We’ve gone garden crazy here! Our garden is divided into 8 sections. Seven sections have 5 raised beds in them. One narrow section has two smaller raised beds. We have never planted all 8 sections in one year. This year we are attempting to do just that. I’m really excited. I’m also a little nervous. We are also planning a fall garden this year…a big fall garden! (If we survive the summer garden!) I have visions of canning peas while fall breezes waft through my kitchen!

Josiah and I sat down and put everything on paper – what we are planting, how much we are planting and where everything is going.  We used my favorite gardening book.
The Vegetable Gardener's Bible (10th Anniversary Edition): Discover Ed's High-Yield W-O-R-D System for All North American Gardening Regions: Wide rows, Organic methods, Raised beds, Deep soil
We “lost” that book last year and I was in a panic – so I purchased another used one. It happened to be the new “anniversary” edition.  I liked the older one better.  We found our original book within a week of the new one arriving (doesn’t that have something to do with a guy named Murphy?) so now we each have our own copy!

Of course we used this too – it keeps me on track each month.  It tells me what to do each month…in a very non-bossy, loving and quiet way of course!  I use it every month…every year!

 

This is the perfect tool for a beginning gardener who doesn’t quite know what to plant and when, or even what to plant at all! It takes them by the hand and walks them through the entire year.  It’s also great for a seasoned gardener…after 12 years of gardening, I still need it. I use it every year…I like someone to hold my hand and help me figure things out!

I keep a copy in our fire-proof safe.  Seriously. The pdf version is on sale until the end of the month.

Once we thought we had everything in place, we double checked with one other book. We always try to interplant varieties that are helpful to each other.  Sometimes they improve flavor, sometimes it is to control pests.  We also check to make sure that we aren’t putting things next to each other that are detrimental for each other.  We want happy plants! This book is the “be all – end all” for companion planting.
Carrots Love Tomatoes: Secrets of Companion Planting for Successful Gardening

I’m excited this year to be trying some new things.  We are going to try growing some of our own grains – just a small stand – we’ll see how it goes and share what we learn. We are also going to try sweet potatoes for the first time!  I look forward to planting those in a couple of months.

And then my mouth watered as we worked on our favorites – new potatoes, regular potatoes, sweet corn, popcorn, many heirloom tomatoes, lots of herbs and flowers, pole beans, bush beans, dry beans, snow peas, onions, tomatillas, paste tomatoes, sweet peppers, hot peppers, strawberries, squash, zucchini, cantaloupes, watermelons, cucumbers, broccoli, cabbage, spinach, mache, and lots of lettuces (red, green speckled, ruffled, straight, tender and crunchy!).

I’ll hate myself during canning season.  I’ll love it next winter.  We’ve been watching the price of foods going up and have decided to be very ambitious this year.  The more food we can produce ourselves, the more we can reduce our food budget.  We’ve all agreed that this will be our main summer project this year.  Each morning we will work in the garden as a family.  Afternoons and evenings will be available for canning and fun.  With all of us pitching in, I hope we can pull it off.  At least we will know we tried and we will learn from both the successes and failures.

This will be a huge experiment on our part – we’ve never taken on quite so much. You’ll get to watch.  Can we raise it all?  I promise to post our progress, or lack of it, with pictures.  Hopefully we can all learn something.  You’ll see the successes and the failures – and believe me…there are always failures.  We are concocting ways to keep the coons out of our corn.  They  usually get most of it.

I’ve been taking some classes for the last couple of months that I think will improve our odds – next week is my test.  I’ll blog about it after I’ve finished.  I’ll let you know if I passed.

Do you have your garden planned out?

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