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3 March 2009

What are you planting this year?

Autumn is creeping up on us, slowly but surely, it's cooling down at night, and while the days are still hot, I know Autumn is there, waiting. It's my favourite time of year. We don't have pronounced seasons in the sub tropics, some say we have only two - summer and winter, but the subtlety of autumn, and the explosion of spring are there, but they're most noticeable to a gardener. So as I see the leaves yellow on our neighbour's magnificent front yard tree, and veins appear on our wisteria, I prepare myself for the new vegetable garden.

It's taking shape slowly, the way gardens should. One day a mass of weeds, bare patches and old plants hanging on, the next, weeds have gone, perennials transplanted, soil dug and raked. Compost is turned over and moistened. Plans are drawn. Bricks realigned, herbs cut back, vines trimmed.

A pineapple is moved. :- ) A garden inches its way towards a new season.

Hanno has planted corn, bok choi, chives, green onions, red onions, brandywine, amish paste, moneymaker and oxheart tomatoes, Richmond Green cucumbers, green beans, potatoes, capsicums (peppers) and lettuce. Yet to go are leeks, sugarloaf cabbage, kale, peas, carrots, radishes, turnips and white onions. There may be other odds and ends that go in too, but that is the basis of our food for the next few months.

Now they're in and growing, the seedlings will need extra care until they're properly established. If there is no rain, we'll water them every day, the tomatoes have already been mulched right up to their stems to encourage extra roots to grow where we place the mulch. The more roots we encourage along the stem, the more tomatoes we will get. Newly transplanted seedlings have been watered in with a seaweed solution to help with transplant shock, the newly established plants, like the potatoes, are watered with a weak solution of blood and bone and potash. The flowers are slowly arriving, when most of the plants have flowers, we'll give them a good watering, then wait while the potatoes grow big enough to harvest - first with us pinching new potatoes from the sides, and then later, digging the whole garden up and storing what we find. There is always something to do in a vegetable garden. The work is rewarding and interesting and you get paid in the freshest organic produce. No wonder gardening is a big part of us now.

So what are you planting this year?


  1. I'm having to down size my garden due to a temporary move to the city. While a am inspired by Little Homestead in the City, I can't do that at this home because we know that we'll be moving for work again. I live in Western Washington, USA so it's still a smidgen too cold at night to plant. With in a couple weeks though I should have lettuce, spinach, broccoli and sugar snap peas in the ground/containers.

    I also plan on cabbage, lots of greens, onions, carrots, 1 zuccini and 1 yellow straight neck squash, cucumbers and tomatoes. I've thought about potatoes because they are such an easy staple when trying to cut back $$ but we truthfully don't eat many of them. That is in part because we are trying to loose weight.

  2. For sure, for sure, lots of tomatoes. No matter how many I plant, it never seems like enough. I love the heirloom varieties, but really, any tomato that is home grown is delicious!
    I will also do some peppers, hot ones, red ones, green ones etc. And some pickling cukes...not for pickles, just for eatin'. Also some peas, radishes, arugula, baby romaine, aagghh...I can't stop!
    And I belong to a great CSA!

  3. This year I've got on my list a couple of regular tomatoes, tomatillos, one cherry tomato, a jalapeno and another hot pepper or two. I want thyme again, another basil or two, and cilantro. I'd like to plant carrots and try summer squash again, and butternut and/or buttercup. Green beans too. These are all things we eat a lot of, and buy at the store. This is only my 3rd year gardening, so I'm still in the learning stage here in Mobile Alabama USA. I've got a great teacher, if I'd ever go down there, in my old neighbor down the street. He has about 3 acres of garden and decades of knowledge. He grows tons of food, and shares too!

  4. oh to have an abundant and varied vegie garden such as you have!
    What a blessing...I know you both put much love into it.

  5. Amish paste tomatoes, purple Cherokee tomatoes, green peppers, Hutterite beans, herbs and potatoes. My final list is not finished yet, and I'm sure some other variety of tomato plant will catch my eye soon. I'm just so very ready for spring!

