I started square foot gardening last summer. To ease into it (and because I was pregnant and not feeling well) we built 3, 4’x4′ boxes. I planted beets, peas, carrots, spinach, and kale. Because of our high altitude, I did a lot of reading and finally settled on buying my seeds from Seeds Trust. They specialize in high altitude gardening and carry a lot of different varieties of seeds that have been tried and tested in the mountains of Idaho! Perfect! They sell heirloom, open-pollinated, vegetable, herb (culinary and medicinal), native wildflower and native grass seeds. They promote seed saving and I love what they stand for. All of their seeds are certified naturally grown (basically organic, but without the red tape of being USDA organic certified) and aren’t treated at all. I am trying to learn more about seed saving so that I can continually keep seeds and replant them the next year. I think this is something everyone should learn about. It’s really important to me to learn all I can about growing food to feed my family.
This year I got ambitious and wanted to try and grow EVERYTHING. I held myself back a bit, but we did grow the size of the garden and I’m excited to see things coming up everywhere. This year my husband added 4 – 4’x8′ boxes, and 6 – 1’x4′ boxes, plus the three boxes we had last year. I planted: peas (shelling and sugar snap), beets (2 varieties), carrots (2 varieties), cucumbers (slicing and pickling), onions, swiss chard, romaine lettuce, spinach, basil, parsley, dill, and 5 different flowers/insect repelling plants. I planted the insect repelling flowers in the 1’x4′ boxes which are placed around the perimeter of the garden, to try and ward off bugs. I did a lot of reading about companion planting and hope to see some good results by planting vegetables together that are compatible. I really wanted to try growing tomatoes out here this year but just didn’t get to it early enough. I have five varieties of tomatoes brought here from Siberia to try. I figure that if they can grow tomatoes in Siberia, I can grow them here! Our farm is at roughly 5,600 ft elevation so the growing season is quite short, but that is why I took so much time and effort to find seeds that are suited for my environment.
I took these pictures before our 10 day trip to Canada and things look really good right now. Almost everything is up now, except for the flowers, which I got planted late. I hope they catch up so that they can do their job and keep those bugs away as well as draw in the bugs that are good for the garden!
I plan on preserving a lot of food this summer/fall. I made four batches of strawberry jam after I picked berries a couple of weeks ago, and it turned out great. Other things I want to preserve:
- blueberries – frozen
- blackberries – picked fresh and frozen (from the same farm I got my strawberries, they don’t use herbicides or pesticides)
- saskatoon berries – our farm is COVERED in these bushes and I grew up munching on these berries. I plan to freeze as many as I can pick for my smoothies this winter!
- chokecherry syrup – we also have a lot of chokecherries out here
- peaches – bottled
- pears – bottled and pear butter
- applesauce – bottled
- peas – frozen
- beets – frozen
- onions – minced and frozen for easy use this winter
And whatever else I can find! I feel the urge to get a lot of food ready right now, when it’s in season and available so that I can save money this winter and still feed my family good, healthy food.