In this year’s garden I plan to grow food that will help us be more self-sufficient. Below I am share what I plan to grow and the varieties.
Growing Food and Being Self-sufficient
Being more self-sufficient… It is scary to write that down because it feels so impossible right now. I’d love to be able to grow most, if not all of our own produce (meat and dairy as well).
Although I don’t think I’ll reach that goal this year, I hope to make progress towards that goal. If I could grow 50%, I’d consider that a successful year.
Why do I want to grow my own food and be more self-sufficient? Isn’t that going to be a lot of work? The answer to that second question is YES. It is easier to go to the store and just buy all my food for the week. But there are several good reasons in my opinion to be more self-sufficient.
Knowing where my food comes from is important to me. With the rising rates of chronic illness in our country, it is important to me to minimize the toxins our family comes in contact with. Having a garden and growing my own food every year is a way to be sure our produce is organic and nutrient rich.
Another reason for growing a garden and trying to be more self-sufficient is food security. Do you remember last spring? When the stores were out of toilet paper and paper towels? Yeah, and even some food. We probably never thought we’d see the day toilet paper and food was hard to come by, but we did. I like knowing I have a freezer full of meat and a pantry stashed with dried and canned goods and a garden full of produce. And seeds, seeds and more seeds. Ben thinks I have a seed hoarding problem. haha… I probably do.
The last reason for growing my own food, believe it or not is I actually love it! The garden is amazing! If you don’t have a garden you should try it this year too!
Researching, Learning and Trying New Things
I’m planning to grow some new types of produce that I haven’t grown before. It is taking me time to research and gather all the information I need so I can be successful. Every year is a little different in the garden and there is always so much to learn.
I’m also going to try to persevere my summer harvest primarily through freezing and curing, but I’d like to attempt to can tomatoes and pickles this year as well.
Growing to do. Things like winter squashes, potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots and onions all store well. And I will be able to keep them in my newly cleared out root cellar come next harvest time. There is something thrilling about the idea of having shelves stashed full of storage food for the winter.
Blog Series – How To Grow…
Because I’m doing so much research, I started a series on the blog called How to Grow. Having a place to compile everything I’m learning will be extremely helpful. And it will keep all the information more readily available in my brain if I take the time to compile it and write it down. Kind of like doing a research paper way back when I was in school.
I want add new information as I learn it and experience it too. It would be a great resource to refer back to every year. Also, it would be a way to keep track of the things that actually work and don’t work.
Although I’ve had a garden since I was a kid, I still feel like I have so much learning to do! Especially if I want to become more self-sufficient and less dependent on other farmers to grow our food.
This Year’s Garden Plan Layout
Below is a little sketch I did of ideas I have for our garden this year and years to come. It’s fun to dream of a garden shed and every bed filled with good things to eat.
This Year’s Garden Plan – What Varieties I’m Growing
Below is an extensive list of all the crops and varieties I’m hoping to grow this year.
I ordered my seeds from Johnny’s this year. In the past I have ordered from Baker Creek and Seedsnow. I’ve also heard good things about True Leave. If you are looking for seeds you should order now as they are selling out quick. Places like Home Depot and Lowes still seem to have a good selection as of right now.
