Winter is the time to plan and prepare our beds for future harvests. For me, this year is special as it’s the first year in a looong time that I will have my own land to till. A yard I can do what I want with. Where neighbors using Roundup won’t kill the pepper plants just lovingly set in earth 2 weeks prior (yea….). It is essentially my first year planting. It is all so very overwhelming!
I completely understand, and accept, that my first year will be a learning year. I will be amazed if something grows where I initially put it, and will learn the regions of our land in terms of water and sun.
Most are telling me to start with veggies. Fortunately for me (unfortunately?) I am on the board of our local CSA, and given the nature of the program, am paid in local, organically grown veggies for my time. I am striving to incorporate more greenery (as well as reds and purples) into my families diet, but right now the CSA fulfills those needs. I would like more lettuce though, but holy wow are there a TON of variety, do you really just pick a few and try them out? I would also LOVE to grow fruits!
So then what to plant? I’m not looking for flowers (dare I say worthless annuals?), and more utilitarian. I want (need) to start small so I can carve out time to tend the garden and not be overwhelmed. There are a few herbs on my hit list that I already have seeds for, but again, I don’t want to start too big. A few weekends ago I went to a local seed swap and was completely AMAZED! I was able to pick up a couple of packets of seeds saved from local gardens!!
My current hit list (I have seeds for most of these):
- Echinecea purpurea
- Lemon Balm
- St. Johns Wort
- Rosemary (I believe transplanting my HUGE plant during winter killed it :’-()
- Cucumber (for pickling!)
- Tomatillo (purple & yellow)
- Pepper-Zulu (it’s purple, and we freeze peppers to use throughout winter)
I also have some seeds to experiment with/play with:
- louffa gourd
- Paw Paw (I’m in Zone 7)
- bee balm
I’m in Zone 7, just south of DC in a mostly wooded lot in the back, with mostly sun in the front yard. I’m hoping to do landscape gardening (plant inside designated circles at the base of trees). I have money set aside for soil improvements, and have several sources for fresh manure.
So where should I start? I haven’t researched growing cycles (what to grow when, and when to start the seed x days prior), companion planting, crop rotation……these I’m learning this year.
What are your “go-to’s”, your newbie plants that “anyone” can get to grow? I have had success with seedlings and pots in the past, the ground is a whole new world.
I would love to hear your suggestions!