what Are You Planting For 2017?

David Trammel's picture

All this talk of Trump and the current administration's actions aside, we seem to have been sidetracked from the true goals and purposes of this site, that is helping people gear down and get ready for a Future of Less.

With that in mind, and considering the Spring is here for us in the Norhtern Hemisphere, I'd like to ask, "What are you planting in your garden this year?


(insert picture of my garden after the Winter here. My camera batteries died, I'll get some more tomorrow after work, lol)

As you can see, my garden needs some TLC to get it ready for new plants. As I get the debris of last year's plants turned under, weed out the interlopers and add some compost.

Personally I think this year I will focus on just a few types of vegetables.

For the early Spring I'm going to put in some Spinach and some Lettuce. I haven't been eating as well as I had last Fall, a salad or two each week. Instead I've opted for the convience of a frozen dinner, mostly Boston Market ones, which I can grab on the way out the door and eat at work. I need to stop that.

The early warm spell here has most of the local nurseries and big box chains rolling out their plants early, and while I would have liked to try seed starting this year, for these two I may just buy a few plants. I am going to put some into the ground and others into two gallon pots to see how each handles the Spring.

For Summer, I'm going to focus on three vegetables; onions, carrots and smaller tomatoes.

As I mentioned in another thread, my luck with the larger vareities of tomatoes has been poor. My cherry and small romas though have been consistant winners. Onions, grown from sets have been hit or miss. I suspect that I've planted them too close, and let them crowd each other which has prevented them from really filling out.

Carrots I've had little luck with, but like onions are good guerilla food, that is plants that don't advertise themselves as food. There too I've planted way too many seeds and not thinned them out once they come up. I may try and seed start them inside in some egg cartons or small paper pots, then thin the sprouts before I replant them in the beds outside.

Oh and I have managed to save about half of my peppers that I over wintered inside, so I'll be interested in seeing how they do now that they are back outside.


The one thing I am going to try and do, is keep a planting and gardening journal, so that I can keep better records on what I did and the weather we have. A recent article I came across suggests that climate change is going to give the Midwest a much earlier window to plant, March or early April, and then a period of wet weather in May and June before a hard hot Summer. I definitely think a green wizard will need to keep good records and learn from them.

What are you planting or planning to do differently?

Sweet Tatorman's picture

Copied to here from an unrelated thread.

In accordance with Lathe Chucks sensible request down thread: USDA plant hardiness zone 7b. Elevation 1000' [300m]. Typical freeze free growing season of ~210 days. Hot and humid summers.

I may miss a thing or two but here goes: Peanuts, green bush beans, bush limas, pole limas, snow peas, garden [English] peas, cowpeas, asparagus, field corn [maize] for cornmeal, sweet corn, white potatoes, sweetpotatoes [5 varieties, 4 of which could be considered heirloom varieties], beets, Swiss chard, Red Malabar Spinach, leeks, various squash, various melons, okra, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, dill. Wintertime mostly leeks and various coles, mostly kale.

I have such a very small space, but I now have three tomato plants: a Purple Cherokee, a Black Cherry (?), and a new Yellow Pear--which, as the name implies has small, yellow, pear-shaped fruit. I also planted some green beans, a bit of lettice, and some rutabaga. I might eat the rutabaga as greens or try to transplant them to a bigger container. I went crazy and started digging up the yard a couple weeks ago but the weather has been unpredictable--too wet or too dry--to really get anything in the ground. I did plant a small packet of pollinator flower seeds. I think they have started to sprout.

I have patio full of flowers this year. I couldn't help myself: pansies, marigolds, violas, and petunias. And i had a happy break last fall on Asian daylilies: The garden shop was selling three pots for $10 (regularly $7.99 ea.). I thought they all died on me. The weather was hot, I forgot to water them; they turned brown and brittle. So I chucked the pots and the dirt on the porch till spring, and when I fetched them out again, I had fifteen baby daylities! They are gorgeous! My columbine has been gorgeous. The sage and the catmint need to be divided, I think. I moved the strawberry to a bigger container, and I don't think I will get any strawberries this year, but if it fills up the bigger pot, I may have a lot more strawberries next year.

