2021 gardening Plans

If I want produce like this again, I need to plan now. Rob and I have done quite a bit of garden planning this winter and I’ve already ordered and received my seeds. Here’s what we’ve got planned.

Over the past few months, we have been improving our side yard. There was a strip of grass that became a place to pile things, caused lots of moans and groans every time Patsy had to man-handle the lawn mower over there to mow the tiny strip of grass and was wasting water to irrigate something we did not like. Rob built raised beds. Cardboard was put in the bottoms and dirt is being moved from beside the camper to fill them in. Last week I mixed in 1/2 bag of purchased growing mix and some bone meal and planted 1/2 of one bed with strawberry runners that had grown from my existing strawberry plants. If we want strawberries, the beds need renewing frequently or they don’t produce well. I was happy to get this many new baby plants for free.

We have raspberry and blackberry (Marion) bushes growing as well. This fall, we cut down an old peach tree that shaded those berries and the back of the garden. I’m excited to see how much better things should grow with the additional water and sunlight they will get.

The bags on the left are full of leaves. Rob picked them up downtown where someone had raked them up and left them out for the taking. Patsy has since dragged them into the garden. They are still in the bags. When the sun shines on the bags as spring comes on, they will decompose more quickly then if we poured them out. At least they did the last time we did this and hopefully it will work again. In the late spring, they will be spread out and tilled in, as long as they are pretty broken down. Otherwise, we will have to wait as they will rob the soil of nitrogen while they break down if they are too intact. Part of our planning is a constant search to improve our soil. We expect a lot from our garden, so we amend the soil every chance we get.

Rob will clean the greenhouse soon. He has some winter lettuce growing now, and will start some of the baby plants soon. Right now, it’s not heated at all, but he will put a heat mat under the new seeds when he plants them. It’s been a very mild winter. We have a space heater we can plug in if we absolutely have to, but we’d rather not.

Here are some of the seeds we are using this year. We also have a bag full from of partial packets from previous years, and quite a few seeds Rob saved this past summer. Since it’s the first time he’s done so much seed saving, we are being a little cautious. We will use his and the purchased ones until our confidence has grown and we make sure it’s been done correctly. Still, we ordered about 1/2 of what we do sometimes. You cannot save seeds from hybrids–they won’t grow true to kind. Still, I grow some of those because I want the product they produce. The flowers were a Christmas gift. I love zinnias, so I know I will grow those!

It looks like a lot of seeds, and it is. I grow a huge garden, and we start our seedlings of things like tomatoes and peppers. We also give away some starts to my sister and others. I can and freeze large quantities of vegetables and fruits–I’m talking hundreds of packages and jars, so I need a lot of produce!

I ordered from Territorial Seeds and Pinetree Garden Seeds this year. I like to order from Johnny’s sometimes, but like to limit myself so I don’t have to pay as much shipping. We have several great garden centers around here and I can pick up more things if I need them. I like to order, though, because I like to choose the varieties I want with the disease resistance and productivity I want.

Here are some of the kinds I like to grow. Remember, some of these have been saved, or I already have a partial packet of them so you may not see them in the picture.

Lettuce: The photo is Yukon Winter Mix from Territorial. It’s from the greenhouse. It is the first time I’ve grown it. I had good success in the garden, have some in the raised bed under plastic and in the greenhouse. I ordered more, plus a winter mix from Pinetree. I always grow Buttercrunch. It’s my favorite. I like lettuce mixes and always grow them, plus Drunken Woman Frizzy Headed Lettuce from Territorial. I like the Flashy Troutback lettuce from Territorial, also. We have Gondor head lettuce from Territorial and have used Summertime in the past.

Onions: I have green onion seeds we saved. I get packets from the Dollar Store sometimes if I need them. I grew Patterson F1 onions for storage and Red Bull F1 as well, from Territorial, and will do so again. You cannot save these seeds, as they are hybrids. They store well. We still have tons left and usually they last until spring if they are not all eaten. I grew white onions last summer. They are all gone because they do not store well.

Cabbage: Last fall, we planted Quick Start cabbage from Territorial because is was the only kind Rob could find seeds for. They were in short supply around here last summer. It grew quickly, made a great fall crop, and I still have one out in the garden that looks good. The rest have been picked and eaten. We ordered another packet of it. It is a smallish head, grows quickly and tasted great. I’ve grown the Cabbage Mix from Pinetree for years. It is all kinds of cabbage mixed up–red ones, big ones, small…all mixed up. I only got 1 red one last year, and will have Rob make sure to not thin out all of those this year, as we enjoying the cabbage/apple relish (?) mix I canned. Even with only one, I got 6 or 7 small jars.

Carrots: I’m not picky on those. I ordered Eskimo F1 from Territorial, just for fun, but am happy with Danvers Half Long from the Dollar Store or anywhere else.

Spinach and Greens: Joi Choi Pac Choi from Territorial is our favorite Boc Choi for early spring and fall planting. Rob’s just getting into kale in the past few years, and finds he likes the Tuscan kind. We ordered Dazzling Blue Kale from Pinetree to try it, and have been enjoying several kinds of kale my friend Jeannie sent me seeds for. We are newbies to growing celery, and have lots of skinny, leafy celery with hollow stems growing right now. We will try Tango from Pinetree this summer and see how it does. We’ve grown Bloomsdale Spinach from various sources, ordered Palco from Pintree for early spring and Reflect from Pinetree for summer planting.

Beans: Blue Lake Bush beans are our favorite. I got 2-1/2 pounds from Territorial this year, as we grow a tremendous amount. I can many quarts each summer. Carson is a good yellow bush bean. I grow a few rows of those and usually mix them into some of the green ones when I can, if I’ve got any ripe ones, for color variance. I also like growing some pole beans for a continuous crop until fall so we can eat fresh ones as long as possible. The bush ones give a large crop all at once for preserving. Rob saved a bunch of Blue Lake Pole Bean seeds. I bought Violet Podded Stringless Pole Beans to grow. They were a bust last summer, but I’ll try again with more sunlight to help them along this year.

Tomatoes: Glacier (Territorial) for small, extremely early tomatoes. Black or Chocolate Cherry, Sungold and Yellow Pear for small tomatoes to snack on. We got Fantastic F1 from Territorial for canning, Cordova F1 as a sauce/paste tomato and are trying CarmelloF1 for the first time for slicing. We grew BuffalosteakF1 last year and will use the rest of the packet this year. We could not get WillametteF1 this year from Territorial, so Rob ordered some from the internet. We’ll see what they turn out to be:). We got some Longkeeper seeds. I grew them years ago and want to try again. The green tomatoes Rob picked and ripened lasted until Thanksgiving. Maybe these can do better.

Broccoli: Hybrid Broccoli Blend from Territorial. It gives broccoli at different times, as it is a mix of different varieties, which is nice.

Herbs: Dill, basil, cilantro, parsley. I’m not picky. I order some, get some from the Dollar store, and save seeds. My parsley self-seeds, as does the cilantro and sometimes dill.

Peppers: Carmen (Pinetree or Johnny’s)–it’s a long sweet pepper that ripens early, a must for my climate. I’ve grown it for years. I’m growing Jalafuigo Jalepeno from Pinetree this year as it promises to be larger and spicier than others. Anaheim can be purchased many places. Serranos from the Dollar Store work fine, as I only need a few. Lola F1 from Territorial is a recent favorite. It’s a long, light green sweet pepper and bears heavily. Rob started Hungarian Wax Peppers from the Dollar Store last year, not knowing what they would be exactly. They were great and we still have a package…We also have some bell pepper seeds from there.

Peas: I grew some Tall Telephone Pole peas last year and got a few. This year, I will go back to an old favorite, Maestro, a bush pea from Territorial. I don’t grow them every year, but I plan to put some into one of the new raised beds for an early spring crop.

We use multiple succession plantings of Oregon Sugar Pod II peas. Tons! We eat them as fast as we grow them and I plant a new, tiny row every 2 weeks all summer long.

Beets: Early Wonder Tall Top is our favorite. I’ve also used Detroit. Pinetree Beet Mix is good, too. Rob got a whole handful of Early Wonder Beets on clearance at a local farm store, so that’s what I’ve got this year, plus a bunch of the mix left over. Even with all I grew last year, we had to buy a bunch to pickle–beets are a favorite around here!

Pumpkins and Winter Squash: I struggle with those in this garden. I’ve tried Butternut and Delicata with poor results. I will try again, but was super grateful for the Sweetmeat and Butternut Rob’s cousin gave us, and the ones we were able to purchase at a local farm stand.

Summer Squash: Raven F1 Zucchini from Territorial is great, as is Easypick Gold F1. From Pinetree, I like Tromboncini and Summer Squash Mix. I use a lot of those and make relish and pickles with this as well as eat it fresh.

Cucumbers: Lemon cucumbers grow great and self-seed often in my garden. Rob saved some seeds of those this past summer. Pickling cucumber seeds are fine from the Dollar Store, but, again, Rob saved some. The slicers–same story. I also have some from last year in case his don’t grow, but I think they will. I use a great deal of pickling cucumbers–I canned about 50 pints last summer–so I need a lot.

Flowers: I always grow zinnias and they self-seed in my garden. I like nasturtiums as well, plus Rob grew great pansies last year. He also grew snapdragons from the Dollar Store seeds and they are still alive. He likes to experiment, and so I will have whatever flowers he decides to grow at the time. Last year he saved over the geraniums again, so I will have those. He started a bunch of those from seed last year, and then some cuttings from ours and my aunt’s plants.

Even with growing all of this, sometimes crops fail, or I can’t grow enough, so my sister is gracious enough to let me pick from her garden. We also buy things from farm stands, such as cauliflower, which we do not grow, or peppers if I need to make relish before ours are ripe. It’s always a changing process, but keeps my mind busy and my body active. I love gardening!

10 thoughts on “2021 gardening Plans”

  1. The greenhouse lettuce looks beautiful. We have a green house in the plans, though not sure when we’ll begin on it. Sad that much of our lettuce rotted after a few nights in the teens, despite being covered. You can never find too much to amend the soil with, can you? I don’t think it’s typical for the varieties my husband planted, but we’re also getting small cabbage heads. They taste good though. I hope your new side yard area is bountiful!

    1. I’m sorry your lettuce rotted. Kind of like one batch of snow peas I planted last fall–they started to bloom, then frosted and rotted…..But, the ones that were planted later are just small plants and seem to be wintering over just fine. Last year, I had very early snow peas by doing it that way. I’m sure you will replant in just a few short weeks and ….here we go again! Another round of gardening. I love this time of year. There’s so much hope in the air:)

  2. Thanks so much for writing this post. I took notes…LOL
    It also prompted me to order from our local seed source called West Coast Seeds. They used to be affliliated with Territorial Seeds a long time ago. So I was able to find some of the same varieties. Also checked into Pinecone but they don’t ship to Canada right now. I know I could order from Territorial and had looked into that in the past. But their shipping charges to Canada put them out of my budget. I used to use them exclusively when I lived in WA state. I really loved their Early Cascade tomatoe – a very small slicer that did well for me. I can get that here but need to start the seeds myself.

    One thing of note – West Coast seeds had a lot of ‘coming soon’ tags on their seeds. And they’re shipping is 7-10 days longer then normal right now. And the prices —wow, what a jump. Yikes to all of that. I’m so glad I just got this order in last night.

    Sending hugs and prayers…

    1. I’m so glad it was helpful to you–it took me longer than I thought to write it. I didn’t realize how many kinds of seeds I grew until I started to type it all out!

      We ordered immediately when the website let us. Then, it still took them about 2-3 weeks to get us our seeds, since they were not done filling the little packets from their bulk supplies. (Rob called them, that’s how we know). There is one package of broccoli that is still coming, but the rest came. We had ordered seeds in about January-February last year and had no trouble at all, as Covid hadn’t caused delays yet. But, when we wanted more seeds late summer for a fall garden….YIKES! It was tough to get any, and took a while. Thankfully, we live in Oregon, and Territorial in in Oregon (a couple of hours down I-V from us) and I like to think that speeded it up a little. Also, there are a couple of stores in town that carry a limited supply of their seeds, so Rob snagged a couple of packets there. (There were so few packs left that he had no choice of variety, but it worked out–he also got more lettuce at a farm store–I told him get whatever–I wasn’t picky and he eats the most of that anyway:) Because of all that, we ordered seeds for a fall garden already, and lots and lots of lettuce, plus he saved some lettuce seeds. It has been very successful and I’m going to do more next fall again.

      So, I’m not surprised to hear there’s a delay from your seed company. You are super smart to lay in a supply now. I know you love your community garden plots and yard/flowerbeds (can’t quite remember what you do there). You will be able to get a few things going before you know it!

      I’m excited to see how the seeds Rob saved work out and we eagerly hope to teach ourselves to do more from open-pollinated varieties. However, I still plan to use some of my favorite hybrid varieties as long as I can get them, because they work for me:). There is one super dark-red lettuce plant my friend, Jeannie, sent me seed for and we tried to save some of those. That’s the one I hope works the most–only a fellow-gardener would understand my excitement!

      1. I haven’t tried to save lettuce seed. Would love to hear more about that. I did let a section of lettuce grow well past its prime hoping it would self seed. But I never saw any flowers. I also left some carrots and beets in the ground to overwinter to see if they’d produce seeds.

