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, Rahul 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 planningthat lays out the tools your need and how to get started.
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′:
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:
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.
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