I have some burdock which I have managed to hide from the landlord. He gets carried away with the weed whacker sometimes. There's a mulberry tree growing under the garage--he has been trying to kill it for several years without any success--and I have broached the idea of actually training it to grow up the garage wall.

ClareBroommaker's picture

My garden buddy loves Cherokee Purple, but I tend to waste it because its color confuses me about when to harvest. It has not been very productive for me anyway. It is delicious, though.

What will you do with burdock? I bought some from an import market to find out if I wanted to bother digging it in the orchard. I really liked it! It was sweeter than carrots, and if I remember correctly, has a lot of inulin fiber which raises blood sugar less (or more slowly) than other carbohydrates. I think inulin has other dietary/medicinal uses, maybe to avoid or treat constipation, not sure. I've twice fermented the store-bought burdock and enjoyed it very much. But anyway, I like it enough to try digging it at the orchard, but the soil there is basically undiggable (ask me how I planted trees!) I knew I would need to grow my burdock in humusy garden soil, not out in the rough, so to speak.

To spare the burdock from the landlord, any chance you could put a ring of wire cloth or stakes and string around it? Tell the landlord it is dinosaur plant, or something.

LOL! There's a thread on burdock in here somewhere. I have to go find it. I know it's biennial, and not particularly edible in the 2nd year. Right now it's hiding behind my compost piles, and the landlord knows not to mess with my itty bitty compost. I have two plastic milk cartons that people use for home storage, and I'm getting ready to add a couple more. I do everything small scale.

I also have fleabane growing wild in my containers. I don't know if it's daisy fleabane or annual fleabane. I don't suppose it makes much difference. It is just such a HAPPY plant. It always looks to me like it's singing. Little flies usually visit it, but the Illinois wildflowers site lists:

"Primarily small bees and flies visit the flowerheads for nectar or pollen, including little carpenter bees (Ceratina spp.), cuckoo bees (Nomada spp., Stelis spp.), mason bees (Heriades spp.), plasterer bees (Colletes spp.), masked bees (Hylaeus spp.), Halictid bees (Halictus spp., Lasioglossum spp.), Halictid cuckoo bees (Sphecodes spp.), Syrphid flies, bee flies (Bombyliidae), Tachinid flies, flesh flies (Sarcophagidae), and Muscid flies (Robertson, 1929). Less common floral visitors include wasps, small butterflies, and beetles. Other insects feed destructively on the foliage, flowerheads, roots, and plant juices of Daisy Fleabane and other fleabanes (Erigeron spp.). These species include a plant bug (Polymerus basalis), a leafhopper (Empoasca alboneura), the Erigeron Root Aphid (Aphis middletonii) and Leafcurl Plum Aphid (Brachycaudus helichrysi), larvae of the Lynx Flower Moth (Schinia lynx) and other moths, the Meadow Purple-striped Grasshopper (Hesperotettix viridis) and other grasshoppers, and the Four-spotted Tree Cricket (Oecanthus quadripunctatus). For a more complete listing of these insects, see the Insect Table. Mammalian herbivores occasionally browse on the foliage and flowerheads of these plants. This includes deer, rabbits, groundhogs, sheep, and other livestock."

I found the book How to Grow More Vegetables...in Less Space Than You Ever Imagined at a used book store in New Orleans. I'm following the 100 square foot garden plan almost exactly. I wrote down all the books recommended in Green Wizardry, and I have found 5 of them - How to grow more..., mulch it!, and Foxfire1,2,& 4.