  6. I just ordered my loofah seeds after your post on loofah squash. I am excited to see if I can get them to grow here.

  7. Carmello, Early Girl, Sioux, and Juliet tomatoes, red and yellow sweet peppers, jalapeno (hot) peppers, red and yellow onions, green and yellow zuchinni, Orient Express and Sweet Slice cucumbers, eggplants, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, sugar snap peas, lettuces, spinach, Yukon Gold potatoes, carrots, and turnips. I'm going to try spaghetti squash this year and we will plant watermelons and cantaloupes, too. I can NOT wait to tast the first bacon, lettuce, tomato sandwich of the summer (won't happen until July)!!!!


  8. I just bought my seeds this weekend. The list is long..but average. Several lettuces, radish, parsnips, carrots, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, snap peas, green beans, cukes, zuchini... I'll plant peas, radishes, swiss chard and some other early veggies in about two weeks as well as start the hot weather veggies inside under lights for transplaning in mid May.
    I started some flower seeds that I collected last year as well. I love flowers in my garden but don't want to spend very much money on them so I'll try to grow what I need from seed, divisions and from my garden club plant swaps.
    Your veggie garden is so lovely and organized, very inspiring.


  9. Good Morning Rhonda,

    I've been reading your blog for a while now, yearning for a better veggie patch. We've tried, and tried again, and each time we let it all grow over with grass and weeds.

    Not to be put off though, we keep at it- one day it will all just work, I'm sure of it. Time to pull weeds will come as our little one gets bigger (and our bigger one gets more interested)

    The last two years we've had self seeded tomatoes come up in our garden, which we always leave alone, just stake up and work around them- and they're great.I also plan on lettuce, carrots, pumpkin, capsicum and some herbs this season. So we'll see how they go!

    Now, to get rid of those weeds... we've covered the garden with black plastic, hoping to kill off as much as we can that way, and I've started a compost heap. I'm hoping I can just dig in the dead grass and compost.

    Thanks for your blog- I always feel at home here.

    Melissa W

  10. Spring will be here March 21, but the garden is wonderfully alive and has been throughout the winter. Due to our zone, we can't grow much during the summer here due to the heat. Currently in the garden in various stages is broccoli (will start harvesting this soon), radishes, lettuce, carrots, Italian parsley, dill, thyme, cilantro/coriander, blackberries (in bloom right now), garlic, spinach, and brandywine tomatoes. We lost all our San Marzano tomatoes and basil in a rare occurance freeze the other week. I sowed just over a week ago zucchini, squash, green beans, okra, watermelon, pumpkins, cucumbers, oregano, and San Marzano tomatoes. I'll be sowing more brandywine tomatoes soon and hope to expand the garden and do a separate herb garden before the autumn.

  11. Moneymaker tomatoes and two kinds of chilis are in the propagator, along with the basil and strawberries. THe strawberry pot is planted up with the runners from last year. The Rhubarb is coming up, and the herb garden is starting to grow again. IN the ground are broad bean, peas (under cloches) and the garlic, with a few leeks still to be dug up. In two weeks go in the Maris Piper potatoes, then the spring onions, more peas, purslane, and lettuce. Then, In late April/May, more lettuce, the French beans, the carrots, the arugula, and finally the zucchini. By that point, the tomatoes, and chilis will be in growbags in the greenhouse. But the thing we are holding our breath for is to see how the seven trees we planted last year to make our little orchard did over the winter. Fingers crossed!


    Anna Marie

  12. This year is my first year, and I keep finding my list growing. I finally decided no more seeds, no matter what. I am planting one potato, greens, spinach, hot peppers (3 types) bell peppers, cukes, tomatoes and tomatillos.

  13. Well it's time for me to think about winter things (I am picking cherry tomatoes galore at the moment, cucumbers are growing, leeks are starting to thicken up, herbs are looking wonderful) it is time for me to plan so that i can create more vegie garden space. I have ordered a whole lot of herbs for companion planting around the three fruit trees I was given last year so just waiting for the phone call to say they have arrived.

  14. I will be starting my gardening season on March 15th when I put sweet potatoes in glass jars to begin the sprouting process. Five potatoes will usually give me ten dozen slips that will go in the ground after the frost free date. We will also have our regular fresh asparagus with green onions, lettuce, radishes and spinach. Peas will go in the ground as soon as it can be worked. They will come up when it is warm enough for them. We will have green beans, brandywine tomatoes, squash (both summer and winter), sweet corn, cucumbers, peppers and the list could go on and on. This is my most favorite time of the year.

