Fresh air, warm sun, digging in the soil, planting seeds……sorry, I was dreaming there. It’s the same every year, though – by mid-January, we’re pouring through seed catalogues and making our wish-list for the vegetable gardens. It probably makes it all the worse because of the early and (so far) harsh winter.
The big difference for us is the space we have to grow our plants – and it’s a BIG difference. Back in Ontario, we had the largest lot in our subdivision – a nice pie-shaped lot – but still a subdivision lot. We used our 30’x150′ lot to it’s maximum potential, growing lots of vegetables (tomatoes, onions, spinach, peppers, carrots, beets, parsnips, peas), fruit trees (cherry, plum and peach) and berries (raspberries, blackberries and blueberries).
Now we have an acre of space to grow….things. When I look out my window, I think “yeah, that’s a lot of space” but when I actually walk to the other end of the property and look back, it really puts the size of it into perspective.
So here we are reading the Vesey’s Seed Catalogue and making our list, checking it twice. We’ve got a lot of work ahead as spring approaches – clearing and tilling the soil and preparing the beds for planting – but not until things dry out some more. I’m just hoping that as early as winter arrived, spring will follow suit.
Here’s a look at what we’d like to plant:
- Asparagus – takes a few years to mature enough to harvest, but a perennial that is very hardy and will continue to produce for years
- Soy Beans – steamed in the shell with a sprinkle of salt (mmmm, Edamame)
- Yellow & Green Bush Beans – freezes very well or pickle some “Dilly Beans”
- Beets – a typical red variety for caning and a yellow version for roasting or grilling that doesn’t stain everything pink
- Broccoli – never had much success in Ontario, but the cooler PEI temps may help
- Cabbage – a summer variety for fresh use and a winter variety for storing and sauerkraut
- Carrot – chose three types, all sweet and stores well
- Celery – again, another vegetable new to us, but we’ll give it a try
- Collard – we enjoyed trying and eating different greens last year, wanted to try this one
- Corn – two varieties that mature two weeks apart so we have time to blanch and freeze portions
- Cucumber – a “burpless” variety for salads and a standard pickling variety
- Garlic – easy to grow and stores well, will never go to waste
- Kale – have you ever had Kale Chips?
- Leeks – freeze for use through the winter in soups and stews
- Lettuce – a couple of varieties of Leaf and Romaine, planted in the spring for early use and another planting in the fall
- Onion – two kinds, a storing onion and a red onion
- Parsnip – added to soup and stew or (my favorite) roasted or grilled like fries
- Snow Peas – for stir-frys or salads
- Peppers – a couple sweet varieties and some hot (jalapenos and Hungarian wax for pickling and chilies for roasting Ancho)
- Sweet Potato – not seeds but grown from vines – needs warm soil but does grow very well in Vesey’s test gardens
- Pumpkin – small cooking variety for pies and loafs
- Radishes – for salads and pickling
- Rutabega – soups, stews and side dishes – can also be fermented like sauerkraut
- Spinach – “I’m strong to the finish, ’cause I eats me…..”
- Zucchini – love grilled zucchini with olive oil and sea salt
- Winter Squash – a buttercup and butternut variety
- Swiss Chard – greens
- Tomato – two heirloom varieties, one plum-type for canning and a cherry tomato
- Tomatillo – we grew it last year in Ontario but never got to use the fruit – we’ll be making Salsa Verde this year
And that’s it for veggies. I’ve also got my eye on a few apple trees. We’ll likely plant a couple Macintosh trees for cooking and Honeycrisp for eating fresh, and of course we’ll also be growing my favorites: raspberries and blueberries.
When I get some time, I’ll sketch out what we want to do with the gardens. Until then, happy daydreaming.
I don’t see any potatoes on the list. My parents have a 60 year old plot of asparagas that is well appreciated by my family. Starting it from seed might take some time though. See if you can purchase a clump from a local farmer as well as planting seed. Good luck!
We talked about growing potatoes – and we probably will try something unique (perhaps blue potatoes or a fingerling variety) but there’s no shortage of potatoes in PEI. Wow – 60 year old asparagus plot – that’s awesome. I know a couple of places where we can get asparagus root cuttings – that would probably speed up things. I’ll let you know how it works!