Garden Planning, More or Less

It is that time of year, and all of the garden blogs I read are talking about seed catalogs and planning.  I’m thinking about it too, but in a much lazier way.  Last year, I carefully planned out where things would go, and planted the appropriate number of seeds, and long story short, my garden fell flat a bit flat.

I did make myself a few notes last year, but overall the main questions I’m asking myself for garden planning now are:

* What do I actually eat?

* What do I want more of?

I started this planning yesterday while picking some kale off of what are now two year-old trees of dinosaur kale:

As I was picking the kale (for this delish dish of pasta, kale, brie, and bacon by the way…yum), I was thinking to myself: “I need a whole TON of kale plants next year!”  I do eat a lot of kale, and whatever I don’t eat, the chickens will.  So, item number one on this year’s garden plan:

An absurd amount of kale.

I’m also going to give up entirely on lettuce.  I don’t really like lettuce, and prefer arugula, which is not only easier for me to grow, it can be cooked or used in salads.

I grew a lot of tomatoes last year, and a lot of basil, and I’m going to step up both of them this year, including a patch that I’ll be able to cover with my greenhouse, and make an attempt at year round tomatoes.  I also need to remember to grab some cherry tomato seeds, since little tomatoes somehow slipped my mind last year.

I also want lots more sunflowers and pumpkins.  Because they are awesome.

Oh!  And ornamental corn, because I am totally going to enter it in the county fair this year.

I grew amaranth, but didn’t end up eating either the leaves or the grain.  However, I think this year I’ll grow it as an ornamental plant (so beautiful and easy to grow!), and if I do end up eating any, it will just be a bonus.  Lagniappe, if you will.  The quinoa is in a similar boat, but even though I never finished processing it, I have it in a bag in my kitchen cabinet, so I suppose I still could.

Also, Scarlett Emperor beans will be grown everywhere.

Twice, now, I’ve failed with potatoes, so I think I’m going to plant a patch of them in the back corner of my garden, forget about all of this piling up the soil nonsense, and just see what happens.

I will be making another attempt at cucumbers and melons, neither of which went anywhere last year.

Mostly, I’ll just try to use up the seeds I already have, and then just pick up anything that catches my eye.


4 Responses to Garden Planning, More or Less

  1. Brad K. says:

    You might want to skip the Baker Creek Nursery catalog ( They have a *lot* of seeds to “catch your eye”. I still drool over the page of black tomatoes (sweeter); they have pages of orange tomatoes, and red tomatoes, and white tomatoes (and pink, and green!). Many oriental and heritage varieties of garden plants.

    Me, I am hoping the grasshopper bait I found late last summer does a number on the grasshoppers that stripped my garden repeatedly the last couple of years.


  2. Melissa says:

    Let’s get married. What do you say? An endless supply of kale is totally on my short list.


    Plus, I love Gus.

  3. Camille says:

    Your kale trees look like something out of Dr. Suess! I had no idea kale grew like that.

    You want to know what D said to me the other night when I served kale for dinner? “You should keep making this, because it’s good for us. But I don’t really like it.”

    How am I supposed to react to that?

    I take object strongly to your garden falling flat. You took pictures. So there’s proof that didn’t happen.

  4. Kara Kara says:

    Brad- I am LIttle House on the Prairie obsessed lately, but grasshoppers are just like in the books! Wow. I forget how lucky I am to live in the awesomeness that is Northern California.

    Jones– Girl, you just straight up need to move to Sonoma County. Enough with DC! Life is good up here. There is a house for sale around the corner from me! I can tend your kale garden and we can walk all the dogs! But not actually in my neighborhood, because that’s not super safe….. :)

    Camille- make kale chips, or cook kale with either Italian sausage or bacon. Guaranteed delicious. Might take a bit off the health edge, but I think it still balances out!

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