Garden Planning 2014

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Spring is here, right? Well, besides the 71 degree day followed by the SNOW and SLEET we experienced this weekend, I know that warmer temps and sunshine are making their way into Indiana, which means I can start planning our backyard garden.

Ever since we moved into our lovely home with a fenced in backyard two years ago, John and I have had two raised beds to plant it. We’ve learned a lot in that time period – from growing far too many tomatoes in one box to not protecting our lettuce and greens from the rabbits that Brandy didn’t chase when she was in surgery rehabilitation, we knew we needed to be more strategic about our garden.

Initially, the garden was to provide vegetables to can and preserve so we could enjoy them later. I was really on a canning kick when we moved in, buying more Ball jars than my kitchen could hold. Interested in canning? I wrote a post on summer canning planning that lays out the tools your need and how to get started.

Garden Planning 2014 - Solid Gold Eats

 

From there, I canned. And canned. And canned some more. It was a hot summer and even hotter in my kitchen with stock pots of boiling water. Here’s a quick list of my favorite canning recipes:

Canned Diced Tomatoes – recipe from Food in Jars, but the process was heavily adapted

Sweet and Savory Tomato Jam – great on toast with cream cheese

Pickled Jalapenos – By far the most widely used pickled item in our house

Garden Fresh Jalapeno Relish – one of my top viewed recipes

Dill Cucumber Relish – perfect during grilling season when plopped on top of hot dogs and burgers

Classic Dill Pickles – and a cute photos of my sous chef

Strawberry Rhubarb Vanilla Jam – not from my garden, but famers market finds

The first year of raised bed gardening looked like this, each about 4′x4′:

Garden Planning 2014 - Solid Gold Eats

 

Jalapenos grew constantly but the rest of the box did not fare so well. I’m not sure why they didn’t produce as much as the jalapenos, but we also realized that squirrels and backyard creatures were getting their hands on our produce before we were.

The second year we were a little more adventurous and ambitious with our planning:

Garden Planning 2014 - Solid Gold Eats

Garden Planning 2014 - Solid Gold Eats

 

Those small planters for the lettuce, bush beans and globe/cherry tomatoes were Miracle Gro Growables and contained seed pods that could be planted into the ground and left to grow. Theoretically, they should have worked, but again we found that the animals were getting into the lettuce before we could trim it and use it ourselves. For $30.00 we received 18 different seeds to plant. It’s a great deal and I highly suggest them to anyone who doesn’t already have their seeds or plants.

Herbs were planted in containers and stayed on the deck because I would frequently go out and clip them daily.

Garden Planning 2014 - Solid Gold Eats

What does that mean for our garden in 2014? I’ll be planting lots of jalapeños because they have proven over two years they fare will in our yard, and I’ll continue to plant an container garden of herbs on the deck. But what else? Luckily, my blogger friends have a lot of ideas for me to check out.

I enjoy seeing other people’s gardens. Take a peek at these bloggers who share information about planting, harvesting and more:

Garden Battle #1 – Scratch Mommy discusses her garden and its battle with cutworms, including a solution

How to Create an Herb Garden for a Small Space – From The Berry Patch shares great tips for container herb gardens

First Year Garden Review – Real Fit Real Food Mom shares her raised beds that look way more intricate than mine!

Starting Garden Seeds Indoors –  I’ve always wanted to try this and This Farm Family’s Life has the step by step guide

Getting a Jump on Your Garden – Since Spring is still here, Katie Unscripted shares tips on how you can prepare your garden as early as February!

Natural Deer Control – Bloom shares an all natural spray that won’t harm animals but will keep them away from your garden. I need this!

 10 Easy Watering Tips – Watering takes time, but Twinkle VanWinkle explains the science behind doing it right

I’d love to hear about your garden! Do you know what you want to plant? How much space do you have? Do you use raised beds or wall gardens or both? Share in the comments!

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  • Alex

    Love this! We moved late last summer and leaving my raised beds behind was the hardest part. I’m waiting to see the sunniest parts of our new yard before I plant too much; though I’ve already got a bunch of herbs going :)

    • solidgoldeats

      That’s a great point – we have a shaded side due to a neighbors tree, but a very sunny side that gets full afternoon sun. We were lucky in that the wood we used for our raised beds lasted two years, but I kind of doubt it will last this year! But the great thing about a new yard is all new adventures! ;)

  • http://realfitrealfoodmom.com LeAnn @ Real Fit Real Food Mom

    Thanks so much for sharing my post! It was so much fun to grow a garden for the first time. I’m looking forward to this year’s crops! :)

  • http://www.thelazypitbull.com/ Christina Berry

    Lots of great information here! Thank you for sharing our post From The Berry Patch! It’s much appreciated!