I had these huge plans to do a nice little garden last year……but it never happened. You see, we live on the side of a steep hill, what I refer to as a “mountain”. I have fallen a countless amount of times down that hill in the rain, snow and even on the driest of days. I’ve almost broken a wrist, sliced my leg open on a stray nail sticking up in the ground, and I’ve fallen on a chicken or two and had to apologize profusely. It must hurt being fallen on.
Last year I dug a small garden, by hand. That’s right. I whipped out the hoe and diggers and had at it. I got a few potatoes, some peas, tomatoes. But ultimately, almost everything I planted died because of water run off from the hill. Bah-hum-bug.
Husband decided that he would build me eight large raised beds this year. To say I’m excited is an understatement. I am ecstatic to finally have vegetables back. Don’t get me wrong — we loved utilizing the farmer’s market last year. We met some awesome new farmers and locals. But it just wasn’t the same as having your own right at your fingertips.
This year we’ve decided to do 4-6 beds of vegetables and 2 beds of flowers/herbs. The flower beds are strictly to help bring bee’s into the area. I know, I sound crazy, right? Unfortunately the honey bee population in Virginia (and in the country) is quickly diminishing because of the pesticides that large corporations and small farms use. We will be a pesticide free area, and I can’t wait to welcome the bee’s when they come. No bee’s, no veggies. No veggies, no happy mama.
I have ordered seeds from the same catalogs every year, and every year, they never disappoint. This year, however, we plan to save our own seeds from our own plants. If we continue to collect and plant the seeds from our plants, by the third generation, they will be much more bountiful and fruitful, as they will have acclimated nicely to our soil and weather conditions. I’m not sure why we never did this before, but this year, it is definitely a “must” on our to-do list.
Seed Savers Exchange is a completely non-gmo, organic, non-hybrid, non-chemical based seed company. Every single seed in their catalog is completely organic, non-gmo, and heirloom (not hybrid).
Southern Exposure Seed Exchange is a company based right here in Virginia. Many of their seeds are also organic and heirloom, but not all. Make sure you go by the heirloom and organic symbols by each product in the catalog. We still use SESE because there are certain plants in here that I can get that are not in the Seed Savers Exchange catalog.
The below is a quick (albeit, messy) layout of what I would like to have in the back this year. It will also help with re-sale value when we decide to put our house on the market.
Empress Green Beans
Edmonson Pickling Cucumbers
Dwarf Blue Curled Scotch Kale
Red Cherry Tomatoes
California Wonder Sweet Bell Pepper
Stone Mountain Watermelon (Juniors pick)
Abraham Lincoln Tomatoes
Green Arrow Peas
Tom Thumb Bib Lettuce
Kentucy Wonder Snap Bean
St. Valery Carrots
Detroit Dark Red Beets
Country Gentleman Sweet Corn
Flowers we are planning to grow:
Echinacea (also an herb)
Herbs we are planning to grow: