We're starting to think about this year's vegetable garden. We usually do our main planting in March and although I thought we might be able to bring that forward a bit because of the rising prices of vegetables after the floods, it looks like it will be March after all. We're both busy with other things that are important and can't be put off. So March it is. Still that's only a couple of weeks away.
Along with all of us in sub-tropical and tropical climates, I guess a lot of my northern hemisphere friends will be reading seed catalogues and making lists of vegetables for this summer's crops. We generally plant the same reliable seeds and seedlings every year because what we grow what we eat. If you're a new gardener and you're not sure what you should be planting, you'll find the answer in your kitchen. Grow what you like to eat and what you can team up with the food you have in your stockpile and pantry. Whatever you're buying a lot of now at the store, make sure it has a spot in your garden. If you don't have a lot of space or are a new gardener, plant the vegetables that cost the most to buy and the ones you use the most of. If you intend canning/preserving tomatoes or peaches or beans, whatever it is, grow enough to eat fresh and to put up in jars.
If you love potatoes, plant some. A small crop the first year, and then expand on that in following seasons. If you have room for vines to scramble over the earth, plant some vine fruit like watermelon or rockmelon|cantaloupe, as well as pumpkin. You can store pumpkins for about six months. All vegetables, particularly melons, are great things to trade with neighbours for a dozen eggs or a jar of honey. Make a bit of room on the edges of your vegetable gardens for herbs and just plant those you eat or will use in some way in your home. Don't forget to take the time to enrich your soil with manures and compost. Nothing you will do in the garden is as important as that if you are going to rely on your garden to feed you.
I have already planted up tomatoes but we'll also plant snow peas, Lazy Housewife beans, cucumbers, beetroot, turnips, celery, capsicums|peppers, chillies, ginger, radishes, Portugese cabbage and Sugarloaf cabbage, Swiss chard, spinach, kale, bok choy and Chinese cabbage (I am hoping to share some cooking with Sunny after the baby is born). We'll put in a few lettuce and potatoes and add some chives to the already growing parsley, thyme, sage, comfrey and bay leaves.
Our backyard fruit is coming along well, we'll have another crop of lemons and oranges ready to pick soon, and a lot of passionfruit. Blueberries are starting to come on and there are some mandarins and pawpaw|papaya this year. I think we missed the bananas again but I might try a few strawberry plants closer to June. It looks like it's shaping up to be a good growing year. The tanks are full, we have compost maturing and we are ready, willing and able. Are you planting this year?