How to Grow More Vegetables... is an excellent book. I thought I knew how to garden naturally, but there was a ton I didn't know. Reading the section on planting by the phase of the moon was especially inspiring to me. I think the moon may be much more influential on life than we think. I've been thinking of a revised holy trinity: the Mother (earth), the Sun, and the Holy Ghost (moon)

I got a few friends to help me double dig. It took 3 people a 6 hour day of hard labor. I have very fluffy soil now!

I planted all my seeds (heirloom from RareSeeds) mid May in Minnesota. But, I think I could have planted the frost hardy seeds almost a month earlier. And it didn't remember to presprout the tomatoes. I built flats for presprouting, but I don't have/don't want grow lights so not much grew inside my house by the window. I plan to build a cold frame next year.

I did a soil test, It was extremely high in phosphorus. So I added some green sand, potash, and blood meal.

I added Fungi Perfecti myco seed starter to my seeds. I don't know what would have hapened without this, but most sprouts have come up quickly. After reading about arbuscular mycorrhiza, and how fungi and roots join up and share nutrients, I believe healthy fungi in the soil is extremely important. Turning the soil damages the delicate underground fungi networks, so I am trying to restore the damage done by double digging. We took care to lift the soil to loosen it, but not to turn it over, since the microbiota is mostly living in the top 6 inches. Eventually I may switch to no-till, but this soils was very compacted.

I ordered andes potato seeds as an expiriment (cultivariable.com). But I was only able to keep two sprouts alive (out of 200), we'll see if I get any unique andes potatoes!

I am companion planting valerian, chamomile, parsley (a cool heirloom kind that has an edible root), clover, and purslane amongst my vegetables.

I'm growing: snow pea, bush bean, beet, onion, carrot, radish, lettuce, nordic strawberry, herbs, potato, 3 types of tomatoes, 6 types of peppers, pickling cucumber, cabbage, brocolli, basil, small winter squash, sunflower, sorghum, corn, loto rice. I made a clover path around the garden.

Beyond growning tons of food, my goals this year are to try canning and to save seeds from everything, with the attempt to save from the most successful/delicious plants.

We are planning a big garden expansion this year. We are growing for more people this year, and with the collapse well underway I also feel the need to put by more food for the winter this year. Radishes and lettuce are up in a raised planter, and the garden has been tilled. I'll start potatoes (Katahdin and La Ratte), peas and onions this weekend. (I know, I know, but I'm in New England and have to wait till the frost is out of the ground and our wet hillside dries enough to be tilled.) Also on the menu: beans (green, wax, horticultural, and Yellow-eye), basil (sweet, spicy globe, and Thai), shallots, carrots, broccoli, tomatoes (Matt's Sweet Wild Cherry, Ten Fingers of Naples, Black Krim), peppers, parsley, mint (overwintered inside), rosemary (overwintered inside), chives, garlic chives, thyme, rhubarb, French tarragon, raspberries, blueberries (fingers crossed), squash (butternut, zucchini, two varieties of yellow summer squash), and salsify (an experiment). I'd love to do popcorn eventually, but don't have the soil fertility necessary at the moment. The big task is building up the soil at our new place. Squash is a struggle also, so I'm going to plant it at Neighbor Brother's house, as he is not able to do a garden this year. He has excellent soil, nurtured over decades.

I suspect there will be nuttin' but gardening going on at our house this year!

This year (as I mentioned in another post) I have a total of 8 raised beds, 7 of which have mesh below to stop critters... I usually do potatoes, peas, lettuce, (overwintered kale and garlic), tomatoes, peppers and basil... and I've tried cabbage, carrots, eggplant, onions, leeks and several other plants with very mixed success. The weather in OR's Willamette Valley has been so varied over the past few years that reliable crops haven't been. I wanted to do seedlings this year, but one urgent thing after another (some good, some bad) meant that I couldn't start anything... I may do squash or other big seeds directly - if the rain ever stops!) I've been slow to learn some lessons, especially about how it's worth investing money in some things to avoid total failure... and some things I thought I'd learned but the weather keeps changing! At least the chickens provide me with decent feritlizer.

