At the end of the season last year I was 98% sure we wouldn’t plant a kitchen garden at all this year.
This decision was two-fold:
- We’d had our asses handed to us throughout the season and
- With my new job working alongside the Farmers’ Market, I had fresh produce available for the purchasing multiple times a week
But as summer slid into fall and then into winter, I began longing to stick my hands in the soil. . .to move my body and sow some seeds. . .to pick fresh peas and eat them right then and there. . .to watch Ember learn and explore and sow and harvest and eat to her heart’s content.
And so, despite last year’s challenges, we begin our 2017 Kitchen Gardening plans!
Our #1 Goal? Keep it Simple!
Or, as simple as possible, at least!
We will plant out a good portion of our Kitchen Garden with the Three Sisters and focus on corn, bean, and squash varieties that are harvested dry or semi-cured.
- Blue Corn – This variety of corn has been grown locally for years and years and has withstood up to six weeks with zero water (due to drought and acequia issues. This corn produces long uniform, beautiful ears whose kernels are ground into polenta and flour. The ears can also be used for decorations.
- Pinto Beans – A staple in our diet, these beans have yet to be grown by us because we’ve never (until now) had enough space to warrant the effort given the small harvests we would have seen historically. I’m excited to see how much we can get from our designated space.
- Bolita Beans – This bean is new to us, only having been introduced to it last summer at the Market. It is a bean that was brought to New Mexico by the Spanish centuries ago and has done well here ever since. It has a creamier taste than the Pinto Bean and takes about 30 days longer to mature than the Pinto.
- A Winter Squash – While I haven’t decided which winter squash to grow yet, I’m really hoping to find some Butternut that has proven to grow well here. Although, a local farmer recently recommended I try as many varieties of Butternut as I can find and then select the one that does best this year for my future plantings. Sounds like a good idea in theory, but more work than I was hoping and our Lease in only signed here through Spring of 2018. While we don’t anticipate moving anytime soon, nothing is guaranteed.
So, with two of our Three Sisters secured, I’m officially on the hunt for our Third Sister.
I’m also, officially, reinspired to get our garden in shape for the coming season and not give up on growing a good portion of our food right here on the property (you know, in addition to all the eggs and poultry we now provide for ourselves).
And now to decide on the rest of the garden.
In an extended effort to keep it simple, I’ve started with a list of what we actually eat (imagine that). I’ll post more on this shortly 🙂
In the meantime, I’d love to hear about your gardening goals for the coming season or year! Are you expanding or reducing your production? Did you have a phenomenal last season or experience some of the challenges and learning curves we did?