Vegetable gardening

Planning our garden

Usually, when you start planning your garden, the first thing you want to do is decide where you want to place your garden (keeping the amount of sunlight and such in mind) and how big you want it to be.

In our case, our garden is HUGE so space isn’t an issue. The previous owners also had a vegetable garden and we like the place where it’s at, so we don’t really have to think about that either. That means the planning we have to do consists mostly of:

  • Deciding which vegetables we want to grow. Most likely, these’ll be the vegetables we use the most;
  • Planning when to sow them;
  • Planning how to sow them. Meaning; can we sow them right at the place we want them in the garden, or do we have to sow and nurse them inside before moving them to the garden?

When we get that done, we can plan how big we want/need the garden to be and where we want to plant our seedlings.

Deciding which vegetables to grow

In our minds this was the most logical step to start with. Because why bother to grow vegetables you don’t like or never use in your meals? Let’s start with the herbs, that list isn’t so extensive : ) After making this list, I came to the conclusion I don’t really use that many herbs. Maybe I should experiment with those more while cooking… Herbs that I actually use at this moment were the ones that made it to the list:

  • Basil
  • Chives
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Dill
  • Mint

Arguably, garlic, chili peppers and unions are herbs (which I use a lot) but we listed them with the vegetables. For the vegetables we used the same tactic; which vegetables do we use extensively in the kitchen and which ones do we like but are expensive in the supermarket?

  • Garlic
  • Unions
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Radish
  • Potato
  • Tomatoes (2 varieties)
  • Lettuce
  • Arugula
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Kale
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Green beans
  • Peas
  • Cucumber
  • Zucchini
  • Butternut pumpkin
  • Bell pepper (2 varieties)
  • Chili peppers (2 varieties)
  • Cabbage (4 varieties)
  • Corn
  • Haricot

Our next step was, to see which (web)shops sell seeds for a good price. We wanted to get all seeds and other necessities like seeding pots at the same shop for sanity’s sake. We both work 40 hour jobs, so we didn’t want to stop by a dozen shops to get everything we wanted and needed or to stay at home all the time to take packages. Also, because we are still remodeling our home we still don’t have a functioning doorbell : )

Vegetable selection and planning

So when we found a webshop to our liking – we decided to order online – the next adventure began; deciding which varieties to order. We just wanted potatoes; but did you know how many varieties of potatoes exist?! I was honestly shocked. In the end, we chose our starting plants with a bit of logical thinking and a bit of gut feeling (and a bit of Google).

We did the first selection based on harvest season. It didn’t seem like a good plan to have a huge garden filled with plants that’ll be ready to be harvested in the same month. After we made our selection we basically went with gut feeling if we had multiple varieties left (where we only wanted one variety) “This is the one we always buy in the supermarket, let’s take this one to try..”

We also made a scheme with the sowing and harvesting periods, to make it a bit easier for ourselves to remember when to sow – and also to find out when the crops would be ready for harvesting.

The scheme we made, showing the vegetables with the sowing and harvesting periods.

The next step was to order the seeds. Sadly, the webshop didn’t have all the vegetables we wanted to grow for sale, so we skipped a couple from the list. I’m sorry beets, radish, corn… Not this year. The seeds marked in red were the ones that didn’t make it to the cut.

A few weeks later, the seeds arrived. And I think we went a bit overboard for our first year of vegetable gardening… : ) The seeds (including the sachets with flower seeds) costed us 33€. If they’ll actually grow to bear vegetables, we won’t have to buy any vegetables this summer/autumn which is a huge money saver!

As you can see, we didn’t order seeds for our herbs – mainly because we already had the seeds for those. We also already had seeds for one variety of chili peppers.

Sowing the first plants

As it took a while for the seeds to arrive, it was already sowing season for some plants when they arrived. So we got right to it! These were all plants that have to be sown in seeding pots and needed some time to get bigger indoors, so the cold nights weren’t an issue (temperatures still got below zero at night when we started seeding).

As you can see, we are still remodeling the house… ; ) and, as you can see, the seedlings are growing big already! These seedlings are just one to two weeks old. The container at the front windowsill contains tomato plants in the terracotta pots and in the small pots some herbs. The dill, basil and thyme already started to sprout, but the rosemary is taking it’s time. I wonder if it’ll sprout at all, but we’ll see : )

The second container is filled with terracotta pots with chinese five color peppers. There’s 16 of them, so some of these will probably find their way to homes of friends and family.

The final containers contain some bell pepper and zucchini seedlings. I also recently planted the first cabbages, they still need to sprout. It’s exciting for me to see how all these plants grow and develop!

In the meantime, I should really get the patch of garden ready for these plants. There’s still some kale in the garden which I should harvest and freeze, and then clear the patch of weeds so we can start anew.

Keep you posted! : )

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