, which spread out all over and take a ton of space. One of the science worksheets he's done was about the lifecycle of plants and used pumpkins as the example. So I guess I need to do an additional garden bed a little away from the others for that.

I had already planned an 8'x8' bed for my two older children to share. My son is planting potatoes and broccoli in his half. My daughter wants to grow flowers in her half, which initially I said no to because it was supposed to be a vegetable garden. Then I realized I was being kind of dumb about it. The point is to get the kids interested in gardening so they want to learn how to do it. So I think I may have her put a few tomato plants in her side of the bed and plant flowers in the rest. That way she can have pretty flowers and still get to eat food from her garden.

In my beds, I'm going to plant sweet potatoes, white potatoes, sweet corn, cucumbers, tomatoes, green beans, and zucchini.

Because of the cold weather and late frost, I'm going to wait another week or two to plant. I'm already late for planting white potatoes, which should have been in the ground by Good Friday. I think they'll be fine though because I didn't choose a late maturing variety.

Madam Oh's picture

Yes, when the international news just sucks relentlessly, the vegetable field is such a joy. Where I am living would be climatologically similar to Appalacia. Spring was a bit later this year than last, but basically the potatoes go in at the beginning of March. They fare well even if they get hit by a late frost. We have frost until early May. In February I set some sweet potaotes in a sunny spot in a glass of water, but they've shown no inclination to sprout yet.

I started a bit of coriander at the same time alongside them. About five days ago I planted coriander indoors, and that sprouted very quickly. I planted celery seeds I'd saved and frozen (then you pour boiling hot water over them to wake them up in spring--it works), so sooner or later I will see if my own seeds are fertile. I planted some squash seeds I found already starting to sprout inside a squash, but that may have failed. Maybe just too cold still.

My husband has gotten quite a variety of tomatoes to sprout. He gave up on sprouting cabbage and other brassicas and just buys seedlings--too many bugs! I am going to have to find a way to defeat small grasshoppers and other early spring insects, which will devastate my cumin. No one here provides cumin seedlings, but it wouldn't help anyway. Bugs devastate mature plants too if they find them. I'm thinking of a planter with a fine mesh net covering and a simple umbrella over that to keep excess rain out. When the flowers start blooming, open up the top and let the pollinators in. Last year I made progress finding out what soil they like best, and discovered a lot of plants appear to do poorly under the powerlines running by our house.

My husband has a lot of peanuts planted in seed trays in the greenhouse, where my asparagus has now started coming up. And we both have different kinds of corn planted there too. I've got three kinds of basil planted from my own seed, and just sent a freind some of my special blue corn seed.

It's still rather cold, but I had better start the peppers pretty soon, because our growing season is too short for many of them otherwise, and I'll try chia again, though last year was too short and rainy for them. Wth La Nina this year, we should be anticipating lots of rain all summer. We generally get by simply on diversity. Each year, something different seems to be favored.

I've got mobs of perennials too: blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, plums, apricots, apples, pears, black and red currants, artichokes, oregano, thyme, sage, rosemary, chestnuts. And that does remind me--I made up a list last year, and I should go through and write notes on what I learned last year and document what I'm doing this year. I once counted out about 100 different crops we were growing, not inlcuding the dandelions, which I'm now harvesting, and other useful weeds.

lathechuck's picture

First of all, I'd like to urge everyone who posts to give some hint as to your location! Even just within Maryland, our "10% chance of later frost" date varies from April 12 (Royal Oak) to May 16 (Cumberland), to June 5 (Oakland).

Gardening here is not just a summer activity. I have kale, chives, onions, parsley, and garlic that overwintered that I'll keep picking a leaf at a time (until the kale bolts, that is). I don't get many calories from these plants, but they sure make the omelets and potatoes taste good. I've put out new kale seedlings a week or so ago; they can tolerate light frost.

