It's easier than you think to grow your own food!  We garden all year long.  Yes!  We have greens in the garden even in the winter.   You can, too!  Start small.  Remember:  It's not a competition.  You don't have to grow everything - just try a few things. 

Click here for posts about the garden and what comes out of it!

At the bottom of this page is a list of my favorite gardening books.  Scroll all the way down to see it.

There are six sections on this page [headings in red]:  
  • Links to my favorite garden helps
  • 12 month gardening
  • Seeds
  • Common Garden Pests 
  • What I'm growing this year
  • Our month-by-month garden schedule
I hope you find what you need.   If you want to see something else, email me. [my email is on the right sidebar.]

Garden Helps [Links]

12 Month Gardening:

In order to garden 12 months of the year in a place that gets cold part of the year, you need to know how many hours of daylight you get throughout the year.   The U.S. Navy has a great site up to help you get that information:

You also need to know what your gardening temps will be during the year and then plant vegetables that like those temps.    Here's a post on what veggies like cold weather.

For winter protection and to keep the temps above freezing as much as possible, we plant in cold frames and a hoop house.  



I get my seeds from these guys: [BC] Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

Seed viability charts:

Organizing seeds:

Starting seeds early:  I use these mini greenhouses made of milk jugs.  Easy and foolproof!

Common garden pests and what to do about them:

Flea beetles attack especially eggplant, but like everything in the nightshade [tomato/potato] and brassica [cabbage] families.     Hand pick them off into soapy water.   Sprinkle diatomaceous earth on and around the plants. Repeat every time you water or it rains and washes off.

Squash bugs attack squash and melon plants and fruit.   Hand pick into soapy water or squash them.  Pull off and destroy any egg deposits that you find under the leaves.   Young squash bugs look like little blue-ish spiders.   Kill them.    Squash bugs like to hide under big leaves and things next to the ground.  Make sure you lift up any leaves that are on the ground and look under them.    Get rid of any dead plant material around the plants.

Vine borers attack squash and melon vines.   You'll see little holes drilled into the stems and vines and debris that looks a bit like sawdust around the hole.   The plants will suddenly faint and may die within a few days.   Sprinkle some Bt [an organic bacteria] on the young plants and affected areas.   I have had great success saving really sad plants this way.     Bt is an abbrevation for bacillus thuringiensis.   Several gardening products contain Bt as the active ingredient.   You can also get some that you actually inject into a vine so that the borer can't evade it.  Ask for Bt at your local garden centers.

Hornworms attack tomatoes, potatoes and tobacco.   There are two types of hornworms - the tomato hornworm and the tobacco hornworm.  They are the larvae of big beautiful moths.  Watch for them early and pick them off the plants.   They'll get all unhappy and wiggle around.   Don't let that stop you.    Watch for their very distinctive frass [poop].    Where you see the frass, look up until you find the worm.   We pick them off and feed them to the chickens.    Be vigilant!   You'll get good at noticing them when they're small, before they do a lot of damage.   That said, they're easy to find when they've eaten off two feet of tomato vine and have left a big frass trail.

Blister beetles attack potatoes, tomatoes and many other garden plants of all types.  The plants look chewed and there is quite a bit of slimy looking bug poop.   The beetles are easy to identify and see.   They can get pretty big when they're well fed.    We hand pick them off in the morning and it only takes a few pickings to really cut down on the population.   They are called blister beetles for a reason - they contain a toxin that can cause spectacular blisters on your skin if the bug is squashed on it.    Wear gloves if you have sensitive skin.   My fingers did peel a few days later when I squashed them as I picked them off.  [I didn't know what they were the first time we found them.]   When I just picked them off and dropped them into soapy water,  I had no blisters or peeling.

Spotted Cucumber Beetles go after everything.    Everything.   They migrate with the weather.   The best defense seems to be a very cold winter and lots of ladybugs.   Fill your garden with plenty of good bugs.

What's in my garden

Notes:  Seeds come from BC=Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, unless indicated.  I've listed the exact variety of each plant, where I know it.  There are some that I've lost or never knew.   I save some of my own seed and I've noted which of our own seeds we're trying this year.

What I grew in 2012 [click to see]
What I grew in 2013 [click to see]
What I grew in 2014 [click to see]
What I grew in 2015 [click to see]
2016 - Forgot to record it.
What I grew in 2017 [click to see]

What I'm growing in 2018

Here's the plan for the year.   I'll keep you posted about how things work.   

    Our basic month-by-month planting/harvesting schedule for south central Indiana.

