One thing I like about eating from my garden and storing food for the winter season is how it compels me to plan ahead. If I want tomatoes for winter, I must pick and can what is in my garden today. If I want green peppers for my chili or stews, I'd better get the peppers off the plant today and squirrel them away into the freezer. I know apple season is gearing up so I'd better call the orchard to see if they have bushels of our favorite varieties available. I am thinking about the windfall apples that are available for little money that make very good applesauce. There is a lot to keep in mind when you are gathering your resources together.
I admit that I have myself beat this year, though. I caught myself making a list that I usually don't make until January or February. My pad of paper is sitting next to my bed with "Things to Grow" written at the top and a nice list of vegetables lined up underneath. Here are some things on my list. So far.
Swiss Chard. I've never grown this before, but Rachel assures me it grows all summer and we eat a lot of greens.
Potatoes. I have room for a couple, or four, bushes along the side of the house.
Rasberries. We just pulled up the scabby shrubs in front of the house and we'll plant yummy berries.
Leeks. Again with the yummy.
Basil. Gotta do it. Maybe 12 plants. I love freezing pesto for the winter.
Green peppers. We love green peppers and they are expensive at the store and often loaded with pesticides.
Onions. My parents had a huge crop this year and it looked really appealing.
Garlic. This is a fall-plant crop. It seems so effortless in spring when the shoots come up like magic.
Dill. I'm not sure this really counts because all of my plants come up as volunteers, but since I freeze the dill weed and dry some dill seed, I think I will count it.
Carrots. Next time I'm going to lay a board over the seeds until they germinate. This will prevent them from getting choked with weeds before they even get started.
Lettuce. We don't often buy lettuce at the store and after a long winter without much for fresh vegetables this first spring crop comes like manna from heaven.
Tomatoes. Usually I have about 12 tomato plants, but the blight was so bad this year that I am giving up for now. I'm going to give it a summer or two before I try more than a plant or two again. Blight overwinters in the soil so it can be difficult to get rid of. So, I'm going to give it a rest next year. I hope to get my tomatoes from my dad (right, Dad? Wink, wink!).
So, this is a start, of course. I may do some kale, too, and green beans (I strongly dislike picking green beans because the leaves make my hands itch). Green beans are so simple to can and everyone likes eating them so how can I help but plant a couple of varieties?
We just have a tiny suburban lot and only a smallish garden, at that. But there's so much that I can grow right at home. What things do you grow for yourself each year?