I'm trying to be more bee-conscious this year, growing buckwheat, for example, because it flowers for a long time, as do the melons and butternut squash. (We just finished eating last year's squashes in March. They rarely go bad stored in the basement for up to a year (though the flavor does suffer eventually).) New squash seedlings are coming up in pots. The report of neonicotinoid systemic insecticides in mass-market garden plants just freaks me out, so everything will be certified organic from now on. I don't want to wonder whether I'm poisoning the bee that's trying to pollinate my garden!

Starting seeds on a 20w electrically-heated mat really helped with germination (other than kale). Our house is near 60F on the basement floor, but the mat gets it up to 70F. Sunflowers and flax are also coming up (mostly for bees, and birds).

My favorite carrots get pulled fresh for Christmas dinner, so that's part of the plan. Cold weather causes them to put more sugar into their cells, to reduce freeze damage, and it doesn't take much mulch to keep the ground from freezing around them through December.

And you can't beat home-grown tomatoes, so there will be space for them.

Last year, I tried growing amaranth "grain of the Inca", but I couldn't figure out how to harvest it. Beating the seedheads into a bucket seemed to produce more insects and/or spiders than grains! It doesn't ripen all at once, but progressively as new flowers open, so knowing when to take it is not easy. Maybe I need a drying barn.

I have wondered about growing it, but suspect the wild turkeys would have a field day, as they love the bits of wild amaranth that grow around here. If it doesn't ripen more or less at the same time, that makes harvesting tough for sure. I think the easiest grain for me will be popcorn, which I hope to add eventually. Right now we're going long on potatoes.

Madam Oh's picture

Bees love love love squash flowers, and they seem infatuated with thistle flowers, but those are shorter window. I've got a large patch of holy basil that comes up annually and starts blooming in late June, and bees? My goodness, every species from the tiniest native honeybees to the huge growling bumblebusters and whatever beleagued European honeybees happen to exist in our area inhabit that patch from dawn to dusk, with vermillion pollen basket. I highly reccommend it.

ClareBroommaker's picture

Already missed best time to plant snow peas or sugar pod peas. Will save the seeds in a tight jar till next year. Might still do a bit of lettuce. Have seeds for Romaine and black-seeded Simpson. Have lots of radish seed and since I found out I like them fermented much better than fresh, I'll put in some of those and harvest before summer crops go in.

For planting out in May, there will be Rio Grande Roma tomatoes, super sweet sungold tomatoes, Helda Italian pole beans and also Violetta Italian for possible trade at the store where, in 2014, I traded tomatoes for olive oil. Yardlong beans, too.

I'll plant sweet potatoes and butternut squash which are both excelent keepers for me. Can't believe how expensive sweet potato starts are, but I have enough sprouting in storage to serve me just fine.

I have large sweet banana peppers hardening off now and also a couple cayenne because I can't eat the flaming habaneros my husband has dried and powdered. Growing hot peppers once every three years or so is sufficient for our needs.I also have some pitiful looking peppers started a year ago. I lost track of what each of those were. I know at least once is hot, about like a jalapeno.

I need to try to rescue my Kabul mint pronto. It is up, but being smothered by a thick cover of oak leaves. Last summer this mint had a lot of disease and was poorly productive, which is not typical of mint. I need to find a few nicel ooking sprigs and replant them somewhere else. I use a lot of mint in salads.

Mustard greens are a must-have, but they do better in fall than in summer or spring for me. If I still have any bokchoi seed I'll do some of that. Maybe some cabbage.

At lathechuck's suggestion, I'm adding that I'm in eastern Missouri, USDA zone 6-b, which means winters no lower than -5 to 0 F that is, -20.6 to -17.8 C. I don't even know when our last frost date is. For something like 35 years since I moved here, I have had trouble getting a feel for when to plant. I used to start too early, having moved here from a more southerly region. Then the pendulum swung too far and, waiting for the warmth, I started missing pea and lettuce season some years.

