2020 Garden Plans
Sometimes I worry, as spring approaches, that I’ll lose interest in gardening—that there just won’t be anything new to strike my fancy.
But then, the seed catalogs come. And the emails about the new seeds show up in my inbox. And I am smitten, once more, with the perfect possibilities that seeds provide.
What I’ll be growing this year
Tomatoes are always in my garden, but this year I’m cutting back from 3 varieties to just 2. I want to focus on 1 sauce type and one slicer. And, while I will be sticking with my old favorite sauce tomato San Marzano for its insane productivity, I have to decided to take a break from my favorite slicer (Gold Medal) and go for a new one: Pineapple. I’m hoping it will have the flavor and beauty of Gold Medal, but with heavier yield and less blemishes.
I had good luck last year with my mini bell peppers, but my daughter didn’t like the heavy concentration of bitter seeds inside their small form. So, I will be going for regular-size bell peppers with the attractive orange Coral Belle.
My kids are like rabbits and we go through a ton of baby carrots every week. Why not grow them myself? They are not impressed with multi-colored carrots because those tend to be spicier and more flavorful–they like their standard carrot flavor, thank you very much. For them, I’m growing Danvers 126. I addition to being a great standard carrot, it does well in heavy soils, so I don’t have to worry about the roots getting into the clay below my compost layer and growing in wacky ways.
I used to grow kale every year, and then one year it slipped my mind and that was 3 years ago. Yikes! I love freshly harvested Lacinato/Toscano kale–so crunchy and fresh. The stuff you buy at the store, or even the farmer’s markets, cannot compare! I’ll be using my saved seeds from a particularly large (8+ ft!) volunteer kale plant from 3 years ago. I know that the germination rate may be iffy, but I have a lot of seeds left and will just over-plant and then thin as necessary.
This is an experiment of sorts. When I first began seriously gardening in the Bay Area, I tried growing both gourds and watermelon with terrible results. But, I was an amateur in our weather, and now that I’ve gotten gourds to thrive, I am ready to tackle a new challenge. I picked two faster-to-fruit varieties of different sizes so hopefully at least one will do well: Sugar Baby and Crimson Sweet.
Speaking of gourds, I’m looking to up the ante. Last year I got tons of Spinning Gourds and quite a few Bottle/Birdhouse and Corsican gourds that are happily molding over on my porch. Since I don’t even know what projects I’ll use those for yet, I figure I should grow a different type, and so I am going BIG. Bushel Basket gourds can grow to 24″ across, and can make great storage containers. I’m looking forward to seeing what they look like, if they grow well here.
Last year, I focused on veggies and my only flowers were marigolds because their bug-repellent properties. This year I will be trying to grow some more exciting varieties. I’ve recently discovered a LOCAL seed company called The Living Seed Company, and since I had already purchased my veggies seeds for the season, I decided flowers would be a great way to try them out! I’ll be planting “Radiance” Cosmos (my daughter will love pink flowers!), some cute Bachelor Buttons, and the super-cool looking (and named!) Love-in-a-Mist.
What I will NOT be growing this year
They were very cute, and oh-so-prolific, but they just weren’t all that tasty. And, maybe the recipes were to blame, but even pickled, I wasn’t that excited about them (and I love me some pickles!). The most fun we had with them (other than the Calico Critters photo shoot) was when I took them to my daughter’s preschool so the kids could play with them.
The Glass Gem popcorn came out super well, and I will be publishing a belated article about it soon, but I honestly have WAY too much popcorn right now, and that’s after feeding the whole preschool one afternoon. I think it will need to be a bi-annual thing.
This year, I’m focusing mostly on things I know we will eat, and on producing more of the food we buy in our garden. What’s your garden focus for 2020?