  15. I haven't thought much about it yet, with moving, renovating, and the baby on the way!
    But I gathered my seed catalogues up today, and am hoping to delve into them tonight or tomorrow (and hopefully start seed saving this year, so that I can skip this step for next!)!
    Thanks for the post :)
    Melanie in Canada

  16. Oh my, I may have ordered too many seeds, I am not sure where I am going to put everything!

    I have onions, leeks, spinach, lettuce, radish, peas, 2 kinds of beans, butternut squash, muskmelon, carrots, beets, cucumbers, 2 kinds of tomatoes, green peppers. I might have missed something here!

    I have a few things started indoors and they are growing like crazy, I am afraid they will be ready before the weather breaks and I can get some more beds fixed up.

    Pretty sure I am going to be lining the front sidewalk with squash and have green beans growing up the front porch. I wonder what my stuffy neighbors will think?

  17. We are doing paste and slicing toms, pickling and salad cukes, a huge variety of peppers, corn, pole beans, sugar snap peas, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, a slew of herbs, squashes and also loofah.

  18. This year I'm planting all the ingredients for my homemade picante sauce in raised beds: tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, cilantro (coriander). Everything except the garlic so far. I also want to grow a barrel of potatos. Last year I did a little container gardening but I wonder if the roots need the cool of the earth here in Texas in order to do well.

  19. We're expanding this year and I'm going to try way more than I've ever done. I'm excited and overwhelmed. Every year so far though I've done just enough so it's time to start trying to push past my comfort zone and really start growing. We'll be growing broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, parsnips, turnips, carrots, peas, snap peas, green beans, all sorts of greens (cooking and lettuce), brussel sprouts, of course tomatoes, peppers, etc. some herbs, what else? onions, leeks, etc. Yeah excited and overwhelmed :)

  20. hi Rhonda - seeing your garden photos and hearing about the stages you are at is wonderful. Hopefully my husband and I can work on getting our deer fence up in two weeks and get something going - even though it will be late for somethings. I did plant a Rhubarb plant near the deck and made a little cover for it out of chicken wire. We still will freeze some nights here in S. Texas so I have to cover the rhubarb at night if freezing is in the forecast. I also have basil coming up nicely in a large pot sitting on my night stand. no room for much else on the night stand (ah what I will give up for loads of basil to make pesto). I have lettuce in pots on the screen porch. so that is what I can do for now and dream of my nice big garden in the very near future......Emily

  21. We are planting more items that are from our region. We live in the desert so we are going to try and maximize this.

    I used your link and ordered from Onalee's and I am so thankful. She was so fast that I ordered and had delivery from Monday to Friday.

    As to the rest we have a very gray water friendly garden area, and have the typical fanfare going forth too.

    Tomatoes, onions, pinto beans, green beans, anasazi beans, corn, peas, turnips,jalapenos, chilis, serranos radishes, kale, cilantro, garlic that is soon to be harvested, tomatillos, ground cherries, vine peaches, cotton, Indian corn, avocados, canteloupe, watermelon, pumpkins, acorn squash, zucchini, cucumbers, a kitchen herb garden, and what I can a medicinal herb garden.

    We spend much time in the garden and the farm, and I am certain I have forgotten some...

    Thank you for sharing your life with us, it is a delight!

  22. I just posted a list of what I'll be growing on my blog. Check it out if you'd like. I'll be posting updates as our Spring and Summer progress.

  23. Each year, we seemed to enlarge our growing plot little by little. This year again, we will enlarge a small area of 10'X100'.

    We plant the basics or staples of vegetables/fruits. Nothing fancy. We focus on "OP" Open Pollinated and Heirloom varieties.

    We will be sure to plant alot more kale and cabbage and carrots for winter store.

    It is hard to think about planting and growing here, just yet. We are not out of the snow zone until April.

    Thank you for a great topic.

  24. Hi Rhonda,

    I've been reading your blog for a few months, but never commented before. I' ve never tried planting anything before, but I'm getting ready to plant a variety of salads, cherry tomatoes and strawberries (I bought the seeds last weekend). That might sound not much at all, but all of these will be planted in containers, since I only have a small urban balcony. Fortunately it's south facing and hopefully the plants will be happy there!
    Thank you so much for your blog, it is so inspiring!

