26 In Gardening/ Seasonal Tips

Planning Ahead for Next Year’s Garden

Planning Ahead for Next Year's Garden | angiethefreckledrose.com

This year has probably been one of my hardest years when it came to growing crops. Why was it hard you ask? Well, I hardly grew any! You see, in the spring I decided to take on a giant garden project. I tore down my entire vegetable garden, so I could rebuild. I have to deal with very rocky ground soil, so I grow in raised garden beds and containers. Starting over means, bigger, better and sturdier. I'm striving for a stronger and smarter design which means a garden structure that will hold up to harsh weather conditions and keep critters out. In the meantime though, I ended up in what I call gardening limbo. I have no place to grow, no crops to harvest and an overwhelming amount of work to get done. Trust me when I say, this is not a fun place to be. I'm basically starting from scratch and taking it one day at a time.

Beans growing in the 2016 garden | Planning Ahead for Next Year's Garden | angiethefreckledrose.com

Beans growing in the 2016 garden

I did, however, get to travel this summer. Attending the vegetable trials in California, thanks to The National Garden Bureaufilled me to the brim with ideas. The veggie trials were full of inspiration at every turn, new varieties in every field and educational opportunities in each conversation had. It was almost as if one of the many palm trees I stood under dropped a metaphorical coconut on my head. Just because you don't have your usual growing space now, doesn't mean you can't plan for it next year! California basically told me, "Here's your guide right in front of you, Angie." Take notes, gather pictures and plan for the future.

Heather Kibble of Sakata Seeds introducing us to the 'Touchstone Gold' beet during the veggie trials. | Planning Ahead for Next Year's Garden | angiethefreckledrose.com

Heather Kibble of Sakata Seeds introducing us to the 'Touchstone Gold' beet during the veggie trials

So, therefore, I am starting at square one. I almost feel like a beginner again. This can be extremely exciting, but also very daunting. As I scroll through Instagram looking at all the crops being harvested by my gardening pals, I can't help but get a little forlorn about what I don't have. I need to keep the volume up of that positive voice in my head reminding me "It's coming Angie! It just takes time, and this will all be worth it." So here is an outline of how I plan to make next year my best gardening year ever. Stay tuned, because it's happening.

Garden inspiration - Photo by Niki Jabbour of Savvy Gardening |Planning Ahead for Next Year's Garden | angiethefreckledrose.com

Garden inspiration - Photo by Niki Jabbour of Savvy Gardening

Aim For Success

When you are a consumer, you want to taste a delicious tomato. When you are a grower, you want to take that one step further. You want a tomato that is both delicious and disease resistant. Pests and disease can halt your harvests before they make their way into your kitchen. The flavor doesn't really matter if you can't enjoy that end product. The veggie trials really showed me just how many plants are bred to be resistant to pests and disease. This can stop a problem before it even starts. A smart move in my book!

Taste testing tomato varieties at Syngenta | Planning Ahead for Next Year's Garden | angiethefreckledrose.com

Taste testing tomato varieties with Jeannine Bogard at Syngenta

Take tomatoes for example. You can choose tomatoes bred specifically to have a high disease resistance to a particular strain. You just need to do some research before you choose your variety. 'Carolina Gold', 'Mountain Spring' & 'Bobcat' are three varieties of Beefsteak tomatoes that are resistant to Fusarium wilt (F. oxysporum f. sp. lycopersici). This common fungal disease causes yellowing and drooping on one side of the plant. Before you know it, you have stunted plants, leaf wilting and the worst of all, lack of fruit production. This can really discourage you as a gardener, making you feel as if you have done something wrong. The truth is, even the most experienced gardeners deal with these problems. 

'Carolina Gold' tomatoes growing in Gilroy, California | Planning Ahead for Next Year's Garden | angiethefreckledrose.com

'Carolina Gold' tomatoes growing in Gilroy, California

Purchasing plants that are resistant to these diseases can make a huge difference. You can also grow varieties that do well in your area. If you live in the Southeast, the 'Carolina Gold' Beefsteak tomato grows well. If you live in the Northeast, Carolinas or the Midwest you may want to choose the 'Mountain Spring' Beefsteak tomato. If you live in the Western US, you may consider growing the 'Bobcat' Beefsteak tomato. Remember that every plant can adapt to all regions, but you can always take that extra step of considering regional recommendations.

