Once upon a time, I used to think that vegetable gardening was a seasonal hobby. I'd plant my tomatoes and peppers in the spring, harvest them in the summer, and then wait until the next year to start all over again.
But then I discovered the joy of year-round vegetables, and it changed my life (and my plate) forever.
Now, no matter where you live or what the climate is like, you can enjoy year-round vegetables too.
And the best part? It's easier than you might think.
With just a few simple steps, you too can enjoy a year-round supply of homegrown veggies, no matter in what climate you live.
So, in this blog post, I'm going to share with you three simple steps to year-round vegetables in any climate.
Whether you're a seasoned gardener or just starting out, these tips will help you create a thriving vegetable garden that produces delicious, fresh produce that provides you with homegrown abundance all year long. So, let's get started!
When I first started gardening, I made the mistake of just planting whatever looked good at the nursery without much thought about what would actually thrive in my area.
Needless to say, I ended up with a lot of dead plants and a lot of wasted money. But after some research, I learned that creating a garden plan is essential to successfully having year-round vegetables.
So, the first step is to create a plan that is specific to your climate. And not only your climate, but also your needs. Start by researching what vegetables grow well in your climate and when to plant them.
All vegetables have specific times of the year that are the most ideal for them to grow in. You can find this information online, at your local nursery, or by asking experienced gardeners in your community.
Consider the amount of sunlight your garden gets and how much rainfall you can expect throughout the year.
Next, think about what vegetables you and your family actually like to eat. It's important to grow vegetables that you will actually enjoy and eat, otherwise it will all be for nothing.
If you're not sure, start with a few easy-to-grow vegetables like tomatoes, lettuce, and herbs. You can always experiment with new varieties as you become more experienced.
Finally, consider your garden size and layout. Will you be growing in containers or in the ground? How much space do you have? Will you need to install raised beds or trellises?
Take some time to measure and plan out your garden space before you start planning. This will help you maximize your garden's potential.
By taking the time to create a garden plan specific to your climate, food preferences, and garden size, you'll set yourself up for a successful growing season.
Now that you have your garden plan in place, it's time to start growing your vegetables. This is the fun part!
When I first started growing vegetables, I was surprised at how quickly they sprouted and grew. It was like magic! But there are a few things you need to keep in mind to ensure that your plants thrive.
The first thing you need to consider when growing vegetables is planting them at the right time. Every vegetable has its own specific growing season, so it's important to know when to plant each one.
Refer to your garden plan and follow the recommended planting schedule for your climate. This will help ensure that your vegetables have the best chance of success.
When it's time to plant, make sure to give your vegetables a good start by preparing the soil properly. If you follow the no-dig approach as we do, this often means either removing a previous crop or simply adding a bit of fresh compost to the beds to improve its texture and fertility.
This will help your plants develop strong roots and access the nutrients they need to grow.
Once your vegetables are in the ground, it's essential to pay attention to their needs. Different vegetables have different requirements for water, sunlight, and nutrients.
Make sure you're providing your plants with the right amount of each. Most vegetables require at least six hours of sunlight per day, so make sure your garden gets enough light. Water your plants deeply and consistently, but be careful not to overwater or underwater them. This can lead to disease, root rot, and other problems.
In addition to water and sunlight, your plants will also need nutrients to grow. You can provide these nutrients by using compost and well-rotted manures. That’s all we’ve done for 6 years straight, without the need for any special mix of fertilizers, yet we always had an abundance of high-quality vegetables.
Another important aspect of growing vegetables is managing pests and diseases. Unfortunately, there are a lot of things that can harm your plants, from insects to fungi. Keep an eye out for any signs of trouble, such as yellowing leaves or holes in the leaves, and take action quickly.
You can use natural pest control methods like companion planting, or physical barriers like insect netting, but your best bet is to invest in high-quality soil that provides the desired needs for the plants. This in turn will allow your seedlings to grow into healthy plants that are less affected by pests and diseases.
Finally, consider succession planting. This means planting different vegetables in the same spot throughout the year, so you always have something growing.
If you’ve developed a garden plan specific to your climate, you’ll already have in place a plan that accounts for planting successions over the course of the growing season. For example, you can plant lettuce in the spring, followed by tomatoes in the summer, and then plant kale in the fall.
This will help you maximize your garden space and ensure that you always grow the most amount of food with the garden space you have available.
By following these tips and paying close attention to your plant’s needs, you'll be well on your way to a thriving vegetable garden that produces delicious, fresh produce, that you can enjoy year-round.
Congratulations! You've successfully grown a bountiful harvest of fresh vegetables in your garden. But now what? You might be wondering how you can enjoy all of this produce throughout the year, especially if your growing season is short.
That's where preserving comes in.
There are several methods for preserving vegetables, including canning, freezing, dehydrating, and fermenting. Each method has its own benefits and drawbacks, so it's important to consider what will work best for you and your family.
Canning is a great way to preserve vegetables because it can last for years and doesn't require refrigeration. To can vegetables, you'll need to prepare them by washing and chopping them into small pieces. Then, you'll need to boil them in a water bath or pressure canner to kill any bacteria and seal the jars.
Canning can be time-consuming, but it's worth it when you can enjoy your garden-fresh vegetables in the dead of winter.
Freezing is another popular method for preserving vegetables. It's quick and easy, and frozen vegetables retain much of their flavor and nutrients. To freeze vegetables, you'll need to blanch them first by boiling them briefly and then plunging them into ice water.
This stops the cooking process and helps retain their color and texture. Then, you can pack the vegetables into freezer bags or containers and store them in the freezer for up to a year.
Dehydrating is a great option for preserving vegetables if you're short on freezer space. You can dehydrate vegetables in a dehydrator, in the oven on low heat, or if you’re blessed with a Mediterranean climate, you can dry them outdoors during the summer months.
Dehydrated vegetables are lightweight and take up less space than frozen or canned vegetables. They're also great for snacks, soups, and stews.
Fermenting is a method of preserving vegetables that has been used for centuries. It involves using salt and bacteria to create a brine that pickles the vegetables and extends their shelf life.
Fermented vegetables are not only delicious but also packed with probiotics that are great for gut health.
No matter which method you choose, preserving your vegetables is a great way to enjoy the fruits of your labor year-round. So get creative and experiment with different preservation methods to find what works best for you.
And there you have it, folks! With these three simple steps, you can turn your garden into a year-round grocery store. By creating a garden plan that suits your climate, food preferences, and space, growing a variety of vegetables, and preserving them using different methods, you can enjoy fresh produce all year long.
But don't stop here! There's always more to learn about gardening and preserving, and you can continue to hone your skills and expand your knowledge. We have an exciting workshop coming up that will show you even more tips and tricks for turning your garden into a year-round source of delicious, nutritious food. So be sure to join our email list and get notified when this new workshop will go live!
In the meantime, we encourage you to get started on your garden plan and start growing some fresh, delicious vegetables. Whether you're a seasoned gardener or just starting out, there's nothing quite like the satisfaction of growing your own food and enjoying it year-round. So, get your hands dirty, have fun, and happy gardening!