Our 2020 Garden
My answer has changed. I used to answer the question, because I know where my food has been grown and in what conditions it was grown. Now my answer is, I grow my own food because of times just like this. I don’t need to go to the store to get my food, I need to go to the pantry, out to the garden or to the barn for eggs.
Never in my 61 years have we seen a time such as this; where our food comes from all over the world and then suddenly the borders have been closed. Farmers and food processors, canners, may have trouble getting the needed labor across the border to pick the produce. Will there be a shortage of food in the US, probably, will people that have gardens be affected, not so much.
Since the Covid-19 pandemic started, I’ve been thinking about the highest value vegetables that can be grown easily in a home garden and can be versatile and life sustaining. I know that if I grow tomatoes I can make (and can) spaghetti and tomato juice, sauce and paste, I can make salsa, ketchup, and barbeque sauce plus have fresh tomatoes for salads and sandwiches. If I grow potatoes, I’ll have a supply of potassium packed side dishes. If I grow onions, we’ll have fresh onion rings, French onion soup, I can dry them out and make my own onion powder and onion salt, and if I grow other herbs too (and I do) I can make my own ranch dressing, let’s face it onions can go in just about anything I cook. I grow cucumbers so we can eat cucumber salad, pickles and sweet pickle relish, home-grown peppers go in the relish too and they make a great tasting jelly. Dried peppers go in chili, soups, and the ranch dressing! The list goes on……
So… here is a list of vegetables I will be growing in my raised bed garden boxes this year based on taste, versatility, life sustaining, ease of growing, prolific crops, time of the year and how easy it is to process.
Spring/Fall Crops: (they can take a bit of frost and cooler weather)
Garlic, planted last fall Cole crops: Cabbage, Cauliflower, Broccoli, Kale
Onions, storage and sweet varieties Herbs: Cilantro, parsley, thyme
Sweet Peas: snap and snow Lettuce: Romaine, Buttercrunch, iceberg, red leaf
After the last frost date: (which for us in NW Pennsylvania is around Memorial Day)
Peppers: jalapeno, poblano, yellow sweet, bell peppers
Tomatoes: Determinate Roma types for canning, Indeterminates for fresh eating/processing.
Potatoes: Russet, Norland Reds, Yukon Gold
Carrots: Nantes, for storage and fresh eating, Imperator for canning
Beans: Green and Black beans for canning and drying for storage, bush and pole types
Squash: Summer: zucchini, cucumbers, yellow crooked neck Winter: spaghetti, butternut
Herbs: basil, mint, sage, rosemary, more cilantro/coriander
Plus, we have areas for asparagus, strawberries and horseradish that are perennial beds.
The vegetables listed above will give us a good amount of food for the summer and the winter, and perhaps get us through whatever the next world crisis may be.