Monday, December 31, 2018

Planning the garden

I would rather look at this picture of the south garden from Autumn than look at the muddy mess it is right now. We are having a warm rain, a blessing as it's December in Ohio that it's not a freezing rain with it being New Year's Eve. This has been one of our wettest years.

I spent 3 days , 8 hrs each day going through seeds, writing out a sheet of information for each one that will be on a clip board and taken to the gardens during the season to monitor how each does. I don't know what varieties work best here.I listed each on spreadsheets by their family I have 14 families (did you know that beets, spinach and Swiss chard are the same family?) and then listed them by what season they could be planted in.

That is simple except I have 245 varieties between herbs, flowers (most edible) and 4 seasons of veggies. Not counting we will be adding to the berry bushes and might have to replace strawberries if they didn't take in the transplant.

I have chose some more heirloom so I can provide my own seeds. And will have to make sure they don't cross breed with another. One person said they put their seed plant(s) in pots and keep them separate from the rest of the gardens so they are easier to not let cross breed.

In the past year I spent just under $5000 for veggies and fruit to put on the table...not can or freeze for later use.

Amish neighbor gave me a sweet potato to start my slips with. I got that in a jar of water as of yesterday.It's the variety her brother and brother in law grew when they lived here.

Now, I have to figure out a rotation plan so I am not planting something after something else that shouldn't be plus Hubby would like to see a spot that rests each year plus plant green manure each fall, annual rye does good around here.

I also need to figure out what needs started in house to be transplanted.

We took a walk around the property and I was pointing out where I could plant things that wasn't in the gardens... I could see the look of " more work for me" on Hubby's face until I pointed out I could put weed barrier along the fences and use the fences to plant vine plants and he wouldn't have to run the trimmer along the fences... that's at least an hour if not more of work he did this last summer. I could plant 3 areas that have been trouble areas for him to get mowed as he has to use the push mower to mow them. My thoughts are to change it so it works for us and be easy to maintain.

I talked to my Amish lady neighbor as she is the one that does the gardens, she has 3. When an Amish person looks at your gardens and then back to you and says "weed barrier and black plastic, cattle panels with stakes"you listen. I've paid attention of how their gardens are set up and watched how them maintain them. My neighbor does most her gardens by herself. Her oldest 3 are old enough to watch the youngest 4 while she is in the gardens especially since they are outside playing where she is at. Towards the end of the season the oldest 2 were starting to help pick and the other 2 olders ones watched the youngest 3 but were right where she was at.

She told me to be in the garden by (meaning her laundry is washed and on the line and she's fixed breakfast for 9 and did the dishes by hand by this time also)8 am the latest and start at the row that is away from the house. Stop at 10:30 and fix lunch which is at noon for them. Process what ever you picked after lunch. Do the house work, fix dinner and go back out to the gardens after dinner for at least 1 or 2 hrs, process that before bed. She "puts up" over 3000 quarts of veggies, over 2000 of fruit, over 3000 of meat (they don't have freezers or refrigerators) not counting the jam, jelly, juice she cans also.That is also not counting the root cellar of sweet potatoes, potatoes, and winter squash  or the onions she stores. She said "it's not energy, it's routine". Putting food up is the priority over housework, not being in the gardens in the heat of the day is also a priority. She also told me that if I wasn't planning on selling at the auction to pull the plant once I have enough for the pantry and replace it with something else. EAT FRESH FROM THE GARDEN. She does not pull any veggies or fruit from her pantry when the garden is in full swing.

So I asked for her routine...
Monday is laundry and cleaning the home

Tuesday is baking, ironing and mending and more laundry (9 of them, laundry is pretty much daily and takes 4-5 hrs to do not counting drying time on the clothesline).

Wednesday is for more detailed jobs or something that pops up, sometimes she will go help clean whomever is having Church that coming Sunday or go help a family member. And laundry

Thursday she helps her mother in law(her parents live out of state) and laundry

Friday laundry and maybe errands if her Hubby is able to go also. She very seldom goes in the buggy without him.

