Skip to Content

Our 2020 Garden Plan – Growing Big To Stock The Pantry!

When it comes to our 2020 garden plan at the farm, it’s all about growing to fill up our pantry, freezer and more!

As you will see in the plan below, that means filling our raised rows with as many vegetables as possible. And it also means taking succession planting to a new level as well.

garden tips & advice
And we thought the garden would be resting this year! Much like this photo from last year’s garden, it will be growing and hopefully overflowing with vegetables again this year.

All in order to fill up a pantry and freezer that were not thought to be needed this year.

A Big Change In Plans

The last few weeks have been a bit surreal for us. Maybe unreal is a better term.

For those that don’t know, we were to be on the road this entire growing season finishing up our 50 state one year tour. Obviously, with recent the events that have transpired, that plan has changed drastically.

This is how our garden looked just a few weeks back. All covered up, and ready for a big rest all summer long.

Unfortunately, knowing we would be gone for a year, we spent last year using up much of our pantry and freezer. Talk about a time to come home to bare cupboards!

But hey, life is about making the best of every situation. And since we love to garden and need to restock our pantry, it was time to change gears and turn a negative into a positive.

the 2020 garden plan
The tap is off, and the garden is coming to life quickly. Including fixing the annoying fence rail I noticed when posting this photo!

After all, growing, canning and freezing is what we love to do! So with no time to waste, the tarp over the garden came off, the seed-starting stand came to life, and the 2020 Garden Plan was hatched – and here it is!

The 2020 OWG Garden Plan

2020 garden plan
Our 2020 Garden Plan – Quite the big plan for a garden that wasn’t supposed to exist this year!

Below is our 2020 Old World Garden Plan. We have included some highlights of the varieties and planting styles below as well.

Salad Crops

This will be a big year for the salad crops. For one, they can be planted early. In fact, we already have most of them in. They also mature fast, so hopefully, will be harvesting our first spinach, lettuce, radishes and more within 4 to 5 weeks.

2020 garden plan
We had to get our seed stand out in a hurry to start all of our vegetable transplants.

From there, the plan is to succession plant repeatedly. That way, no matter what, we have fresh greens all spring, summer and fall.

We are also planting a fair amount of turnips this year. Last year, we began using them as a substitute for potatoes in soups and roasts – and absolutely loved them! The same goes for oversized radishes as well – they are perfect for roasting.

Turnips are easy to grow, and full of nutrition. They are an excellent substitute for potatoes with roasted vegetables, and in soups.

Notable Plants : Black Seeded Simpson, Paris Island Romaine, Cherry Belle, Watermelon Radishes, Turnips, White, Red & Yellow Onion sets, Kale, Spinach, Sugar Snap Peas.


Tomatoes are not only are a favorite, but a key vegetable to grow to fill the pantry and freezer. Beyond fresh eating, we are increasing our tomato planting to make and preserve salsa, picante, pasta sauce, diced tomatoes, fire roasted tomatoes and tomato juice.

Tomatoes are a big part of our soup making as well. We will be making quite a few batches of homemade chili vegetable, and vegetable-beef soups over the fire this summer and fall to stock up the freezer with soup bricks!

paste tomato
Paste tomatoes, like this San Marzano variety make the best ketchup.

Because of that, we have nearly doubled our San Marzano tomato plants for the 2020 Garden Plan. They are the perfect tomato for canning and making tomato salsa, soups and sauce. And, they are heavy producers in the garden.

We also added in four tomatillo plants to our growing scheme this year. Although not a true tomato plant, they are a fellow nightshade family member.

We fell in love with salsa verde on our trip, and it has now become a “must-make” for both fresh eating, and canning a year’s supply.

tomatillo plants - a new addition to the garden plan for 2020

Plants : San Marzano, Hillbilly, Tiger Blush, Purple Cherokee, Mr. Stripey. Green Tomatilo, Black Krim, Brandywine, tomatillo.

Beans and Peas

Beans are such a great plant for filling a pantry – and a big part of our 2020 Garden Plan. They give so much produce for the space they take, and to boot, they help re-energize the soil they are grown in.

We will be freezing and canning a large supply of green and purple beans this year. To accomplish this goal, we will succession plant with several separate crops over the course of the year.

We love growing the Burgundy variety of purple green beans. They add so much color to the garden, and taste delicious! They do turn green when cooking in case you wondered.

Plants : Bush Lake Beans, Burgundy Green Beans, Sugar Snap Peas

Cucumbers & Zucchini

We are planting zucchini and cucumbers everywhere in our 2020 Garden Plan. In our straw bale crates, in our raised rows, and even among our popcorn rows.

Corn, zuchinni and cucumbers are a great crop to intermingle. The corn provides support for the climbing cucumbers vines. And at the same time, the prickly cucumber and zucchini vines help keep raccoon and other pests away from the corn.

straw bale garden - zucchini
We grow a portion of zucchini in our straw bales every year.

This will certainly be a year to stock up on pickles. In addition, Mary makes a delicious zucchini relish that we are now out of as well! (See: Grandma’s Zucchini Relish Recipe)

Plants : Straight Eight, Boston Pickling and Bush Pickling Cucumbers


We love peppers for so many different reasons – fresh eating, stuffed peppers, salsa – and for making delicious appetizers from our shishito and jalapeno peppers.

But in addition to all of those, we also make and preserve a whole slew of things from our pepper crop. And that is why they are prevalent in our 2020 Garden Plan.

shishito peppers are once again a part of the garden plan.
Grilled Shishito peppers, one of our favorites and oh so healthy!

From stuffed pepper soup and stuffed peppers, to candied jalapenos, banana pepper rings and hot pepper mustard. And who can forget about delicious hot pepper flakes and powder!

Plants : Italian Roaster, Jalapeno, Red Chili, Italian Roaster, Chinese Five Color, Serrano, Sweet Orange, Red and Yellow Bell, Green Bell, Shishito


We now grow all of our potatoes in our homemade potato crates. And that includes sweet potatoes, and traditional potatoes as well. It is quite simply the easiest way to grow and harvest potatoes. See : Growing Potatoes In Crates

And do we ever need to grow them this year! We are completely out and it is time to stock up!

2020 Garden Plan - potato crates
Potato crates – a big part of our 2020 Garden Plan

Plants : Red Potatoes, Yukon Gold, Beauregard Sweet Potatoes

There of course are many more crops as well that will come to life. Luckily, we did plant our garlic last fall and will have that to harvest in early July. One thing is for sure – we are back, and we are in GARDEN MODE. And yes, of course there are smiles on our faces – how can you not when you are gardening!

We are all stocked up on our worm castings (thankfully could buy on line this year!), our rain water tanks are in place – and here we go!

So here is to putting our 2020 Garden Plan into action over the coming growing season. And to stocking our pantry back up in the process. Happy Gardening! Jim and Mary.

Jim and Mary Competti have been writing gardening, DIY and recipe articles and books for over 15 years from their 46 acre Ohio farm. The two are frequent speakers on all things gardening and love to travel in their spare time.

As always, feel free to email us at with comments, questions, or to simply say hello! You can sign up for our free email list in the subscribe now box in the middle of this article. Follow us on Facebook here : OWG Facebook. This article may contain affiliate links.