Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Keeping the Garden Simple

It's almost gardening season, and...
We want to plant it all!
Am I alone in this?  (I bet not:)
Those seed catalogs showing up at just the right time is no accident.
If you consider how marketers approach sales,
it is no wonder that we are shown gorgeous tomatoes, luscious greens, 
and savory herbs right smack dab in the middle 
of the longest, bleakest, coldest winter days.
We must be strong!
How much of each item does your household eat?
As your mouth begins to water while looking at the 32 varieties 
of delicious corn on the cob, do just one thing for yourself.
Go get a black marker and at the top of the page
write how many pints and/or quarts of corn your family eats in a year.
Figure about 2 ears per pint (4/qt.)
Now comes the tough part - choosing which one or maybe two you want.
It's a torturous task indeed.
Do this for each item.
I find that each year I plant fewer and fewer items.
I don't mean fewer seeds.
The garden is still full.  How? you ask.
In our garden, we have 4 plots and a round.
This year, I'm planting one whole plot of tomatoes.
Rather than 3-4 plants, I'm planning on about 10.
We use quite a bit of stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce, and enchilada sauce.
I have beed canning our stewed tomatoes for some time.
Last year, I think I got the tomato sauce down (thanks to a neighbors Victorio.)
And I have recently come up with an enchilada sauce recipe that we like so will now add that to the list of things we no longer purchase from the grocery store.
Another whole plot will be green beans.
Why do they taste so good?
We eat them fresh, cooked, canned, all yumminess.
Do you 'get' where I'm going here?
The other perk to this is that there are fewer seeds to save or purchase.
Though, I am improving my seed-saving skills, I still worry that I will inadvertently do something that will ruin the seeds.
This year I am going to try a small separate patch of seed carrots,
which will take two years.
My hope is that by refining our garden, I will be able to procure my own seeds
and have plenty of the things we like to eat.
I count seeds, canning jars/lids, and gardening items as part of the grocery budget - because they are after all, and it all adds up.
By growing, harvesting, preserving and procuring future food,
we decrease our reliance on foreign markets of questionable quality products.
We strengthen our own financial situation.
And we reap the health benefits of fresh organic produce.
As often is the case, 
the simple solution can be the best solution.
Weather you grow a large garden to feed your family or a window box of herbs, you are doing something good.
Keep it do-able so you are continually encouraged 
and not discouraged by too much or too many.

And now my friends, I have a perplexing question for you all~
Why don't they sell zucchini seeds individually like they should?
Just a thought.


  1. You are so good with your garden, afraid no veg in mine though I occassionally put dried peas in a tub and like the shoots with salad

  2. Great tip on how to plan for how much to grow.

  3. Ha ha, I think it's the flour and cinnamon lobby keeping the seed count up!

  4. I love your garden, it's so pretty and neat! Are those teepees just for beans? It looks like there's another plant inside the teepee and the beans (or peas) are in between and climbing the strings. I'm just looking for ideas on how to build an easy trellis for the peas.

  5. I wish I was so organized with my garden.
    Great advice!
    We are planning on adding a few more garden beds.

  6. I'm pretty organized with my seeds. I tried to save my successful veggie seeds. I learned that after I had these awesome tomatoes that I never found the seeds for again. Still I like to try different things. I'm afraid I cannot grow zucchini.

  7. Lovely garden!

    I know what you mean about going nuts with the variety. The first time I had a garden, I was good and only got a few things. But the next time, I went crazy and it ended up being too much. Lesson learned! I still have to get my act together for a garden in this yard, before planting season. It's almost here!


  8. Still rolling on the ground after your zucchini comment... I had a year where hubby planted 39 plants and I almost ended up in an asylum. He downsized this year and it was a good thing for us. We are able to maintain the smaller garden better and it is more productive because of it. Good post! :)

  9. because zucchini should overtake the neighborhood each year ;) Thanks for adding this to From The Farm, it's one of this week's chosen favorites! Hope to see you again soon!

  10. I'd love to see how this garden has worked for you since! I hoped to do a version of this..but my farmer husband says I have to use FARM area,,,not lawn area... bummer!!!