The 'Bobcat' tomato being tested and grown by Syngenta | Planning Ahead for Next Year's Garden | angiethefreckledrose.com

The 'Bobcat' tomato being tested and grown by Syngenta

Make sure you take advantage of all the hard work these passionate growers and vegetable breeding companies continually do for us. They are constantly finding the very best varieties that are stronger, more disease resistant and give us gardeners the best results.

Try Something New

If you have a vegetable garden, chances are you have grown a pepper before. All peppers are not the same, so you can keep on trying a different type or variety from a large list. There are ornamental peppers, sweet peppers, bell pepper, spicy peppers and the peppers that are so spicy they make you say absolutely not. The point is, there is most likely always a new variety of pepper to try growing! It's really great to experiment when you have a garden.

Josh Kirschenbaum showing us peppers at PanAmerican Seed in Woodland, California | Planning Ahead for Next Year's Garden | angiethefreckledrose.com

Josh Kirschenbaum showing us peppers at PanAmerican Seed in Woodland, California

During the Veggie Trials, I discovered a pepper variety called 'Mad Hatter'. It is a 2017 All-American Selections winner! If a vegetable or flower is an AAS winner, it means it has proved it's superior garden performance. Any winner chosen has been bred or produced without genetic engineering. I was lucky enough to view this pepper up close at the PanAmerican Seed vegetable trials. This pepper is sweet with a citrusy floral flavor. It boasts high yields and grows vigorously maturing in 65 to 70 days.  It instantly made me excited about growing peppers. I think that's what gardening is all about. That feeling you get when a vegetable really piques your interest. It really fuels you to do better, work harder and keep on trying new things. 

A 2017 All-American Selections edible winner - the 'Mad Hatter' pepper | Planning Ahead for Next Year's Garden | angiethefreckledrose.com

A 2017 All-American Selections edible winner - the 'Mad Hatter' pepper

All-American Selections | Planning Ahead for Next Year's Garden | angiethefreckledrose.com

I also discovered a very unique variety of plant called ptilotus that is entered in this year's 2017 All-American Selections ornamental seed trial. The ptilotus is a new genus from Australia. This flower likes hot and dry weather, so it's perfect for areas that experience drought. It has a definite exotic look that will stand out in any garden or container. 

Planning Ahead for Next Year's Garden | The ptilotus plant being grown in Salinas, California | angiethefreckledrose.com

Laura Smith introducing us to the ptilotus being grown in Salinas, California

Ptilotus | Planning Ahead for Next Year's Garden | angiethefreckledrose.com

Order Your Seeds Early

Certain crops like broccoli, eggplants and melons can all be started early indoors. It's important to get a jump start by ordering your seeds early. Be prepared by picking out varieties over the winter so you know exactly what you want to order and where you can find it. I'm starting to make my list of varieties to start indoors now. One variety of melon I'm looking to get is the 'Infinite Gold' hybrid cantaloupe. 

Learning about and tasting different varieties of melon at Sakata | Planning Ahead for Next Year's Garden | angiethefreckledrose.com

Learning about and tasting different varieties of melon at Sakata

The 'Infinite Gold' cantaloupe has strong vines, uniform size/shape and high yield potential. We were lucky enough to try this at the Sakata vegetable trials. The fruit itself is aromatic, deep orange and has the highest score ever achieved on the Brix scale. We were able to measure it for ourselves. That was a really cool moment. It hits an astonishing 15 on the scale!

