End of the Garden 2013: Planning for Next Year

Over the weekend I finally got around to cleaning out all of those raised beds I built and grew an overwhelming amount of tomatoes in this year. (I also grew green beans, brussels sprouts, kale, celery, cucumbers, and cabbage in them, but the tomatoes were really the Holy Shit! vegetable fruit of the year.)

Here’s one lesson we can all learn from the archives of this website… if I do something once, it’s pretty much a sure bet the next time I do it is going to be bigger, badder, and sometimes require me to live in a garage for over a year. This means big things for my garden next year, but I’m hopeful that none of them require me living in a garage, because, you know… been there, done that.

But, as usual, I’m getting ahead of myself…

Before I could worry much about next year, I had to clean up my mess from this year. That meant pulling all the plant carcases out of the garden, with the help of the cat…


And harvesting dried bean seeds from a few of the pods that I let dry out on their plants so that I can plant them next year.


I also harvested the last of the cabbage and sprouts, and then prepped two of the beds for planting the garlic bulbs that one of my dear friends brought over.


In theory each clove will become it’s own bulb come spring, which means I’ll have enough garlic to keep all kinds of vampires at bay.


Other than the garlic, however, all my plans for next year’s garden have been virtual. I plan to put the highlights up on this bigass chalkboard but in the meantime I’ve been keeping a spreadsheet to help me get organized.

(All of you should have just laughed at the “get organized” part.)


I’m hoping to do a few things next year:

  1.  Put a fence up around the “yard garden”
  2. Make a few more vertical and raised beds
  3. Plow and plant parts of the back field

Just for reference, this is what the back field looks like…

So probably I’m going to need to add “buy a tractor” to that list, too.

Here’s my breakdown of “things to plant” in 2014:

In the garden:

  • Tomatoes
  • Green beans
  • Lettuces
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Rhubrarb
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes
  • Broccoli
  • Jalapenos
  • Leeks
  • Strawberries
  • Brussels Sprouts

In the field:

  • Wheat
  • Sweet Corn
  • Glass Gem (popping) Corn
  • Feed Corn (for the Nugs)
  • Alfalfa
  • Flax

On the property:

  • Apple trees
  • Cherry trees
  • Peach trees
  • Raspberry bushes
  • Blackberry bushes
  • Grapevines
  • Sunflowers

While I might not get to all of this, I plan to block off April and May (eight full weekends) to get things in the ground. And I mean, hey, you don’t buy a farm unless you’re planning to plant some shit, right?

But I’m glad I’ve got another 6 months of winter to plan for all of this.

What’s going in your garden next year? (Because I’m totally going to steal your good ideas… you know I am.)

26 Responses

  1. Those beautiful Cinderella pumpkins are easy to grow, look amazing in the fall and are good for the chickens…as well as butternut and miscellaneous squashes. Mine love chard and the rainbow variety looks great in the garden. Don’t forget cucumbers for those salads! My chickens think watermelon is their whole reason to live but I haven’t had much luck with it in my garden. Blueberries are also a must!

  2. Your garden is gorgeous! Loving how you are trying to be organized with that spreadsheet, can’t wait to see the chalkboard up though.

  3. Good to see leeks on your list, but what about onions? You need some of those for your salsa! I am retiring this year and looking forward to loving a garden next spring,, and also to making my own sawdust projects. Really enjoy your blog-keep up the good work.

  4. This year: raspberry bushes, strawberries, and tomatoes.
    Next year: same, plus pumpkins and zucchini. Baby steps!

  5. I am glad that I am not the only one already thinking about my garden for next year. I just wrote a post about harvesting seeds. Every year I find that I am just a little better at gardening. It is not something that I grew up with, but I’m learning. Like you my garden just keeps getting bigger and better.

  6. Where you find the time and stamina to do all this with a full time job boggles the mind Kit. Love your blog.

  7. I’m always simply amazed at all that you do! Being out there in the country like that how were you able to keep away the deer? I am in the suburbs in Upstate NY and it is a never ending battle from keeping them away from my garden beds.

  8. Love the garden plans!!!

    My goal for next year is to start a compost area. But it has to be done attratively or the BF may nix it.

  9. this year I just did an herb garden to make sure the spot I picked was nice and sunny enough… next year I want to add cucumbers and peppers and a blueberry bush.
    I work at a school and they let us do a community garden in the greenhouse, so I might get in on that too!

  10. I like zucchini, its great grilled, fried, or baked. I also have coworkers that eat a lot of pickles so I like to plant some cucumbers for giveaway. I have yet to can anything, but I’m thinking 2014 might be the year.
    Keep up the blogging, I love seeing your place come together and it motivates me to work on mine!

