Planning a garden definitely creates some love/hate back and forth within me. On one hand, I love getting excited for the things to come. The possibility of what we are going to grow and, mostly, the warmer days that are full of sunshine. On the other hand, it makes me very impatient for spring. When the snow is falling and the winds are blowing the days suddenly feel long and it starts to feel like spring is forever away. We press on with the planning regardless though! Plus, we do get to start some seeds while the snow falls still so we at least get that. Here are 10 things we’re growing this year that I’m excited about.
These are the #1 thing on our list. We grew a lot of them last year and we’re looking to grow even more of them this year. Last year was our first time canning our own spaghetti sauce and tomato sauce. We love the sauce that we canned and my mom and I have both said we need to can even more of it this year. Romas work really well for things like tomato sauce or paste because their water content is as high as some of the other tomato varieties. When you are making these products you have to cook it down to get the water out of it and using “meaty” tomatoes makes that process move more quickly.
Of course, we will be growing all different kinds of peppers but I’m excited for banana peppers. We’ve really grown to love having pickled banana peppers on hand for when we make homemade pizza. Pickled banana peppers and pickled okra have quickly become some of our favorite pizza toppings. They are easy to pickle and easy to grow! We typically buy the plants but this year I am going to try to start them from seeds.
Hear me out here. Roast these babies up and put them in your salsa. It’s a game changer! We usually grow standard bell peppers for our salsa and we will use those. However, I made salsa as part of a cooking class with roasted poblano peppers and it adds a totally different flavor element. I love standard salsa but I also like having other flavors too. Last year we did some zucchini salsa that was also very good. This is another one that I’m going to try to start from seed. We can’t usually find the plants around here which tells me they may not grow well but we will give it a shot anyways.
Last year was also the first year that we grew cabbage. We bought the plants on a whim while we were at the greenhouse. Mine were eaten by all of the wildlife (like majority of our garden) but my mom’s turned out just fine. We actually eat quite a bit of cabbage in our favorite egg roll in a bowl meal. I know there are a ton of benefits to eating it fermented as well so we’d love to do some of that. Last year we grew 2 heads of cabbage but this year I’d like to grow enough of them to have some to ferment and preserve.
This will be a new one if we can get it to grow! I tried to grow it last year but nothing came up. This year I’m going to actually make an attempt to winter sow some seeds and this is on that list. I’ll probably try to start them inside and outside just in case though. I’m super excited for winter sowing and possibly growing some broccoli. I’d love to fill up our freezer with my own broccoli instead of store bought.
Sugar Pie Pumpkins
Going over this list reminds me what a big year we had last year. Last year was also the first year that we canned our own pumpkin. It was also the first time that I froze pumpkin too! So many exciting milestones. For that reason, one of the 10 things we are growing this year is sugar pie pumpkins this year. They are pretty cheap to buy and easy to find but, of course, any chance to save a couple bucks is helpful. We’ve never been able to grow great pumpkins before but I am determined to get some to grow well!
We’ve never grown radishes before! We don’t even eat radishes because we don’t buy a lot of fresh produce. Basically the only way we get fresh food is if we get it out of our garden. In the summer we eat a ton of salads, and I like to have as many options as possible to add even more nutrients to those salads. I’m under the belief that radishes have started to get forgotten and that can’t be good for us. In talking about older meals my parents said radishes always came on the side of all kinds of dishes. For that reason, we’re going to try to bring them back this year!
This is another new one for us. My dad has started eating a lot of beets and beet products to help with his blood sugar levels. I’ve also heard that there are many health benefits to beets that makes me want to incorporate them as well. These will be planted in our garden as well as my parent’s gardens too. I also love that we can dehydrate the beets and turn it into powder. This works as both a nutrient additive to things like pumpkins and also a natural food dye too! Here’s hoping they grow like crazy.
We canned an excessive amount of pickles last year. There were so many cucumbers on our vines we could hardly keep up with them. Almost every weekend we were putting up another jar of pickles. We canned so many pickles we had to go buy dill because what I grew wasn’t enough. That means we are going to double the amount of dill this year to make sure we have enough for all of our pickles. Dill is super easy to grow actually and can be grown right in a pot on your porch if you want.
Lemon Drop Peppers
#10 on the 10 things we’re growing is just for fun! It’s so exciting to add new varieties to your garden, especially when they add some color. Honestly, I really just love the name of these peppers! I got them on sale from MIGardener so they were super cheap seeds. It’s one of those that I just thought “why not?”
In Summary: 10 Things We’re Growing
As you can see our garden is a mix of good old fashioned standby varieties and things that we are just learning how to grow. We’ve done really well with tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squashes, and beans. The rest of our growth will require some learning on our part and some work to find out how to make them grow better than what we’ve done before. I find it equally exciting to grow the old varieties as I do the new ones. What is your favorite thing to grow? What has been your most challenging?