Showing exactly how the sweetness of a melon is measured in Woodland, California | Planning Ahead for Next Year's Garden | angiethefreckledrose.com

Showing exactly how the sweetness of a melon is measured in Woodland, California

Planning Ahead for Next Year's Garden | angiethefreckledrose.com

Another melon I'm looking forward to starting from seed is called 'Athena'. This cantaloupe matures in around 75 days and weighs 5 to 6 pounds. We were able to taste test it when we visited the Syngenta vegetable trials in Gilroy, California. We learned that they are best picked at full slip for quality and flavor. It is a disease resistant hybrid that keeps the vine producing all season long. 

Tasting the 'Athena' melon at Syngenta | Planning Ahead for Next Year's Garden | angiethefreckledrose.com

Tasting the 'Athena' melon at Syngenta

Planning Ahead for Next Year's Garden | angiethefreckledrose.com

Do Your Research

It's important to take note now of seed starting dates and frost dates. Mark your calendar so you don't forget when to get things started! For example, starting tomatoes from seed can cause a bit of a time crunch when you have a short growing season. It's very important that if I want to grow certain varieties, I start them indoors early under grow lights. I fell in love with the All-American Selections winner 'Chef's Choice Orange' tomato at the Seeds By Design vegetable trials in Maxwell, California

Andrew Pentecost showing the 2013 All-American Selections edible winner - 'Chef's Choice Orange' | Planning Ahead for Next Year's Garden | angiethefreckledrose.com

Andrew Pentecost showing the 2013 All-American Selections edible winner - 'Chef's Choice Orange'

If I want to grow this delicious tomato successfully in my gardening zone, I should be starting seeds indoors around March 10th. I know it seems pretty early on paper, but these seedlings need around 8 weeks indoors before they are transplanted outside. Not to mention, you need to harden off your seeds, so allow ample time for your crops so they can fully thrive. Since I've researched this tomato before I've decided to plant it, I'm prepared. Hopefully, I can enjoy them next summer. It's worth doing your research early. That way you can grow your top choices, like 'Chef's Choice'!

Keep On Learning As You Go

There are so many different varieties of vegetables with different flavors, shapes and sizes to suit your needs. Keep on researching and learning as you go. When visiting the HM CLAUSE veggie trials, I discovered the saladette tomato. I've grown cherry tomatoes perfect for snacking, beefsteak tomatoes perfect for sandwiches and roma tomatoes perfect for sauces and canning. I've never really ventured into knowingly growing any saladette tomatoes.

Saladette tomatoes being grown in Davis, California | Planning Ahead for Next Year's Garden | angiethefreckledrose.com

Saladette tomatoes being grown in Davis, California

Planning Ahead for Next Year's Garden | angiethefreckledrose.com

I can't wait to try growing 'Pony Express' and the 'Pegaso' tomato. Keep looking and exploring. There is always a new lesson to be learned at every garden center you visit and with every growing professional you meet. 

Planning Ahead for Next Year's Garden | Craig France of HM CLAUSE teaching us about the veggies being grown at the trials | angiethefreckledrose.com

Craig France of HM CLAUSE teaching us about the veggies being grown at the trials

How you plan your next year's garden is all up to you. You can create your own schedule and go at your own pace. Do a little bit of work or research whenever inspiration hits! Continue to learn about varieties, create a growing calendar, order seeds early and start your seeds indoors.

Planning Ahead for Next Year's Garden | 'Southern Giant Curled' greens growing in Salinas, California | angiethefreckledrose.com

'Southern Giant Curled' greens growing in Salinas, California

The most important thing to remember is to have fun. This can easily be forgotten when you are a perfectionist like me, but make sure to relax and plant what you want to plant. Your garden is for you at the end of the day and no one else. Don't grow some fancy variety just to impress someone else. It's not enjoyable if you get caught up in what everyone else thinks. I don't grow cucamelons because they are trendy. I grow them because my ducks go absolutely nuts for them! Don't lose sight of that as you go along. That's one of the most important lessons I've learned in the past six years of growing and harvesting my own vegetables. 

Thank you so much for enjoying our bi-weekly blog series Tuesday's In The Garden this season! It's been a pleasure linking up posts with some of my favorite and truly talented garden bloggers out there. Thank you all for stopping in, leaving your comments and sharing gardening tips with us! 

