer for salsa and cooking.  Right now, I don’t think I need to restock so I’ll wait and see on planting this year.

Other veggies I am doing this year are carrots, turnips (Purple Top and Golden), beets (Chioggia), tyfon for greens, Red Rubin brussels sprouts, many varieties of chard (Verde de Taglio, Bright Lights, Rainbow Neon Glow, Fordhook, Golden, Perpetual), Radish Rat's Tail, Spaghetti squash, Red Burgundy Okra, cucumbers (Mini White, Homemade Pickles, and Jaune Dickfleischige) and eggplant (Turkish Orange, Casper, and Kazakhstan).

For greens, I always plant and start a variety of lettuces, spinach and Giant Red mustard.  Lettuce plants purchased: Red Romaine, Buttercrunch, Red Leaf, Paris Island Cos, and Crisphead.  I'll need to start heat resistant types soon like Jericho Romaine and Simpson Elite loose leaf Bolt-free, sweet summer lettuces   I'll also have to so some Grand Rapids as it was one my Granny grew in her garden.  If you let your lettuce go to seed, you can save them and never have to buy lettuce seed again.  Never ending salad from one packet of seeds  I am also growing Dwarf Moringa.  It's a small tree that leaves are chock full of protein and can be used as a green.
Flowers interplanted with herbs and edibles
Annual flowers seeds started:
I always add flowers to the garden.  Not only do they look nice, they attract pollinators that increase yields.  Cock’s comb from seed my dad gave me years ago, Hummingbird vine from seed a neighbor gave me years ago, marigold (great deer and pest deterrent), sunflowers, Love Lies Bleeding amaranth, zinnias, Moonflower vine, blue morning glory, hollyhock (Summer Carnival and Peach), Roselle Red Hibiscus and delphinium.  For fun, you can add edible flowers to the garden.  Growing and using edible flowers

I started the most of the small seeds in the Aerogarden and the large seeds (squash, beans, Moonflower, cucumber, sunflower) I started in peat pots on a heating mat.  I planted the beans directly in the garden.

I decided against broccoli, cabbage or cauliflower this year because the beetle pests were awful last year.  All three of these are in the same family.  Without their preferred food this year, the pests should die off and I’ll plant back in the garden next year.

I plant the crops that like cool weather on the north side and where there is more shade to extend the season.  The heat lovers I plant where they get the most sun and won’t be shaded by others as they grow. 

I like to interplant flowers and crops.  This keeps the pests down by not planting one type of crop all together.  The flowers attract pollinators and can even repel pests. Get the most from your space-plant intensively!  Place this year’s crops in a different spot than they were last year.  Practicing crop rotation does two things.  Each type of plant uses different minerals and nutrients from the soil.  Smart rotation will keep your soil from getting depleted of what your crops need.  Rotation also keeps the pests down.  Crop rotation made easy for small gardens

For more on preparing your soil for plant (and crop) nutrition, check out this blog.  The next step in garden production and your nutrition-soil minerals

Last summer, my veggies just didn't seem to do as well as years past.  We got a lot of rain so that wasn't the problem.  By the end of the summer, we finally figured it out.  The rain was washing away the fertilizer faster than usual.  I applied a triple dose and everything perked up.  This year, I am going to keep a close eye on the growth of our plants and when they slow down, I'll be sure to give the plants some more food.

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