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The Ultimate Vegetable Garden Plan – How To Grow Your Own Groceries!

As we do each and every year, it’s time to share our ultimate vegetable garden plan for the upcoming year. And this year’s garden has taken on more importance than ever!

vegetable garden plan
Nothing beats fresh from the garden! We have always tried to grow as many of our groceries as possible each year. That, of course, includes enough to preserve for use all winter long. This year, that focus will be bigger than ever.

Each year, we plan out all of our vegetable growing areas to fit the needs of our food goals. We also use our plan to trial new plants or methods of growing for the blog. Case in point, our 5 gallon bucket planters that really became a big hit last year.

One thing is for sure, it’s always an exciting time to plan and dream. But in the midst of last year’s issues around the globe, it has taken on a bit more importance for us this year.

Let’s face it, last year was one for the ages! In addition to everything else, there also seemed to be a new shortage of something every week. Including fruits, vegetables, meats and other foods at various times.

I will tell you for us, it was a huge benefit to have our usual home-grown grocery from the garden. Not to mention, a deep supply of preserved food on hand as well.

The Ultimate Garden Plan

We decided for this year’s garden spaces to focus more than ever on growing the “home-grown” groceries we love most. Not only to have fresh organic produce on hand, but as a bit of security against any future shortages as well.

That includes packing our main 40 x 60′ Raised Row Garden with plants, and all of our new 5 gallon bucket planter boxes we trailed last year. We were ecstatic with the result of growing vegetables in the buckets. Not only were they a cinch to plant and maintain, the harvest from them was unbelievable.

So much so that we are expanding the planter boxes to create an entire garden from them as an experiment. It will be a great way to show that anyone, of any age and anywhere can grow some of their own food.

bucket planter 5 gallon
The bucket planters were a huge success for us last year. We were able to grow tomatoes, tomatillos, herbs, peppers and more. This year we will create an entire garden from them as an experiment.

Here is a look at what and where we will be growing our groceries this year. And as a bit of passing advice, if you are looking for seeds for their garden – order early this year!

I was shocked this past week to find many of our favorite seed sources already running low on seed. Just one more reason saving seeds is a great idea! Now here is a look at the growing plan!

The Ultimate Vegetable Garden Plan

The Main Garden

Our main Raised Row garden will be filled this year with our staples for fresh eating and growing. That means tomatoes, peppers, popcorn, cucumbers, zucchini, cabbage, beans, peas – and whole slew of revolving and continuously planted salad crops.

Tomatoes always dominate our garden plan because we use them for so many different purposes. We love to eat them fresh, but we also make and preserve our own salsa, pasta sauce, pizza sauce, ketchup and more.

2021 Garden Plan
The main Raised Row Garden Plan for this year. As always, we rotate the crops around in a clockwise method from last year. The Raised Row method really helps us grow a lot of vegetables with little effort. There is little need for weeding or watering, and with the no-till method of planting and cover crops, it makes working the soil a breeze.

For us, it all starts with the San Marzano, our favorite paste tomato. It is the base for many of our canned tomato supply. Beyond, that, we will grow a grand total of 18 additional heirlooms, including our top 3 favorites – Black Krim, Tiger Blush, Mortgage Lifter.

Peppers, Beans, Cabbage, Cauliflower & More

Peppers are a close second to our tomato crop. We use them in many of the same canned good, and they are big in our soups too. We will be growing an entire row of red, green and yellow bell peppers. In addition to that, we will dedicate 3 more rows to all kinds of hot and sweet peppers.

This year, we will be using row covers in our cabbage and cauliflower rows. We trialed them last year and really liked the way they kept those two crops free of cabbage moths and worms.

Our popcorn and zucchini growing in our garden last year. We love our home grown popcorn!

We use a lot of cauliflower now, making our own cauliflower rice and pizza crusts, so growing a large amount is a must. As usual, we will grow two full rows of popcorn. We grow Ladyfinger and Black Dakota, and do they ever make for a healthy nightly snack!

Potato Crates & Straw Bales – The Ultimate Vegetable Garden Plan

We will also once again grow a large crop of cucumbers and zucchini is our straw bale crates. They produce so heavily each year, and we love how easy it is to plant and maintain.

Likewise, we will plant all of our potatoes in potato crates at the back of the garden. Growing potatoes in crates is the only way we go now. We grow both sweet potatoes and traditional Yukon Gold in our crates. We will have a new article coming out on that this week on the blog.

growing cucumbers in straw
Our cucumber and zucchini plants in their straw bales in late July at the farm. We use the straw bale crates to grow these two crops every year and it makes planting and harvesting a cinch.

Finally, there are the salad crop areas in our raised beds. We will start early in March and plant and harvest right up until frost. Lettuce, kale, spinach, beets, onions, radishes – and the list goes on and on. Salad crops are so easy to grow – and perfect for any home garden.

For The Love Of Tomatillos

Tomatillos have become big for us too. We make plenty of fresh salsa verde, and freeze and can even more for winter. In addition, we make and freeze large batches of green chicken chili verde, one of our favorite soups of all!

We are growing all of our tomatillos in our raised bucket planters this year. The plants thrived in them last year, and they are nice to grow up by our patio to have at the ready.

2021 vegetable garden plan
When you grow your own organic vegetables, a trip to the garden is way more fun that heading to your local market.

They bucket planters will also hold shishito peppers, fire red peppers, Chinese Five Color peppers and a wide assortment of herbs, including basil, cilantro and parsley.

Remember to order those seeds early! For any that are looking, we do have 10% off coupon link below from our affiliate Eden Brothers Seeds. But wherever you get them from – order early!

Here is to growing more of your food this year, and to a better year for all. I know we are looking forward to putting our Ultimate Vegetable Garden Plan in to action! 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.

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