Are you planning on growing a vegetable garden next year? Are there any new varieties you are excited to grow? Tell me all about it in the comment section below and happy growing!

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Tuesdays In The Garden | Every 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month, we will be sharing a themed Tuesday In The Garden post! We will be covering seasonal crops, herb gardening, growing flowers, DIY projects, garden gifts, harvesting tips, preserving, garden to table recipes and so much more. You can check out each of our posts to help you get inspired and give you some creative new ideas. Take a look at these great posts below!

You can check out each of our posts to help you get inspired and give you some creative new ideas.

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This year has probably been one of my hardest years when it came to growing crops. Why was it hard you ask? Well, I hardly grew any! You see, in the spring I decided to take on a giant garden project. I tore down my entire vegetable garden, so I could rebuild. I have to deal with very rocky ground soil, so I grow in raised garden beds and containers. Starting over means, bigger, better and sturdier. I'm striving for a stronger and smarter design which means a garden structure that will hold up to harsh weather conditions and keep critters out. | Planning Ahead for Next Year's Garden | angiethefreckledrose.com

 

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  • Patti
    September 19, 2017 at 11:17 am

    Hi Angie,

    How frustrating for you but it sounds like you had an amazing summer traveling so maybe it was meant to be. Great tips and shares from your adventures. That ornamental ptilotus sure is beautiful. I would love to grow it in some of my pots.

  • Jami
    September 19, 2017 at 2:23 pm

    What a great experience you got to have learning about all these new and proven varieties! And what a way to get excited again – I was excited just reading this, ha! I, like you, have had a no-grow year so I’m hoping I get to plan a garden for next year. 🙂

  • Stephanie
    September 19, 2017 at 5:04 pm

    Sounds like you had an amazing trip with such a neat experience! We had pretty good experience in the spring, but summer in south Texas is just brutal and killed most of our plants. Once it cools off a bit again we will be planting for the fall.

  • Shelly
    September 19, 2017 at 5:12 pm

    Even though you didn’t get to grow your own garden this year it sounds like you really learned a lot. It’s fun to learn about new varieties and give them a try.

    This year we got a slow start to our garden. I miss having fresh peppers. Our plants just never produced any this year. Maybe next year. But we did have success with growing pie pumpkins this year. We saved a few seeds from a pie pumpkin I purchased and used one of those. We will end up with 5 pie pumpkins this year. Now I need to make a plan for cooking them.

  • Syama
    September 19, 2017 at 9:53 pm

    I was away for a few weeks this summer and had to say good bye to mini container garden. This is a timely reminder to get back to it. Thank you !

  • Ann
    September 19, 2017 at 10:28 pm

    These are great tips on how to grow vegetables. I hope to do this someday. My urban balcony garden is small, so I’m experimenting with different types of flowers, but would love to add edibles too.The ptilotus sounds like it would make a great addition to my garden here in Southern California. Thank you for sharing!

  • Diane Williams
    September 19, 2017 at 11:07 pm

    Sounds like you are on the edge of amazing! What a great year to go travel other fantastic gardens and bring back ideas and inspiration. Yes restructuring a garden is a TON of work. But we have done it and we are SO happy we did. I know you will love your results.
    Thanks for sharing your trips with us. You found some beautiful gardens!

  • Kitty
    September 19, 2017 at 11:16 pm

    I feel for you. We have virginia clay here. For the past few years we tried out a patch in the ground, tilling, adding compost…but it grew very little so this year we let it go fallow. Just planted in the raised beds. Need to regroup myself, so this advice was helpful. Thanks!

  • Casey the College Celiac
    September 19, 2017 at 11:28 pm

    Great tips! A little prep and planning ahead of time can definitely make a HUGE difference!

  • frank
    September 20, 2017 at 1:27 am

    well i’m not a farmer and so i dont plan for it, but i got to tell you that you got awesome experience and alot of information, great post!

