My landscaping and raised bed gardening posts have been very well received lately so I thought I might indulge everyone with another piece of the picture. In this series, I’m going to document what I’m growing in my raised bed gardens and what I’ll be growing in the raised beds. I hope that a few months from now, I’ll also be able to share pictures of how my plants are progressing and how they turn out.
Unfortunately, it’s winter so my raised garden beds aren’t doing a whole lot other than sitting under some snow.
On the bright side…
On the bright side, winter is when you sit down and plan what to plant in your raised beds. This year, I’m going to grow a whole lot of things I like, which includes tons of tomatoes and strawberries. I’ve actually planted all the strawberry plants in autumn to get them better established and I’ve planted quite a few flowers in another bed because a little color will be nice in the Spring.
There are two ways to plan a garden…
The first way to plan a garden is to sit down, decide what you want, plan it all out on paper, and then buy the seeds to get it done. The second way is what I did. Buy a bunch of awesome looking seeds and plants and then desperately try to figure out how to accommodate them.
The major considerations are: 1) what you want to grow; 2) want you can grow where you are; and 3) what to grow where. Numbers 1 and 2 are really the easy parts. Number 3 is the hard part because you have to consider sun exposure, microclimates and companion planting. There is a pretty solid starter guide on companion planting on Farmers Alamanac but the general concept is that some plants thrive next to each other and others do poorly next to each other. Some plants are good for nutrients and others are good at deterring pests. I’m not an expert so I won’t presume to lecture on companion planting strategies.
So what am I planning on planting and where?
I’ve got quite a bit of room for planting so there is room to do a lot. 8 raised beds with 4×8 dimensions so that’s 256 square feet. I’m actually trying to avoid doing too much as I’ve not gardened on this scale before without help. I’m also not really familiar with this area so I have to expect unexpected challenges unique to my new location. That said, I’d love help choosing what to grow in that blank spot in the far right box or advice for growing in general.
I realize it’s heavy on tomatoes, strawberries and cucumbers. We love strawberries and they’ll compliment our fruit heavy property. Tomatoes and cucumbers are awesome either lightly salted or in salads or on sandwiches. In any event, we like them, so we’ll plant a lot and hope to eat a lot.
The varieties we’re planting!
I wanted to try a bunch of interesting varieties for our first year of raised bed gardening and I really feel like I hit the mother lode. I found interesting varieties, sizes, and colorations. You’ll find that my principal criterion for choosing a variety is that it’s interesting or very pest resistant.
These are just the big categories. If there is something I didn’t list, I’d be happy to identify what variety I bought.
1) Honeoye – I chose this because it’s recommended for my USDA zone.
2) White Pineberry – I chose this because I’ve always wanted to try pine berries because they’re white and supposedly taste like pineapple.
3) Sure Crop – I chose this because it’s recommended for my USDA zone.
4) Sparkle – I chose this because it’s recommended for my USDA zone.
5) Unknown strawberry plants found on my property. I chose them because they were free and I just had to transplant them when I was making the raised beds.
1) Dark Star Hybrid – I chose this because I was curious about the dark color. I’ve had black cherry tomatoes before and they were good. I figured that unusually colored large tomatoes would be fun.
2) Brandy Boy Hybrid – I chose this because I wanted a big beefsteak style tomato. I love these for tomato sandwiches and for sliced tomatoes.
3) Gardener’s Delight Heirloom – I chose this because it’s supposedly a really good heirloom cherry tomato. I’m a fan of cherry tomatoes for snacks.
4) Fourth of July Hybrid – I chose this on a recommendation on a gardening site that these are great for salad.
1) Burpee Hybrid II – I chose this because it looks normal and I wanted some normal cucumbers. I like sliced cucumbers with a pinch of salt and cucumbers in salads.
2) Lemon Heirloom – I chose this because it looks like an unusual cucumber we enjoyed at a farm to table restaurant a few years ago. It’s strange looking so it’s right up my alley.
1) De Cicco – I chose this because they’re supposedly very productive and Mrs. Up likes cooking broccoli.
2) Sun King – I chose this because they’re supposedly greenish blue and I’m a sucker for different coloring.
1) Depurple Hybrid I chose this because it’s purple colored and I was curious. Strange colors in the garden can be fun.
2) Snowball Self-blanching – I chose this because it looked normal and I figure we should have some normal veggies for Baby Up.
1) Kaleidoscope Blend – I chose this because it’s a mix of different types and colors of carrots, which should be fun to harvest.
2) Scarlet Nantes – I chose this because it looked normal and I figure we should have some normal veggies for Baby Up.
1) Rainbow bell blend – I like strange colors for salads
2) Mama Mia Giallo – this is a yellow tapered pepper so it should be color to see growing
3) Sweet Banana – I like banana peppers, so yeah. Grow what you want to eat.
1) Shooting stars – I got this because they supposedly are bright purple with streaks of white that look like shooting stars.
2) Black beauty – I chose this because it looked normal and I figure we should have some normal veggies for Baby Up.
There are other plants but those were the big varieties that I was excited about.
I’m excited about my prospects for growing our veggies this year. Overall, I spent about $250 on seeds. I’ll have too many to use this year and I’ll probably use some next year as I don’t expect them all to be wasted if properly stored.
Disclaimer: Some of the links on this page are affiliate links for which we’re paid a referral fee by the sellers. The price doesn’t change regardless of whether you use the link or not. The affiliate links played no role in what plants we chose.