    February [last part of the month]
    • Kale: Transplant from the coldframe to the garden as soon as the weather warms up some - late Feb, early March.
    • Radishes ready in hoop house.
    • Lettuce and greens ready in hoop house.
    • Tomatoes: plant seeds in milk jugs with holes poked in the bottom.   Put the jugs in the cold frame to stay warm until they sprout and get a few inches high.  
    • Eggplant: plant seeds in milk jugs with holes poked in the bottom.   Put the jugs in the cold frame to stay warm until they sprout and get a few inches high. 
    • Peppers: plant seeds in milk jugs with holes poked in the bottom.   Put the jugs in the cold frame to stay warm until they sprout and get a few inches high.  
    • Peas:  at the end of the month, plant seeds right where you want them. 
    • Cabbage, Broccoli, Collards, etc:  Put plants out.  [I've had bad luck with seeds so far.  Need to try again. Can't do these here without row covers.   Too many cabbage worms!
    • Sweet Potatoes:  2013 Started these myself from last years harvest.   If you can't do that then start calling around to see if you can reserve starts.  They go fast!
    • Lettuce:  Plant seed where the tomatoes will go.  You'll harvest the lettuce before the tomatoes get too big.   
    • Onion sets:  Plant them around the edges of the garden beds.   Easier to harvest all season when you need them.   You can start using them as soon as there are nice greens.   
    • Start sweet potatoes for slips.
    • Strawberries:  New plants if you need them.  
    • Lettuce and Arugula:  along the edges of the beds. 
    May:  Around last frost date
    • Beans:  Plant seeds where you want them in the garden.
    • Coriander/Cilantro: Plant seeds where you want them in the garden.
    • Radishes Plant seeds where you want them in the garden.
    • Okra: Plant seeds where you want them in the garden.
    • Zinnias, Tithonia, Cosmos, other flowers:  Seed where you want them. 
    • Dill:  Plant seeds where you want them.   
    • Potatoes:  In hills or rows.  Do not plant them in the same bed as squash or melons. Towers did not work for us at all. 
    • Kale:  Harvest the last and pull it up.  If you have the room, let it sit and self sow.
    • Lettuce:  Harvest and pull it up from under the tomatoes. 
    Late May: After the ground is good and warm.
    • Squash [all]:   Plant seeds where you want them.   In mounds.
    • Melons:  Plant seeds where you want them.   In mounds. 
    • Cucumbers: Plant seeds at the base of a trellis.   They want to climb.  
    • Basil:  Plant seeds where you want them.  
    • Tomatoes:  Put out plants.
    • Eggplant: Put out plants.
    • Peppers:  Put out plants. 
    • Sweet potatoes:  Put out plants. Do not plant them in the same bed as squash or melons
    • Fennel: Plant seeds where you want them.  If they don't come up, try again in Aug/Sept so you can transplant them to the cold frame for the winter. 
    • Leeks:  Put out plants.  Mound sand or straw in a long row next to them.  As they get bigger, push the mulch on them to blanch them.  If they don't come up, try again in Aug/Sept so you can transplant them to the cold frame for the winter. 
    • Peaches:  Harvest and freeze.   Make chutney, pie filling and jam.
    •  THIN! radishes, beets, carrots, parsnips, turnips, fennel, etc. 
    • Peas:  Harvest.  Leave some pods to harvest for seed in the fall.
    • Cucumbers:  Plant cukes beside peas to climb up the same supports.   Any 'lost' peas will dry and can be used for seed.  
    • Lettuce:  Plant in the shade behind the tomatoes.  
    • Rat tail radishes:  Start harvesting late June.
    • Basil, round 2:  Plant seeds where you want them.  
    • Strawberries:  Harvest and freeze.  Freezer jam is good!
    • Blueberries:  Get these from a U-Pick place.  9 gallons.  Make jam and freeze 6-7 gallons.
    • Black Raspberries and Blackberries:  Pick these wild from the property:  6-8 gallons.  Freeze, make syrup and jelly.  
    July-August:  Harvest
    • Can:  Tomatoes, Tomasqua, Jam, Jam and more Jam, Pickles, Chutney, etc.
    • Pickles:  dilly beans, bread and butter cukes.
    • Freeze: Pesto 
    • Jam:  with any fruit you can get your hands on.
    • Peaches, plums, apricots, nectarine - local fruit
    • Pears:  U-Pick.  Make pie filling and jam. 
    • Fennel and leeks.  Plant them from seeds.  They'll be big enough to transplant into the cold frame in Oct.
    • Plant greens for fall:  lettuce, arugula, carrots, kale, radishes
    • Garlic:  Plant the cloves where you won't forget them in the spring
    • Egyptian walking onions:  Plant them in a place they can stay and move around a bit.   They'll set plants where the tops drop. 
    • Apples:  U-Pick.   Applesauce, pie filling.
    • Elaeagnus [Autumn olive]: Keep your eye on the early ones. Let them get dark red and a bit soft.  
    • Tomatoes - cover these with the hoop house to extend harvest. 
    • Set up hoop houses. 
    • Turnips: harvest before frost.  
    • Sweet Potatoes:  harvest before frost.
    Late Sept - Early October:  [Plant seeds in rows in cold frames and hoop house.   Don't seed too heavily!  They need to have room and it's hard to thin them when the weather gets really cold.]
    • Kale
    • Carrots
    • Lettuce
    • Arugula
    • Radishes
    • Parsley
    • Onion sets
    • Onion seeds:  I've had minimal luck doing that, but did manage to get a couple. 
    • Fennel:  transplant from garden into cold frame or hoop house.
    • Leeks:  transplant from garden into cold frame or hoop house. 
    • Persimmons:  harvest after frost when they're soft.   Sieve seeds out and freeze the pulp. 
    • Parsnips: Harvest after 2-4 weeks of near freezing temps.  Mulch heavily to keep through winter. 
    November - February
    • Keep an eye on the cold frames and hoop houses. 
    • Make sure it's watered.   
    • Watch for aphids
    • Transplant the kale out as soon as it starts getting warm-ish.
    • At this latitude, you can plant greens on Valentines Day in the hoop house.
    Gardening books I recommend:
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