  • Mandy
    September 20, 2017 at 8:57 am

    I wish I were better at planting and growing things. It can be difficult to find good information online and you only know that you have found it through trial and error. It sounds like the event you went to taught you a lot about growing things. I’m jealous of all of the beautiful (and I imagine delicious) fruits and veggies you’ve grown this year and wish you much success as you start to research and plan for next year! 🙂

  • image-in-ing: weekly photo linkup
    September 20, 2017 at 9:18 am

    Beautiful images!
    Thanks for linking up at http://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2017/09/orchids-endless-variety.html

  • Dan
    September 20, 2017 at 9:30 am

    What a wonderful article. I did not realize how many different beefsteak tomatoes there are!! Thank you for that and the many other tips.

  • Joleene Moody
    September 20, 2017 at 9:47 am

    Someday my garden will be as amazing as this one! This is my first year planting, so I learned a lot. Looking forward to using these tips to plant an even better garden next year.

  • Tara Mallick
    September 21, 2017 at 9:40 am

    I have had such a problem with sustaining any kind of garden. I wish I had the drive that you do!

  • Rhonda
    September 21, 2017 at 12:36 pm

    It sounds like you have an abundance of information for future use. Thanks for sharing on Sunday’s Best.

  • Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond
    September 21, 2017 at 5:02 pm

    Gorgeous photos and I wish I had a green thumb! Thanks for sharing and organising our gardens at #overthemoon link party

  • Sangeetha
    September 22, 2017 at 5:15 am

    Very colorful photos.. love the peppers photo! Thx for all the great tips 🙂

  • Menaka Bharathi
    September 22, 2017 at 6:09 am

    This s really lovely, I have also planned for my next year. Infact I am planning a year round greens plantation – whats your take on it

  • Jennice Powell
    September 23, 2017 at 8:20 am

    So glad I have stumbled across this post thanks to SITS Sharefest! My daughter learned in school that bees and butterflies are endangered and she wants to grow son plants in the Spring/Summer to draw them. I have a lot if work ahead of me and I’m glad I found your blog so I can look at the beautiful end results!!! Keep up the good work?

  • Jelica
    September 23, 2017 at 4:35 pm

    I understand what you mean about starting something over again. It can be trying. It can be frustrating, but good planning and a little patience can go a long way. It sounds like you learned a great deal and will be implementing what you’ve learned in your newer, better, design. Good luck – can’t wait to see the final result!

  • dawn
    September 24, 2017 at 1:47 pm

    My mind would be buzzing after a visit like that. I’d want to grow so many things!

    I bought some Hungarian sweet pepper plants this year from a local garden center and they are the first pepper plants I had that did well. Know that I know I can grow peppers, I’m going to look for a smaller variety to grow.

  • Debbie
    September 29, 2017 at 12:03 am

    Hi Angie, this year was the first time in years that I had a proper little veggie patch, all safely fenced off from the dogs. I was tickled pink with it although the long heatwave we had finally got the better of it. It got me thinking to next year and how I want to set up an underground watering system that delivers water right to the roots….. I found your post really inspiring, I never realised that some varieties of veg are bred to be disease resistant! I will be looking into that and may have a go at growing from seed. I am still at that point that I get excited about any plant that bears fruit in our garden, but the fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and rocket were my favs…. I hope your new style garden turns out to be the best you’ve ever had!

    Thank you for linking up with the #MMBC and sharing what you know!

  • Shirley Wood
    September 29, 2017 at 11:01 am

    I found this to be quite informative. I’m glad someone is working to help us all have disease resistant crops, especially tomatoes. We have not luck with them since something always seems to go wrong. That ptilotus is gorgeous and unique! #merrymonday Pinned. Beautiful photography!

  • Cindy
    October 4, 2017 at 2:38 pm

    I enjoyed this very much. I am visiting from Linda’s blog. Hugs and blessings, Cindy
    P.S. Pinning this.

  • Lindsey
    October 10, 2017 at 8:35 am

    Did you recommend seeds savings for the next year from your current grown vegies?

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