Planning the Family Garden Together

Our child's garden tools have sturdy wood handles and durable, colorfully painted steel implements. At our store in Kidron and Lehmans.com.

Our child’s garden tools have sturdy wood handles and durable, colorfully painted steel implements. At our store in Kidron and Lehmans.com.

Gardening is a rewarding hobby that can help you eat fresh healthy foods. But we need to be realistic – gardening is hard work: cultivating, planting, weeding, spreading compost, watering. So when you plan your garden, plant the foods you enjoy eating. This was a hard lesson I learned when I planted my first adult garden off on my own. I planted all the foods my parents had grown. Hard work and food I didn’t like to eat later. Needless to say, I made major changes the following years.

Changes were made again when my family came along. Children like gardening more when they like to eat the foods they help raise. It is important to supply them with quality tools that are their size and not to over-anticipate their attention spans.

Golden Bantam Sweet Corn Seeds

Golden Bantam Heirloom Sweet Corn – seeds in our store in Kidron and Lehmans.com.

These are our basics; yours will be foods your family enjoys.

• Potatoes – Yukon Gold
• Cabbage –Napa, Red, Solid white
• Cucumbers
• Corn – Butter & Sugar bicolor
• Beets – Bull’s Blood
• Tomatoes – Heirlooms and cherry
• Peppers – bell and hot
Broccoli and cauliflower
• Bush beans- Blue Lake
• Snow peas
• Eggplant
• Squash – yellow, zucchini, and butternut
• Onions – yellow and red
• Herbs- thyme, rosemary, sage, parsley, chives, basil and mints
• Lettuce – Butter crunch and Red oak
Swiss Chard
• Asparagus
• Watermelon – Sugar Baby
Cantaloupe/Muskmelon

Amish Muskmelon (Cantaloupe) Seeds at our store in Kidron and Lehmans.com.

Amish Muskmelon (Cantaloupe) Seeds at our store in Kidron and Lehmans.com.

There are variations to what will end up in the final plan, but this is where we start. This may seem like a lot, but you do not need to plant a hundred plants of each – five or six, or even two or three will work for many of them. We donate our extra produce to the local food pantry; they love distributing extra squash, tomatoes or beans.

Find more tools for planning your garden here.

American Gardener Tim Takes 2014 Plan from 2013 Garden

Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving

Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving

One of our American Gardeners, Tim, isn’t a stranger to Country Life. He’s the man behind the title “Prepper Dad”, and has shared his common-sense ideas about preparing for emergencies. One of his biggest ‘to-do’ items is growing and preserving his garden’s produce. Last year, he canned and froze hundreds of containers of veggies, fruit and herbs from what he calls “the small garden.” He’s shared some pictures of that project as he prepares for gardening in 2014. “This has been the longest winter in a long time, I’m telling ya,” he says. But he’s readying sprouts and seeds, some of which are the varieties included in the American Gardens project. And he’s looking forward to a bigger garden in 2014.

The garden just after planting peas and lettuce in back left corner, 160 walla walla and texas sweet onions in row on left edge up to near left, first saturday in april. Strawberry patch in center back still overgrown and un-netted. Rest of area freshly scraped of weeds by a hoe and the soil loosened an broken up by hand with a garden fork. about to spread 3 bales of straw 6-8" deep over whole area but 1/2" deep in onion bed. Shallow roots and bulbs need light and water to grow

The beginning…
The garden just after planting peas and lettuce starts in back left corner, 160 Walla Walla and Texas sweet onions in row on left edge up to near left. This is the first Saturday in April 2013.

Strawberry patch in center to right back still overgrown and un-netted. Rest of area freshly scraped of weeds by a hoe and the soil loosened and broken up by hand with a garden fork. Shortly after this photo, I spread 3 bales of straw 6-8″ deep over whole area but only 1/2″ deep in onion bed. Shallow roots and bulbs need light and water to grow!

The peas on April 12, two weeks old & about to get 2nd and last shot of miracle grow. Used twine from TSC to make trellises for vines to climb. had to cover with bottomless milk jugs twice to save lettuce ftom frost.

The peas on April 12, two weeks old & about to get 2nd and last shot of liquid fertilizer.

Used twine to make trellises for vines to climb. Had to cover lettuce with bottomless milk jugs twice to save the lettuce from frost. It got really cold in April last year, but it’s colder this year! Continue reading

Save Seeds, Plan Ahead: How B. Girard Does Garden 2014

Tasty fall harvest!

Tasty fall harvest!

Our seed order has been placed and major braggathon on the frugal me. This is the end of the fourth year of gardening for us, and in true form I have gone big already for year five!

And by go big I don’t mean that I am growing a garden that would feed the masses, since I don’t, and don’t intend to. This is about us, after all and about being frugal and sustainable, which I am learning are two things that are so completely intertwined in so many ways that they are practically impossible to separate. Continue reading