“Remind me to keep it simple this year.”

This from the man who has busted up large areas of clay soil by hand two years in a row. He who has planted in February-May and seen so much whither away in July and August and who now keeps it simple by necessity. But that warm January day had us both looking towards the garden and I understood exactly what he meant. Come planting time, it’s just too easy to get carried away and forget where we are and what we’ve learned.

I don’t really make plans anymore, at least not in the usual sense. Instead, I write reminders down which kind of look like plans to the uninitiated. So this, the Garden Plan for 2014, is more a reminder than a plan. Please send it my way when the nights warm and the seeds are being ordered and I have a new infant to care for but just can’t stop thinking about the garden.

This year we need to keep it simple:

More perennials. It seems unlikely that we’ll ever look back and say “I really wish we hadn’t planted those fruit/nut/shade/nitrogen-fixing trees five years ago.”

Sweet Potatoes. We had a couple of really good varieties that we tested out this past year and it seems like a good idea to stick with those. These are fairly low-maintenance and we’d like to keep it that way.

Beans. Those black eyed peas that made me gasp when I saw how many were ripe for the picking, those are the beans for me. Their is talk of fencing in more area for the beans so that we’re not competing with the chickens for them this year. Again, these are pretty low-maintenance.

Greens. This is the one area where we’re going to put a bit of oomph into the soil. Concentrating on creating one large bed of nutrient-rich soil for various cooking and salad greens seemed like a great idea, when Stewart mentioned it, so I’m all for it.

Of course, like all of the other gardening that has gone on here, I won’t be of very much help this year. So this little reminder is Lord willing, dependent on Stewart’s health and the many other things that go on in our little world. But I need a reminder like this too because even if I’m not the one planting, I sure can be an over-gardening enabler.

Gardening books we’ve drawn inspiration from:

What are your 2014 gardening plans?


5 Responses to A Garden Plan for 2014: Keep It Simple

  1. Karla says:

    I can SO relate to the ability to keep it simple. I wanted to thank you for recommending “Gardening When It Counts” in one of your posts awhile back. I learned A LOT about gardening in poor soil and I am eager to try many of his suggestions. Good luck with your garden this year!


  2. Jenn says:

    In the picture showing your little boy with the shovel against the fence there appear to be a lot of prickly pear cactus in the background. I don’t know if you’re aware that these are edible — both the flat “leaves” and the fruit, with spines removed, of course. They’re a perennial food crop seemingly right there for the taking. Happy eating!


    Shannon Reply:

    Jenn – Thank you! We are aware that you can eat them, though admittedly we haven’t made the most use of them. We cleared some from our land when we first got here and what is left doesn’t produce much in the way of the fruit. The pads are something we’d like to take advantage of, though, so thank you for reminding us. :)


  3. Narelle says:

    Do you eat the leaves from the sweet potato?
    We lived in China and this was my favourite green. Tastes just like sweet potato,Harvest the leaf and stem. I break the stem off and cook the stems first, stir fry them, until they are very wilted and yummy… enjoy in soups as well. Greens while your sweet potato grows, can’t get better than that.


  4. Glenda says:

    Hi Shannon, did you start your own sweet potato slips or did you purchase them somewhere? Lord willing, I’d like to try growing some this year and am amazed at how big yours are. I have no real knowledge of growing sweet potatoes, so I thought I’d ask you for the name of the variety you grew…if you know. Thanks!


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