- Lettuce – Merlot, Buttercrunch, Lunix, Big Boston, Ice Queen, May Queen, Rocky Top Lettuce Salad
- Spinach – Merlo Nero, Bloomsdale Long Standing
- Swiss Chard – Five Color Sliver Beet
- Peas – Improved Maestro, PLS 595, Dwarf Grey Sugar
- Beans – Marvel of Benice, Chinese Red Noodle
- Radishes – Easter Basket Mix , Easter Egg II
- Carrots – Danvers 126 Half Long, Cosmic Purple, Parisienne, Bolero, Sugarsnax 54
- Beets – Bull’s Blood, Chioggia Guardsmark
- Kale – Blue Curled Scotch
- Broccoli – Romanesco Italia, Calabrese Green, Sprouting
- Cauliflower – Durgesh 41
- Cabbage – Brunswick, Mammoth Red Rock, Glory of Enkhuizen
- Onions – Australian Brown, Bianca Di Giugno, Redwing, Talon, Matador (Shallots)
- Microgreens – Mild Micro Mix
- Tomatoes – A Grappoli D’Inverno, Sunrise Bumble Bee, Edox, Brandywine, Nepal
- Peppers – Lilo, Carmen, Escamillo
- Summer squash – Bennings Green Tint Scallop, Zucchini Rampicante, Squash Straightneck, Dunja
- Cucumbers – Natsu Fushinari, Muncher
- Winter squash – Canada Crookneck, Vegetable Spaghetti, Jarrahdale, Flat White Boer, Long Island Cheese, Autumn Delight
- Melons – Wilson’s Sweet Watermelon, Ha’Ogen, Hale’s Best 45, Asian Melon Golden Crispy
- Corn – Stowell’s Evergreen
- Sweet Potatoes
Perennials – Seeing Last Year’s Efforts Realized
We did a ton of work in the garden planting a lot of perennials last year. (Perennials are plants that will grow and produce year after year). Often times there isn’t much of a harvest for the first year.
Last year we planted quite a number of perennials; apple trees, peach trees, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries and asparagus.
- Apple Trees – Arkansas Black, Mollie’s Delicious, Goldfish, Summer Rambo, Suncrisp, Crimson Crisp
- Peach Trees – Harbinger (?), Red Haven, Flamin’ Fury, Cantender
- Blueberries – Blue Ray, Blue Crop
- Raspberries – I don’t know the variety for these as they are “babies” from plants my grandmother used to have in her garden.
- Blackberries – Chester, Ouachita, Triple Crown
- Strawberries – Flavorfest, Earligrow (?)
- Asparagus – Jersery Knight
This year we should be able to start harvesting a lot more from the berries and should get some asparagus as well. It remains to be seen if we will get peaches or apples as they can often take longer to start producing.
* the (?) in the list above are a good reminder to keep a garden journal so you can remember what you actually planted…
Planting flowers doesn’t necessarily help our family become more self-sufficient but they are beautiful. I’d like to develop a little cut flower garden this year. Here are some of the varieties of flowers I’m hoping to grow.
- Sunflower – Mammoth, Velvet Queen Sunflower
- Zinnia – Polar Bear, Queen Red Lime, Jazzy Mix
- Sun Ball Craspedia
- Sweet Pea – Mammoth Choice
- Marigold – Giant Yellow
- Daucus – Dara
- Cosmos – Afternoon White
- Celoisa – Celway Terracotta
- Aftican Daisy
- Gailardia – Lorenziana
- Cosmos – Rubinato, Sea Shells, Rosetta
- Poppy – Alpine Mix
- Dahlia –
- Craspedia – Sun Ball
- Marigold – Giant Yellow
Many herbs are perennials and I have quiet a number I’ve planted over the years still growing. I’m hoping to add more to the garden over time as I’d like to develop a herbal apothecary.
I’d love to at some point in my life become a herbalist and know how to use all the wonderful natural remedies that God created.
Here are some of the herbs I’m growing or hope to grow this year.
- Lavender – Lavandula vera
- Thyme – Wild
- Marjoram – Sweet
- Rosemary – Rosy
- Chamomile – Zloty Lan
- Comfery – cutting from mom’s garden
- Dill – Bouquet
- Oregano – Vulgare
- Peppermint – transplants from mom’s garden
- Basil – Mammolo, Genovese
- Chives – Common
- Sage – Broad Leaf
- Bee Balm – Lemon
- Gum – Lemon Scented
- Parsley – Giant of Italy
- Cilantro – Leisure
This Year’s Garden Plan is Big
Yes, that’s a lot of plants! I know those plans are big and scary but even if I do 50% of all this I will have done well. It’s the adventure of gardening! Come and join me this year! It’s so fun!