Basic Veggie Gardens _ Part 2

What are you planting?

Ok so here is where I get overwhelmed.  If you are like me you will have your garden spaces all marked out, soil prepped, and fertilized.  BUT there are sooo many veggies and herbs I want to plant, how will they all fit? What kinds of tomatoes do I want (cherry, beefsteak, heirloom…), how many kinds of hot peppers do I REALLY want and will I eat them all?  Here are a few suggestions to help you decide:

What to pick?   Select what you and your family love to eat, but be open to branching out to different varieties than what you see in on the supermarket shelves.   Talk to fellow gardeners or your local nursery about how many plants per person should be grown.  This gives you an idea of spacing and if your gardens can handle all the plants you want to grow.  For example; it is recommended to grow 4-6 tomato plants for a family of 4.  Four to six broccoli plants for a family of 4  (you get the point). And lastly, what do you really cook with on the regular, then  pick one or two new vegetables to test out each year.

  1. When to plant?  It is tempting to put everything in the ground on the first warm weekend in spring, but be careful: some varieties tolerate the cold; others cannot.  Before you start, ask your local nursery for the last frost date in your area and what you can plant in the cold.  For example: Carrots, spinach, lettuce, kale, broccoli, cabbage, radish, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, peas, potatoes, onions can all be started in the garden in April.   Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, squash, basil all should wait until Memorial Day Weekend.
  2. Seeds vs. seedlings-

Seeds, Pros- They’re inexpensive and you could find a wider selection of unusual varieties.  You also can grow organically from start to finish.

Seeds, Cons- They require more effort, because you may have to plant certain varieties, like tomatoes, peppers and eggplant indoors.  Also since you are starting at the beginning, you’ll have to wait longer for the harvest.

Seedlings, Pros- They give you a head start, which is especially helpful for a new and busy gardener.

Seedlings, Cons- You are limited to the varieties that the garden center has on hand.  Also seedlings are more expensive than seed packets.

My perspective

If you go back and read Veggie Gardens_ Part 1 you will see that there a couple basic ways to grow edibles; containers, raised beds or in the ground.   I generally, every year know what I want to grow for veggies and herbs and I know what space they will need.   I do a combo of containers and raised beds.  My herbs go into deck planters with edible flowers, my potatoes in a tub and my other veggies get to sprawl out in two raised beds.  I take the best of both and utilize the spaces (and sunshine) that I have on my property.