Expanding This Year’s Garden

I wonder how many of you are expanding this year’s garden. I suppose it depends on a few things. Whether or not you feel the want or need to do so. Or maybe you already have enough garden!

Personally, I am expanding this year’s garden. Last year I added three more 4×8 raised beds. Soon I will be adding another three. As a result, I will also have to extend the garden perimeter fence – to keep out unwanted hungry critters.

My garden focus this year…

Kennebec Potatoes. This variety is fantastic at over-winter storage. I’ve grown them before and they’ve lasted 5 – 6 months in my cool temperature garage/shop over winter. Beyond that, they turned into seed potatoes to be used for the following year. This year I plan to can a bunch of them too. From a survival & preparedness standpoint, potatoes are one of the best things you can grow (if your climate allows). Why? Because they are calorie dense. They are easy to store for the future. And potatoes are pretty easy to grow – under the right and favorable conditions (as is the case with most anything I suppose). I did recently purchase this year’s Kennebec seed potatoes at our local Tractor Supply Store.

Carrots. Much of last year’s carrot crop failed miserably. And that was my fault. This year, I will overcome that problem. I want a great crop in order to can them. My mistake last year was using inferior soil for carrots. That garden bed was new – so I had no chance to build up good soil over time. So I bought some. What I ended up with was too ‘mulchy’ rather than loamy soil. So those tiny-tiny carrot seeds had a hard time germinating and thriving. This year I will fix that!

Winter Squash. I am focusing on over-winter storage, thus, winter squash. There are several varieties ranging from Acorn squash to Butternut squash. Butternut stores the longest, up to 6 months under ideal conditions. Whereas Acorn may get you about 3 months if you’re lucky. This year I will try some Waltham Butternut. I’m going to grow them ‘up’ on cattle panels rather than letting them vine on the ground. We’ll see how that goes.

Those plants listed above will be my ‘survival & preparedness’ focus in my gardens this year. Beyond that, we will be growing Broccoli, Cauliflower, and a few tomato plants – all of which really must be eaten fresh. I plan to stagger the broccoli and cauliflower planting so that there’s always something fresh coming in season rather than all at once!

I also grew Rutabaga’s last year. They were a smashing success. I knew they wouldn’t store nearly as long as potatoes, but at least now I know that I can grow them – and some of them got huge. They really were maintenance free. I may grow some again this year. Still working out the final plans…

Given the uncertainty in the world we’re living in right now, coupled with a highly inflationary period for the foreseeable future, I sure feel good about expanding this year’s garden.

[ Read: Rutabaga Garden Experiment Was A Success ]

[ Read: Last Year’s Raised Garden Beds Expansion ]

13 Comments

  1. I am doubling my plantings from last year and I hope to get in a late Summer garden. The next two years could be the most turbulent, unpredictable and potentially catastrophic times the world has ever seen.

  2. I’m actually gonna cut back. I didn’t even open 1 jar of last yrs harvest! Still gonna grow some, but not as much.

    Russet and red potatoes, carrots, beets, green beans, lots of squash, Roma toms, dry beans, more fruit trees, raspberries, strawberries, Oregon grape, elderberries, there’s probably gonna be more, I just don’t know yet.

    Nobody wants to help. With this bad hand/elbow, I’m gonna limit the things I gotta do. I don’t work so fast anymore and tire easily. Slow and steady, I’ll Get’re Done.

    I’ll spend a lot of time and money on infrastructure this yr, that’s what really need to be done. Root cellar, fences, another chicken house and 2 runs,, rabbit pens, trees, a rock wall, another firewood shed, compost bins larger than I got now, I built a compost turner for my tractor so I need bigger bins. With all this new construction waste I got a ton of raw material. I did finish my new shooting range for rifle (out to 1000yds), and pistol range, with moving targets, (12v). All A500 steel targets.

    1. Stand,
      Is your moving target a commercial offering or of your own design? I’ve been thinking of building one myself.

      1. Dennis
        My own design. I made it out of an old hay elevator. It took a lot of modification, but it works. Can speed it up or slow it down. Friend did the wiring, he’s a pro.

    2. SMG,
      Congrats on finishing your range. I finished my pistol range last month (40 yards is the most I could get because of the mountain) and my wife and I really enjoy it.

      I just just back from testing a .45acp load using 4.5 grains of Tite Group. One pistol liked them the other did not. That’s why folks need to know what ammo (bullet type, weight, powder etc) shoots best in which gun and not just assume “they’re all the same”

      1. Romeo Charlie
        I can go out to 100yds on pistol range, Most of it is 17ft to 25yds, Moving targets are 25yds max.
        Rifle range is 25yds out to 1000yrds.

