By Tracy Sweely
When I was a small child I was very, very lucky. My parents were building our home on acreage on the Southern Oregon Coast, right next to my grandparents. They were idyllic forested properties on which my brothers and I could roam freely, and we did! One of my best childhood memories though, is the massive garden that we had, and the much larger garden at my grandparent’s house. Another fond memory is sneaking down to my grandma’s garden plot and eating stalks of raw rhubarb! I just had to look out and not get treed by grandpa’s rooster, Big Red.
Several years after my own foray into farming, I asked my mom how they did it. What crops had we grown and how had they decided when to plant them? Tellingly, it was with my grandparents’ guidance and their seemingly innate wisdom about what and when to plant, probably hard won from their experiences during the depression and WWII. Unfortunately many of us don’t have grandma and grandpa to ask. So, how are we to avoid the universal issue faced by anyone new to gardening, of growing too many tomatoes or zucchini? Who hasn’t had the experience of someone at work giving you their zucchini overflow? Ever given someone your tomato surplus? Even the most appreciative giftee has their limits. What else can be done with such plenty? Tomatoes do dehydrate nicely and are easier than you’d think to can. And I’m happy to report that I have discovered THE solution to zucchini overflow: zucchini pickles! Addictively delicious and super easy, click here for the recipe! But not everyone has time to make use of unwitting abundance.
I’ll admit it’s all so seductive and easy to just dive into gardening. The problem with just going for it and throwing seeds in the ground, or planting a whole tray of bedding plants (but they were on sale!) on the first frost free day, is that each type of crop has different maturation times and different yields. With our easy to use crop yield tool, the Fantastic Garden Calculator, we’ve taken the pain out of planning. You can handily create a garden plan for how much of each crop you want to harvest and when you want to harvest it. You needn’t end up with too many zucchini or tomatoes and not enough carrots or lettuce. You can have exactly what you plan for, or at least very close! Do you like lettuce and arugula salad every night? Do you want grated beets and balsamic with goat cheese alternating weekly with green bean almondine? Do you want to can a bunch of tomato and jalapeno salsa at the end of the season? With a little planning before you plant, you can have this much control and predictability all through your growing season. Check out our tutorial videos to see how easy the Fantastic Garden Calculator is to use. Or use the Register tab above and start planning today!