As I sit here typing the main garden is dusted with fresh snow and the temperature is hovering around freezing. So naturally, I feel the need to put together my garden plan all the while thinking about warm, sunny mornings checking for ripe veggies with the buzzing of bees and the zip of hummingbird wings all around.
Post updated for 2021 growing season.
Details About My Garden Space
The main garden is deer-fenced and measures 50 ft wide by 60 ft long for a total of 3,000 sqft. We’ve been working on the garden since we moved here in 2014. It gets better every year!
In 2018, we grew in about 650 sqft of terraced semi-raised beds. In 2019, it was a little over double that with new beds created using strawbales. In 2020, we expanded to all available space within our deer-fenced garden and made 3 terraces with buried wood under them in the 30ft x 100ft strip North of the garden. Unfortunately, the soil in this area was too compacted from the neighbor very thoughtfully leveling the ground and I wasn’t able to dig in it.
For 2021, we’ll continue growing in our main deer-fenced garden. The North garden will be getting tilled and seeded into cover crops. And I’m adding new beds to the southeast of the house which we’ll be dedicated to medicinal and culinary herbs.
The entire main garden and North garden area are on a gentle north-facing slope. Supposedly that’s a bad thing, but it’s one of the sunniest areas on our wooded property.
Where My Seeds Are Coming From This Year
Each year I save more and more seeds. Eventually, I won’t need to buy any additional seeds unless I want to trial new varieties.
I allow many of my plants to go to seed and end up with plenty of volunteers coming up in my garden. I don’t put these on any formal garden plan though.
Spring & Fall Annual Crops
In our mild climate, we can easily grow cool-weather crops. Many of the most frost-tolerant will overwinter without any protection.
Generally, I can count on Swiss chard, spinach, lettuce, and pretty much all root vegetables to stay alive all winter.
- Shelling Peas – leftover Little Marvel & Strike
- Onions – Assorted sets (spring planting), New York Early, & Red Welsh Bunching
- Leeks – King Richard & Tadorna
- Potatoes – Red Norland & Yukon Gold
- Broccoli – Calabrese Green Sprouting & Belstar F1
- Cauliflower – Amazing & Song TJS-65 F1
- Lettuce – Red Wing Mix, Little Gem, & Parris Island Cos
- Spinach – Space F1 & Bloomsdale
- Swiss Chard – Barese & Saved Seeds
- Kale – leftover Black Magic
- Collard Greens – Morris Heading
- Cabbage – Early Jersey Wakefield
- Carrot – Parisienne
- Radish – De 18 Jours, Easter Basket Mix, & Saved Seeds
- Turnips – Purple Top White Globe, Boule D’or, & Saved Seeds
- Kohlrabi – Superschmelz & Early White Vienna
- Garbanzo Beans/Chick Peas – Prefer slightly cooler weather and are planted out in March.
Main Season Annual Crops
Our summers tend to not be hot enough to get good crops of peppers or tomatoes without careful selection of varieties, starting plants early, and for indeterminate tomatoes, weekly pruning.
Sometimes corn isn’t able to ripen in time. Last year I intended to transplant out (and didn’t). This year I chose an early corn variety and I’ll direct sow it.
Both winter and summer squash do well though! In 2021, we will hopefully be adding an arch along our center garden path to grow squash over.
- Amaranth – Red Spike & Golden Giant
- Pumpkins – saved seed, Jarradale, Tetsukabuto, Black Futsu, & Blaze F1 (for the kiddos)
- Zucchini – Flaminio F1
- Luffa Gourds
- Corn – Sweetness F1
- Cucumbers – I’m going to be lazy and buy starts locally for cukes.
- Tomatoes – Sun Gold F1, Moskvich, Japanese Black Trifele, Speckled Roman, & leftover seeds of many types
- Sweet Peppers – Jimmy Nardello Italian & Ajvarski
- Hot Peppers – Anaheim
- Green Beans – Annihilator (bush), Kentucky Wonder Pole, & saved seeds
- Dry Beans – Haricot Trabais & Good Mother Stallard
- Ground Cherries – Aunt Molly’s
- Mountain Mint
- Oregano – leftover Vulgare
- Thyme – leftover Mother-of-Thyme
- Marjoram – Sweet
- Chamomile – Zloty Lan
- Bee Balm
- Yarrow – Colorado Mix
- Parsley – leftover Giant of Italy
- Cilantro – Slo-Bolt
- Basil – Lemon, Genovese, & Dark Purple Opal
- Dill – Bouquet
No particular amounts on my garden plan for these this year.
- Ageratum – Timeless Mix
- Scabiosa – Pincushion Formula Mix
- Stock – Vintage Brown, Quartet Rainbow, & Katz Formula Mix
- Nigella – saved seed from Delft Blue
- Zinnia – Benarys Giant Mix
- Sweet Peas – Nimbus
- Cosmos – Xanthos, Xsenia, Double Click Snow Puff & Apricot Lemonade
- Rudbeckia – Sahara
- Bachelor’s Button – Classic Magic
- Nasturtium – Bloody Mary
- Marigold – Tangerine Gem
- Sunflowers – saved seed & leftovers of Strawberry Lemonade, Florenza, & Mammoth Russian
- Poppies – Hungarian Blue Breadseed & Mother of Pearl
- Columbine – Barlow Mix & McKana Giants Mix
- Delphinium – Magic Fountains Mix
- Salvia – Sirius Sage
- Gaura – Cool Breeze
- Purple Top Verbena (not the herb)
- Firecracker Vine
- Swamp Milkweed
I’ll be adding a number of perennials this year. These are coming from Burnt Ridge Nursery in Washington.
- 1 Carmine Jewel Cherry
- 1 Compact Stella Cherry
- 1 Yellow Egg Plum
- 1 Desert King Fig
- 1 Italian Honey Fig
- 2 Chestnuts: Silverleaf and Colossal
- 1 Timber Black Walnut
- 3 North American Black Elderberries
- 1 Black Gooseberry
The Deer Barrier Hedge Experiment
In 2020, I set out to try to create a thorny hedge around the new terraced North garden. Between the compacted soil and the wild birds stealing my freshly planted seeds, it ended up never coming together. Despite the bad gardening year (to say the least about 2020) I did have some artichokes survive and all of my Litchi tomatoes are still alive (barring any serious cold snaps between now and spring).
The plan for 2021 is to start more artichokes to replace those that died, move the Litchi tomatoes out of the Main garden, and start more Maximillian sunflowers (darn birds!) for transplant. I’m opting to skip starting any eryngium this year to keep things a bit more simple.