By Jannie Vaught
What to plant in the garden is dependent on the size, location, full sun, or partial shade and grow what you like to eat. With soaring fuel costs, lack of fertilizer, and this “whacky” ever-changing up and down weather it is time to make a list and get serious about your garden. Many of us have yard gardens some have spacious areas to garden in and some use raised beds, containers and many of our locations here in Central Texas have deer pressure. As you begin to plan your planting there are many wonderful vegetables to decide upon.
Are you gardening for food or fun?
What do you need to prepare for the coming year and also consider we are in drought conditions. So your rainwater may be the saving grace you need to have when July and August arrive with the possibility of restrictions on water usage. We could get monsoons but you never know. Here are some I have grown or attempted to grow that are “Not on my list this year.”
The Not this year list:
Artichoke, needs at least 5 feet of space and it does take several years. Broccoli and Brussels sprouts and Cauliflower. Some have great success with these but for a limited space garden they take up to much space and are the favorite food of stink bugs and aphids, with cabbage moths. Depending on your space corn may be on the list, corn is wind pollinated and need to be planted in blocks, not straight rows, and a minimum of 100 plants to get adequate pollination. Also in our area, I get wind blowing things over every year unless I trellis. So this year corn may have to wait to be planted at the end of July when many of the early plants are finished. These are vegetables that I can purchase with great sweet corn from my grocery store along with Big Texas watermelon and cantaloupe as they take large amounts of space to grow.
” What Is going in”, as I feel the pressure to make this season grow as much food as the possible garden it will be, Red and Yukon gold potatoes, beets, purple hull peas, green beans, these are fresh greens and not pinto dry bean type. Growing an adequate amount of dry beans that will fill my needs takes very large plots that need to stay in the ground until they dry for harvest and that takes a long time when I could be rotating something else in. Cucumber is trellised and a must-have for fresh, and pickling, of course, Heritage open-pollinated tomatoes, and sweet and hot peppers. Make sure they are far apart as they will be pollinated by insects and you can get a hot cross in the sweet. Onions are in now as I cook with onions, and the easiest to grow garlic which was planted last fall. Now on to greens, lettuce is on the list, as are collard greens, mustard greens, and esearly peas, I trellis them, we also have great success on a trellis with foot-long beans, lots of food with little space.
And for most of us, a garden isn’t a garden without the many varieties of Okra! Planted in-ground when warmer weather arrives and they just keep producing so harvest daily. Along the side of the lettuce, there will be radishes. For many of us here in our location summer squash is a problem due to the vine bore insect that many of us have, I plant Red Kuri squash a winter squash the second week of July after these specific insects are finished, and gone. Herbs are high on the list and Basil, dill, and thyme are my preferred.
Now that you have seen my list I urge you to make your own list so that you too are growing as much food as possible this coming season. Plant for what you have space for, grow what you like to eat, and consider using containers to fill in the small spaces for patio or even semi-shady locations. This year the pressure is on to fill in the pantry. We can and will have an abundant season with a little planning.
Growing Green and planning ahead with Jannie