Well, this past garden season was a bit mediocre, but I’m looking ahead and starting to think about what I’m going to plant next year. This coming year, 2021 will be the only full year that I will have in Palo Alto to garden. I’ll move again in July of 2022, so I’ll only have half of a garden season in 2022.
To start my garden planning process, I organized my seed collection to figure out what I had to work with.
Here’s what I’ve got:
I planted the same marigold seeds this past year. I didn’t think they were spectacular, but I might try them again in a different spot to see if different conditions might improve them. I also plant a couple of each of the of the sweet peas, zinnias, and echinacea to see if my seed saving was successful.
Of the herbs, I’ll plant the Italian basil and cilantro (both the store bought and self-collected seeds to compare). I also have Thai basil that I’m trying to winter over. The parsley didn’t germinate for me this year in any of my three attempts, so I think this seed is a dud. I really want parsley, though, so I think I’ll buy a new seed packet.
I grew these this past year, and they’re still puttering along in the garden. I expect they’ll likely winter over and will hopefully take off in the spring, so I probably won’t have to plant more of these.
I have one store-bought tomato and four kinds of self-collected seeds (some of which are hybrid, and won’t grow true). I think I’ll plant one of each to see what works and what doesn’t in this climate.
I tried planting these this year, and they were a failure. The beets came up, but a critter started chewing on their leaves before they were barely 2 inches tall. I’ll need netting if I’m going to try beets again. As for the carrots, I think maybe one carrot seed germinated, but it didn’t last long. I’m not sure if this is because the seed is too old, or if I let the soil dry up and that killed their germination. I might try again in the garden boxes, which have better soil than the in-ground area.
Onions! I plan to try a handful of white bunching seeds and three walla wallas. I’ll start these indoors and wait until they’re a substantial size before transplanting them outside.
I’ll try growing these again this spring. I also saved one pod of blue lake pole beans, so I can test my self-collected seeds against the store-bought seeds.
I don’t think the Armenian cucumber seeds have ever germinated for me, so if I want cucumbers, I’ll have to buy a new seed packet. I’ll plant a couple of zucchini squash plants again this year. I’m also planning to save the seeds from the mystery squash I harvest last month (assuming the seeds are salvagable) and I’ll plant those. I’d like to also pick up a packet of acorn squash or some other tried and true winter squash variety.
In summary (What I plan to grow next year):
— Flowers: A couple each of marigolds, zinnias, sweet peas, and echinacea
— Herbs: Italian basil, thai basil (overwintered), cilantro, and parsley*
— Greens: hopefully overwintered kale and mustard greens
— Tomatoes: 5 different types of tomatoes
— Root crops: 2 kinds of carrots and 1 kind of beet
— Peas and beans: Sugar snap, snow peas, and blue lake pole beans (x2 kinds of seed)
— Squash: Zucchini, cucumber*, mystery squash seed, acorn squash*
*will need to buy seed packets
I’m glad that I’ll be mostly using seeds that I have this coming year. I don’t expect a huge success given how my garden did this past year, so I’d rather start with what I’ve got and learn a little.
Now, I have to make a plan for starting seeds (timing, direct sow vs transplant, etc) and figure out where everything is going to go in the garden space. Exciting! I love planning!