Saturday, laundry, clean home which is over 5000 SQ FT, do laundry, baking, preparing Sunday's meals

Sunday, church or family on off church week (church is every 2 wks), it's the day of rest. She tries to not cook much, cold bfast, lunch at church and maybe soup or sandwiches for dinner. In the summer, it might just be salad, popcorn or something else that is light.

She offered the wisdom that to get my home routine in place that reflects the time I will be in the gardens, then in the "off" months I will have time for sewing and such.

Blessed be


  1. It's interesting to hear about your neighbors life but luckily, you're not raising any children, don't do laundry for nine, do not have to clean a 5,000 square foot house and have some serious health issues. Take it a little easier, woman. :D

  2. What great ideas come from these people who live so much more simply than we do. But boy do they work hard.

  3. It was hard enough to cook and clean and do laundry for 7 with our modern conveniences let alone do it all the Amish way. I am thankful for my hand maidens as I call them, washer, dryer, etc., and see no need to kill myself working anymore. We have a 2700 sq ft house and 2.57 acres and we are looking hard for a smaller house and yard so that we can enjoy life instead of working 8 hours a day just to maintain this lifestyle. We don't own this house but rather it owns us.

    1. Boy do I relate. With 8 of us when the kids were growing up. We have 5 acres, Amish neighbor cash rents the 3 acres behind the barn. Hubby and I was just talking today about what to plant in areas that are a pain in his rear to mow. One area I suggested my perennial herbs.It's small enough I can put a fence around it to keep the dogs off, especially Wilbur who thinks plants are a place to do business and hide it.

  4. Good grief! That romantic Amish lifestyle reflected in all the Amish novels doesn't quite meet reality, does it? I think it's fascinating to see a small glimpse into their lifestyle. I have the utmost respect for them and all their hard work. I am also thankful for my modern conveniences. Even with my wonderful washer and dryer, we woke up yesterday and realized we needed to put the clothes in it, and fast! We'e been doing a lot of organizing and cleaning, and haven't been doing laundry. As my poor daughter went around in a lovely, but not desired, skirt today, because all her pants were dirty, we quickly got the washer loaded and got that project started!

    I'm in the middle of garden planning as well. I had to buy absolutely everything last year, but have some 1/2 packets of seeds left over, by design. This spring, I will start the other halves of the ones I have left, which are tomatoes, peppers, etc. There's no way we need an entire package of say, pear tomatoes or Serrano peppers, so I do it this way every time. I am changing Roma/paste tomato varieties, so will buy that one, plus all the seeds I used up of things like green beans, lettuce, cucumbers, and so on. That seed bill will be smaller than last year, which is good, since it was enormous! I do pay for seeds, though, that I believe will give me a good yield and disease resistance. Those traits are worth a lot to me.

    1. I check my seed packages. Sometimes they are good for 3 yrs so I divide them that way. I grow a lot of paste tomato types because I make my own sauces. This year I am trying a plum tomato a friend suggested.My fall crop is for storage so I looked for what would be good there. The price was high, even with comparing prices, discounts etc. I did get a lot from Seed Saver as I am a member. Something my Daddy start me on.

  5. Thank you for sharing the wisdom of your Amish neighbor. It was fascinating.

    I have learned to no longer compare myself to others who are healthy and strong. Some days just walking to the kitchen is more than I can accomplish. I think you are like me and get excited over the possibilities a new year offers. Do be careful but that is hard to do when the weather begins to warm up. Don't over do it (I am really speaking to myself).


  6. Ignore my earlier comment where I told you to take it easy and be careful. WRONG! Reach for the stars! Plan a huge garden, plant every new thing you can find and live life to the fullest! You go girl! I am going to push myself to do more also.


    1. Got me laughing Jeannie. I am checking the amt of days on the garden and going with variety not just 100 tomato plants or 1200 onion plants (thanks to Hubby doing the buying that year) that come in at the same time. Trying to stagger the harvest but you know as well as I, that doesn't always happen.

    2. I love how you are planning everything and getting organized. It is something I have tried but then always failed when things go haywire. The weather never cooperates, NEVER! I do as much as I can, then compost the rest.

      I am going to enjoy watching your garden grow this year. That will be much easier than weeding mine.