  11. My one suggestion before you plant in the field is to get a soil test – I’d suggest the LaMotte test. There’s a place in Grand Rapids, named Crop Services International. With the test you’ll receive info about the amendments your soil needs.

    If you get your soil healthy enough, then your crops will have a higher nutrient content, and if they are really healthy, your crops will be resistant to bugs (sounds crazy, I know!).

  12. I second the blueberries. Once established they pretty much take care of themselves and blueberry pickin’ parties are fun. Just make sure you plant several different varieties. I’m big on no till gardening. You might want to read up on it. Hope you have a huge compost pile going. Your garden will thank you.

  13. Having planted a few trees, my advice would be to put down some tree fabric and plant the trees through the fabric. I have been amazed how much quicker they will grow when you reduce that competition around the base of the tree. Just mulch around the base of the tree where you cut the hole in the fabric.

    My favorite method is to put down a row of fabric and plant the trees the recommended distance apart in the fabric. Plan the distance between rows based on how you plan to mow.

    It probably isn’t as important there where it is easier to grow trees. Good luck.

  14. Nth-ing the berry bushes! Once established, they are the easiest fruit to maintain and pick. I had raspberries in California, and they were great. Luckily, I planted them along the walkway between lawn and house – there are berries to pick every day in the spring/summer, and this made it really easy. So, place them carefully so it’s fun and not a chore to keep up with picking. I had some family friends who had real trouble getting blackberries to grow in their yard – several varieties died – and they finally succeeded by asking a neighbor for some runners. So you may want to check in with folks who are already having success about which work in your area.

    Also, we had a pie cherry tree when I was growing up on the East Coast. All the other, sweet cherry trees my dad tried over the years were too delicate to survive, but the pie cherry tree produced like crazy every year. The birds ate the top half and we got the lower branches. In the store, these are expensive, exotic cherries, but in the garden, it was trouble-free. I’ve read since then that pie cherries are a big favorite in Eastern Europe, which helps explain their hardiness.

    If you like to cook, I’d recommend growing herbs. I suspect your winter may be too harsh for rosemary, but I have a single bush and it’s happy out in the yard as part of the landscape until I need a few tips for a recipe. My MIL has had great success with basil, oregano, parsley, sage, and thyme. You can never really have too much basil – a bumper crop can just be chopped up, stirred with some olive oil, and frozen, or made into pesto.

  15. I plan to plant all of the above. But first I have to… ummm… put in the garden… Yeah… So digging it and fencing it and building the raised beds was on the list for this year (this fall), but my gardening mojo ran out sometime in July and it hasn`t come back. Do you happen to have any to send my way? If you don’t, I’ll also accept home grown garlic.

  16. I started an asparagus bed this year and even with total neglect they grew like crazy. Plus they’re supposed to last 30 years or something like that. Perennials are the best.

  17. I have the opposite problem: a backyard the size of approximately a large potholder. I’m debating how much I can shoe-horn in. One thing’s for sure. The lawn is going. Why grow grass (straight face, now), when you can grow flowers and veggies?

  18. About the fruit trees, I recommend Clifton’s Nursery, online at http://www.buyplantsonline.com (yes,I know, hokey name.)

    I bought a potted (vs. bare root) dwarf apricot tree from them online, and although it cost more, it saved several years of growing time.

  19. Definitely put in some blueberries. That’s one thing I miss about the Midwest, berries grow like crazy and the plants have nice long lives, producing every year, and need very little attention. I miss the blueberries, raspberries and wild strawberries we used to get every year in Minnesota. Out here in Arizona, neither the soil nor the lack of chill in the off season is good for growing berries.

    Is the alfalfa for the little guys? I’m just getting started on growing some fodder in trays for my equines.

  20. Wow, im yhinking you need to have a roadsude farmstand!! You cannot possibly eat all thst! Or could you?? Any way you have a ton of energy ans every time ivread youe blig um like, holy cow (shit) how dies that girl up every day?? Im tired just thinking of everything you have accomplished! You go girl!! Farm stand woot, woot!!

  21. If you ever get around to the blackberry vines, be sure to get the special(extra expensive) thorn free varieties. And perhaps putting it in it’s own raised bed with floor would make maintenance easier? Most blackberrys are vigorous f*#%rs and they quickly take over without regular pruning. Furthermore you have to be careful disposing of the cuttings because those bastards seem to take root from a single leaf dropped. I’ve seen them nicely manicured to be hedges or living fences, but I have to beat mine back with a pole saw every few months just to stop them from swallowing my outbuildings whole.

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