        It’s real nice owning a 1/2mile square with a hill for the backstop.

  3. – Both my mother’s grandmother who lived south of Dallas and my father’s parents who lived in the Oklahoma panhandle grew ‘patty-pan’ squash for late summer, and crookneck for early summer. I am expanding/renewing my own garden this year and am planning to plant these. My father’s parents depended heavily on carrots (Danvers), and an air rifle put a lot of bunnies in the pot. I intend to see what else I can grow, since the past couple of years my garden has primarily been tomatoes, black-eyed peas, sweet yellow onions and okra.
    – Papa S.

  4. As I am down to my LAST jar of salsa, I will be planting more tomatoes, other than that the Red Chieftain potatoes are the go to for us. Have plenty left over in the basement, all now growing. The Yukon Gold is my favorite, but I have to build my soils some more to get them to grow and form better. I also will try the canning with the potatoes, we have always just diced, scalded and frozen for breakfast, etc. Lots of butternut, I still have a dozen left from last year! The acorn squashed dont last as long for us. Our sweet corn turned out well last year and we processed it to the freezer. Good and tender. We will be doing more of that this year as it is also a high calorie producer. Ran the chickens in the garden for clean up all winter so it is time to move them to new home and get the tiller running and get busy. I also came across a 20×48 40% shade cloth at an auction for $19 to shade the more delicate stuff with our ongoing GSM. Now just have to figure out how to secure it in our windy location!

  5. Two years ago, we left a well developed eleven plus acres, for five. Part of what we own is a five acre lake, divided by four people. The soil is not great. We have trouble growing grass…entered the Northern Tool raised beds. I need to digress and mention that the D.H. and I built two 4 by 8 by 4 and two and a half feet tall. I don’t have to tell you what we spent on lumber. Then I discovered Northern Toll raised beds. If you join their “club” you get free shipping. We added seven of their bigger beds and did four double decker. Two went into the 8X12 greenhouse and houses tomatoes, peppers and eggplant right now, along with a trellis wall of cucumbers and a round planter of carrots and lettuce.
    I’ve learned to do a lot of vertical planting for squash, cucumbers, beans, etc. We dug holes in a sunny. place and brought in huge yellow bags of good soil we used in the holes and in the raised beds. One squash that did well for us and kept for ten months (most of them) were the Candy Rooster. The are huge and tasty. We do butternut . For summer we do zucchini, esp for bread and yellow squash for squash casseroles. We planted some delicata on the edge of the corn and did some three sisters style of growing with the squash around the bottom and pole green beans growing up the corn. Don’t plant the beans too soon if you try it, let the corn develop. It needs the energy and the strength. We planted lots of tomatoes in big pots, except for the granny Cantrell, they are huge plants, so all the sauce tomatoes German Johnston and Cherokee Purple used up the pots. We also put some pepper and eggplant in them. This makes for a lot of specialized watering all over the place, but it is what it is. I first use my water from the rain barrels. I wanted to cut back when we moved but this is not the time. Also added another chicken coop.

  6. Forgot the all important medicinal garden. I had to pick and choose: Holy Basil, Calendula, Marshmallow, Echinacea, Feverfew, yarrow, Ginger root, horse radish, Lavender, Lemon balm, peppermint and Valerian. I also have a lot of culinary herbs in a different beds, The Marshmallow is down near the lake and the invasive plants are in pots. Mints run along the chicken coop to discourage some insects. I still have a lot to learn and have only dabbled in herbal medicine in the past. The lemon balm will run next to the greenhouse.
    Has anyone heard that Russia sold John Deere Tractors from Ukraine and John Deere disabled them from the factory? If this is true, Russia can do the same to us, esp. with China’s help. They can also mess with the heating and cooling in our processing plants.

  7. Never eaten a rutabaga, interesting choice.
    I wonder if they hold as long in the ground as potatos?

    So far all ive managed to do in my garden is raise 3 bucks and half a dozen does, 🤪

    1. No, they don’t last that long. They started getting soft in my cold storage after about 2 months. Though still edible. Not everyone likes rutabaga – because they taste kind of like a turnip.

      We’ve had two groups of does around all winter, and now into the early spring. A group of 4 and a group of 3. On occasion, they do battle. It’s quite fun to watch.

    2. I find rutabagas have a meaty texture like parsnips. Turnips seem watery. Rutabagas are good wedged, spiced, and roasted in the over or grilled on the bbq.

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