Spring might be a few months away, but now is the time to plan for the next growing season. This past week I sat down with my mom and sister for our annual seed and starter plant conversation. Right now my mom starts almost everything for me because she has space and she doesn’t have a toddler in the house (aka the human tornado).
We carefully thumb through our favorite catalogs and plan crops from beans to zucchini. Choosing which varieties have proven good to us in the last, like our favorite Lincoln peas, and discussing what didn’t do well, like eggplants no matter the variety. Swapping notes, and drawing plans that will change when we start to plant; our eyes are focused on the prize, a plentiful garden. But our gardens don’t always fit everything we set out to plant. I’ve started to build second gardens and planter boxes on the outskirts to accommodate my expanded vision.
This year I am ordering from Pinetree Garden Seeds because I like the varieties they have as well as their amazing prices. Pinetree also has organic choices, and offer several disease resistant options. I almost always go with a disease resistant plant and try to aim for things of the bush variety versus plants that will grow along the ground and crowd my garden.
Most excited to try this year:
- Cucumber: Picolino’s are smaller than normal cucumbers, thin skin, and no seeds. I think the kids and I will love them right off the vine.
- Okra: Candle Fire. These are a red variety that is highly ornamental but hope they taste good too. They are round and have no spins. I plan to grow them in the front of my house. Their big cream flowers and tall red stalks should be really pretty, plus they are delicious on the grill or fried with cornmeal.
- Flowers: I picked up a deer resistant flower mix with the goal to get a patch of wildflowers going for bees and pollinators.
Plants I know I love:
- Butternut squash, butterscotch. These seem to produce really well and are a bush variety so they don’t take over the garden. I didn’t grow this last year and it showed. This year, I’m returning to an old favorite.
- Peas: Lincoln. I keep going back to this variety. They don’t get too leggy and seem to produce really well.
- Nasturtium: I save the seeds year after year so I can’t say for sure what the variety is. But the kids love the spicy edible flowers, the bees like them, they help repeal bad bugs, and they are attractive. What’s not to love about that!
Last year we had a very wet summer and my garden didn’t do great. My plan this year is to plant a few extra of everything in hopes that soggy grounds and bug infestations don’t take out entire crops. I lost all of my squash and hardy greens last year due to the bug overlords that confiscated my garden. This year I am developing a new plan of attack. More on that later.