Anyone else feel like spring is in the air? Besides the unseasonably warm weather, this is THE TIME to plan for your summer garden. The reason being is that you probably have gotten a LOT of seed catalogs in the last several weeks and attached are always coupons for $25 off order of $50 or try $25 free, etc. So I did just that – I planned & ordered my 2012 seeds!! YEAH!!
Seeds I LOVED from last year that I am using again
- Carrots – Envy Hybrid (66 days) – After using this variety last year I will NEVER try another kind! We got an average of 12” long carrots. They were not split at the bottom (they plowed right through our clay soil), did not have hard cores, were uniformly sized (not extremely tapered which made them easier to peel), and the most delicious carrots we tasted! PERFECT!!
- Peas – Alderman – the vines grew over 5 feet tall and produced a LOT of peas. Each pod had about 10 plump peas in each. The plant did amazingly well even in the unusual spring we had (when my other variety died out). Heat tolerant & all around amazing producer.
- Tomatoes – For a HUGE harvest of sauce tomatoes go for the Super Marzano! The plants got 9 feet tall!! The extremely LOADED plants even pulled over my meg square cages that never come over. The fruit was almost coreless & seedless. It was all meaty & produced very thick sauce that we preserved to use all winter – YUM! (Note: The only reason we aren’t doing these again is with our vacation plans we are afraid we will not be home for the big harvest or would just be getting back & we’d have a LOT of preserving to do.)
- Beans – Pickin & Grinnin was an amazing producer for us last year (even in the odd season that reeked havoc on most of my other crops). Once it was ready it produced over and over and over throughout the end of the summer. Very tender 6-7” long beans on compact ‘bushes’; no staking required! We saved the pails from berry picking – they made GREAT kid size baskets (10” deep and 12” wide)
- Peppers – We had AMAZING results with all 3 varieties we planted last year: Wonder Bell, Lady Bell, and Golden Star. All produced THICK walled fruit that lasted for weeks and weeks on the vine. It was incredibly full flavored. Each plant set about 8-10 peppers at a time; with plenty more after we picked the peppers. The peppers were still going strong when we had to pull them out to prepare for winter.
- Territorial Seed Company – I feel like they have the best variety you will find anywhere! There are dozens and dozens of choice per plant. The plants thrive in my garden (even when they have to wait a couple weeks to get planted). The only downside is cost. I feel that they are a more expensive & they rarely have coupons. So if I can’t find what I want elsewhere….. then I know I will find it here!
- Henry Field’s – This is my favorite. You will find a large variety of choices, great descriptions, online customer reviews, PLUS coupons for $25 off an order of $50. They have quality products!
- Gurney’s – They have good products, but limited selection. They usually have the best coupons (giving you $25 off $50, $50 off $100 etc.) but like I said they have a choice or two for each product and not much unique items. If you are just starting gardening maybe this is a good choice.
- Gardens Alive – I got $25 free (no minimum purchase) to try them out. They have all natural fertilizers, garden solutions, and organic plants & seeds. They also have a descent selection of heirloom seeds. So if you are looking for great quality, but fewer choices they are a great option.
I think the reason I love gardening so much & that our garden does so well is all the help I have from my kiddos & all the love they give to the veggies =-) We have such precious memories gardening together. One year we got 30 (10-12”) cantaloupe from a 16 square feet of garden!! We kept joking Goofy could be the only kid with a melon stand instead of a lemonade stand!!
Like I mentioned before with lots of mini trips to use up vacation time I am not doing some of the interesting things I’ve tried in the past (peanuts, beets, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, watermelon, additional tomatoes & peppers). This year I am maximizing on things we love that will be ready towards June/July. I am trying to use two different varieties that will be ready at different times to give us extended crops: potatoes, corn, peas, green beans, carrots, and spinach. My 4 square feet of garden I save for 6 feet tall cucumbers usually produces 35 jars of pickles; so no need to add to that favorite!
Last year I did not start seeds indoors and it worked out great. I checked our forecast on May 1st (and with no frost in the forecast) put all the seeds in the ground. This of course varies by your planting zone (found in all seed catalogs!) I found that planting directly in the ground took exactly the same amount of time as starting them indoors, but with less mess & time!! YEAH!! The only exception to that is I bough my peppers & tomatoes as plants.
TIP – I sprinkle grape kool-aid around corn when I plant it to keep the birds from eating it – works GREAT!
My kids are already looking forward to helping me plant our seeds and I look forward to harvesting garden fresh veggies!! We always save a LOT of money & I know where my veggies come from. So, are you planting a garden this year?