        To answer your question = I’m in two community gardens. Each plot is roughly6ftX9ft. On one of them, there’s a trellis that divides my plot from the neighbors. I also have a space here at my apartment building, I can grow some things in the ground as well. A few years ago, the lawn here was destroyed by some beattle and instead of reseeding the lawn, the residents were allowed to make veggie gardens. I jumped at the chance to have something just steps away from my front door. But, not enough space to grow winter squash or pumpkin. Or for really big production for canning. But the three spots keep me busy and keep me in veggies all spring and summer.

        1. That was great that they let you guys make a garden in the old lawn.

          I really can’t get much squash or pumpkin to grow, either. Maybe with the peach tree down, there will be enough light and water to make them work this time. Also, they take really good soil, and I just don’t have that in the back of the garden, yet. But, I will with enough time, so I’ll probably keep trying.

          Our lettuce sent up flowers. They were either white or yellow, depending on the variety and were a bit fluffy. We left them alone for a long time, then they went ahead and set seeds. It was well into the fall before we felt they were ready. The lettuce plants got kind of sticky, fell over, and were covered with caterpillars of some kind, but we just picked the blooms and rubbed the seeds out of them….we will see it it worked!

  3. What a great, exciting post! I love reading about your garden plans! I want to expand my vegetable plot, this year. Right now, I have a tiny bed with cool weather plants growing – 2 pea vines, 2 broccoli plants, 8 radish plants (picked 4 radishes, already!), and some chard (which are just seedlings, currently). Of course, it is 86F, today, so, not ideal for “cool weather” vegetables, but, hopefully, I’ll still get to harvest a few veggies over the next few weeks. 🙂

    1. I love your little garden! 86? WOW!!!! And, to think I’m considering it very warm and mild when it hits 50 degrees this time of year:).
      I actually picked enough broccoli for dinner yesterday. I was amazed. I’ll bet your broccoli will go right ahead and make broccoli, since I will likely thing summer is on the way with those temps!

  4. This was my favorite post ever! I was thrilled to hear of all the seeds you have ordered. (I am so nosey).

    We finally have internet and phone service after two and a half weeks without due to the Christmas Morning Bomber in Nashville. AT&T is still not working in our area and so we are using a checked-out hot spot from our library. We have not been able to find any other carriers for our remote location and don’t know what we are going to do.

    However, the first thing I did when I could use the internet was to order seeds (everyone is already running out) and Bakers Creek has closed down their website due to high volume. The evening they opened, I searched, made my list (of what they had in stock) and before I could click the order button, they closed down AGAIN! I have to research everything, read every comment, make lists, think and ponder, and only then can I order anything.

    I can’t save seeds for carrots because they cross-pollinate with Queen Anne’s Lace which is always blooming in the field beside my house. Squash, melons, cucumbers, and peppers easily cross-pollinate and if I have different varieties growing, I can’t save those seeds either.

    This year I have (hopefully will be able to) buy more seeds than in years past. I want to try even more new vegetables.

    I didn’t plant enough tomatoes last year. We ate most of our tomatoes fresh. I have already had to buy spaghetti sauce and was HORRIFIED at the price. Since I must buy a brand without sugar, there was not much of a choice. The only redeeming thing about the spaghetti sauce I bought is that the jars can be used for canning.

    My Tahitian Butternut squash are still storing well in the basement and the spaghetti squash are doing ok, but not great. About three have gone bad. My potatoes didn’t store long at all. The basement is just not cool enough.

    In another month, I might start a few seeds just to keep from getting cabin fever.


    1. I’m sorry Baker Creek is struggling to keep seeds in, but I’m not surprised. Thankfully, most of the seeds I order are the same kinds year after year after year after year…..plus the addition of a few new ones. So, I do read the catalogs/descriptions because I enjoy it, but usually know what I want right away. This year, I did have some struggles with the Jalapenos …last year I tried out a mixed pepper packet, thinking, “Hey, buy one pack, not 4, get all the kinds at once…” BAD IDEA for me! Rob grew tons, and we gave a way a few to friends and family, and because we had absolutely no idea of what we were keeping, giving away or growing, I ended up with tons of Cayenne peppers, some Anaheims that did not produce, and only about 2 Jalapeños that turned out to have no heat at all….. So this year, I did read a lot of descriptions and chose one that is supposed to be larger and a little hotter. So, I totally get why it takes lots of time when you are actually choosing a variety. Fun, though:)

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