  25. just a quick question, if you don't mind....I notice that you have grass up to the edge of your garden beds ( like I do) How do you keep the grass out of the vegies?

    Love reading your blog every day. You have so inspired me!!


  26. I usually love the turn of the season and the opportunity for a fresh start in the garden but we head away in 4 months so I'm not putting in a winter garden this year. Actually, today I couldn't help myself and planted a few seeds just to see if they'll yield anything before we go (things like lettuce and silverbeet that are faster growing).

    Even though I'm a novice gardener, I will miss my garden while we're gone (we'll be away 14 weeks).

    I'd love to hear your thoughts on the best thing to do with the garden while we're gone. I'm wondering about mulching it fairly heavily and leaving it to "rest" in preparation for planting when we return.

  27. Soon my asparagus will be coming up -- that is always the first thing I can harvest.

    Otherwise I'll just have a few simple things: tomatoes, peppers, basil, yellow squash, zucchini. I want to try a few new things, too: pumpkins, acorn squash, and several kinds of potatoes. I'm hoping to have more produce that I can keep into the winter months.

    Here in North Mississippi I just haven't had much luck with cool weather crops. I'd like to try spinach and broccoli, but it seems like we go from too cold to too hot (or in the fall, from too hot to too cold) more quickly than these plants need.

    I'm also hoping to grow some grain to supplement my chicken's diet next winter (and mine, too, for that matter). I've read that Golden Amaranth is easy and prolific and maybe some millet also.

    Rhonda, I just love looking at photos of your garden. They are an inspiration!

  28. I just made my wish list last night, I enjoyed it so much. Now I need to compare it to what I have left over from last year. This year I am going to expand and try cabbage and Kale. We will continue to have all of our favorites: beets, pole beans, cucumber, lettuce, spinach, bunching onions, peas, potatoes, radishes, spinach, squash, basil (and other herbs) and many tomatoes! We are also going to try (again) carrots, hot pepper and eggplant. Hopefully the soil and weather will cooperate. It seems like a lot for a small city garden, but we use our space wisely. I always look forward to spring in the Pacific Northwest.

  29. What we are planting? Just a few simple things; beans, radishes, various herbs. Perhaps tomatoes. We're nowhere near living even partly off our own produce, but having some fresh veggies will be so nice. Also, we hope for another nice yield of grapes and pears this year.

  30. Just discovered your blog from here in the NE at the recommendation of a friend from Michigan and so enjoy your posts, especially the photographs of your chickens which could not help but bring smiles.

    My pottager is so much like yours with raised beds surrounded by a stockade fence and I plants most of the same things. I have just ordered seeds for mostly heirloom varieties, plus seven pear trees to espalier on the stockade fence and some more climbing roses. We are blanketed with snow here again so I am still just "thinking spring".

    Looking forward to following your blog!



  31. I'm coming to terms with the fact that because of health and other issues I wont be gardening this year, apart from getting one very small border back in shape. So I'll be here, enjoying your garden as a compensation. I'm so glad you kept the pineapple! RosieB

  32. Beans because they're easy! And carrots, leeks, cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage - all the hearty winter vegies.
    I've just started reading, and am really enjoying your blog!

  33. lots! I've just started my first batch of vegies, but I sow continually through winter. Pak choy, leeks, fennel, cabbages, beetroot,broccoli, all sorts of things. I keep trying carrots, but my soil is still too heavy. I have a seed-planting primer in progress at my blog, too.

  34. Hello Rhonda:
    We are going to give a go at a small raised bed garden. I want a tomato or two for canning, and one or two to slice and eat. I'd like beets, green beans, radishes, a cuke, pepper, yellow squash and a butternut.

    I noticed that you lined your raised bed garden with cinder blocks. Do you have those buried much or are they supported in some other way? My husband thought that might be better that two by six boards.

    Thanks for all of your good advice.


  35. Becky, the cement blocks are set on even ground - about 2 inches into the soil. They hold up well just with the support of the soil. Good luck with your garden.

  36. This autumn / winter will be all about preparing the soil at our new home.

    Am planning on growing potatoes (to build up the beds), peas and broadbeans (partly as green manure). Other than that - am going to learn from everything you've taught me over the years and prepare the soil so that next summer we can grow some wonderful corn, beans, luffas, pumpkins etc.


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