Blueberry's picture

Planted 50 lbs of potatoes the first week of March, last of March planted sweet corn(Golden Queen) and field corn (truckers favorite). They are planted far apart so no problem of cross pollination. Egg plant, Cherry tomatoes, Sweet peppers, Sweet onions, Bok Choy, Kale, Broccoli ( Bluewind, Pacman), Sweet potatoes Green Beans (Blue Lake Bush), Peanuts(Bailey) .Lots of folks eat out of my garden.

My pak choi bolted even before last month's frost, the goats got out and finished off the broccoli (what the deer left), and my cabbages have done a lot of nothing. Goats also got 5 of my 8 kale, spinach is already trying to bolt, basil is bolting, Chinese cabbage is trying to bolt but there are only two plants left after the deer's raids. Oh yeah, both goats and deer like pea plants, but not the pods. Wasteful little monster spat out my snow pea pods, then proceeded to eat the plants to the ground. I now have VERY miniature snow pea plants ... they started flowering again at 3 inches tall. Looks like my Daikon radishes are thinking about bolting also.

Repotting tomatoes (Roma, Pruden's Purple [actually a dark pink but named before the true purples were known], and Boxcar Willie, have seeds for Hungarian heart, orange icicle, and Paul Robeson (a purple/brown Russian variety, known for an unusual "smoky" type flavor ... must try for BBQ sauce!) and peppers - mostly sweet peppers but a few hot peppers for hubby. Need to repot a few herbs and the red maple hibiscus. Need to plant every type of bean seed here (that's gonna be quite a bit, since I am still trying out varieties), plus get a couple okra plants and/or seeds to start trying out varieties as I've never grown it before.

Typing it out, my gardening efforts look puny, but I have been experimenting and learning, and occasionally getting some very expensive veggies. This is the start of Year Four here.

David Trammel's picture

I must admit that I have had no luck with potatoes, but then I have been trying them in a very small vertical potato bin. They are though something I feel I need to master, because first they are another "guerrilla food" aka things unlike tomatoes that don't advertise themselves as food so people want to steal them, and two they store so well.

Now corn is another thing I'd like to master but not at my present location. The squirrels have gotten to the ears both times I've planted corn, since the raised beds are next to a fence. It is something I will experiment with once I can get a few raised beds into my sister's backyard.

No matter what they say, I never had luck with potato bins or bags... I love fresh potatoes so I am willing to give over a whole raised bed for them... one thing that can be important is getting the early varieties so they get a chance to set fruit (ie: potatoes) - another might be that your plants would need shade, in the very hot mid-west. Even in OR, I sometimes drape sheer curtains over my potatoes on hot days... they don't like too much sun, nor do they like fresh compost, for some reason...

Blueberry's picture

A few things to remember, plant certified seed potatoes find what kind grows in your area. Ask the county agent. What ever you apply you need two lbs of potash for every lbs of nitrogen for a high yield. Kmag is considered ok by USDA organics, fresh manure is not good to use around potatoes. Lots of water and more water. Be careful of the tops member of the nightshade family.

David Trammel's picture

On my to-do list for this year is to learn more about soil composition and how it affects various plants.

One of my advantages is that almost all of my eventual gardening will be done in raised beds and smaller containers. This should let me fine tune the soil for the plants in each. I haven't yet done one of those "send you soil to the University for a test report" things, which is my bad. I should. I will say that I have really improved the soil in my beds over the last few years, with added compost and such, from the heavy clay filled mess it was when I started. I know this because when ever I tuen over a spade full, it always has the biggest earthworms wiggling thru it.

I know the local robins love when i weed and plant, then sit on the fence and pounce on any worm i throw their way, lol.

Blueberry's picture

The Complete Book of Composting by J.I.Rodale, How to Grow Vegetables and Fruits By The Organic Method by J.I.Rodale. You can find used copies on amazon.