Creating a Year-Round Garden

Everyone dreams of this right? The luscious garden with juicy red tomatoes, fresh basil and thyme along with those amazing sweet corn that you can shuck and walk right in to your house to make a farm to table dinner every night.
When I think about that it gets me so excited. My mother had a small vegetable garden in New York while we were growing up. I can still remember smelling the tomatoes ripening on the window sill and the basil she was drying on the kitchen counter. Man did those home cooked suppers taste delicious.

Now I’m hungry!
I knew once I purchased my first home with my husband I wanted my own garden. Not just any garden, but a self-sufficient garden. What does that entail do you ask? I want a garden that can hold us and our future youngins all year long. But, I knew better then to start a garden without researching. Wish I could say that! Sadly, I got garden fever and rushed the whole process.
Do your research.
If you have this same desire keep reading. Even though this garden is not up yet you don’t want to run and get seedlings to only realize they are on sale because they are out of season. My poor little garden shriveled up during summertime because I bought plants that couldn’t stand the North Carolina heat. Fortunately, As I was researching for this year-long plan I noticed that my peppers and cherry tomatoes could have a fighting chance. So, I delicately pulled the roots from the ground and transferred them to pots on my back deck. For a long time they seemed to be dying and I let them make that decision.
Lucky for me, I held out just long enough to the weather to cool down and a good rain storm came through to give them just the nutrients they needed to start germinating again. My little tomato plant (now in November) has a dozen red-ripe tomatoes and my pepper plant has mini jalapeños still thriving.
Get to the plan, Stan.
This plan was one that seemed the least stressful to plan. I looked up vegetables we would enjoy growing and eating. Then I determined if they were legumes, roots, fruits, or leaves.

Since these grow at all different times during the year they are neatly color coded (here comes the teacher in me) which season to sew and harvest.

Area: Leaves
Spring, Summer, Fall
Winter, Spring, Fall
All Year Long
Winter, Spring
Spring, Fall, Winter
Area 2: Fruits
Summer Squash
Bell Pepper
Butternut Squash
Acorn Squash
Hot Peppers
Spring, Summer
Summer, Fall
Summer, Fall
Summer, Fall
Summer, Fall
Fall, Winter
Summer, Fall
Summer, Fall
Winter, Fall
Summer, Fall
Area 3: Roots
Sweet Potatoes
Fall, Winter
All Year Long
Spring, Fall
Area 4: Legumes
Edamame Peas
Snap Peas
Green Beans
Black Beans
Summer, Fall
Spring, Summer
Spring, Summer

Seeds vs. Plants.

Something to also keep in mind is how you will start growing. I like the excitement of seeing the seeds sprout into seedlings, but some people like to have a plant already producing. Whichever is your favorite way to start consider how large your garden will be and the cost of buying plants versus seeds. 

If you are looking to start with seeds, which are around $1 to $3 a bag, consider investing in a Seed Started Germination Station from either Walmart or Lowe’s Home Improvement. Click the link to see the pricing. I have used these every year for 2nd grade science lessons about plant life cycles and even starting up new plants at home. They work great.

Starting the garden outdoors.

Once I established the categories it was then I started planning for 4 raised beds inside this garden. I realized I needed at least a 12′ by 3′ garden bed for each category of plants. With this I will have the bed raised about 6″-8″ using the recommended lumber. Some websites ask that you use cedar as opposed to pressure-treated because of the chemicals in the wood. I was planning on using garden fabric to alleviate this problem, but I’m not certain it will be good enough.


I also am excited to place a greenhouse in the middle of the 4 raised garden beds because I can store herbs and seedlings during the winter months. I found a great hexagonal greenhouse on amazon I am willing to try out.

For more on how I am building and organizing this garden coming soon!

Once that is up and running I will start canning my veggies and making some delicious recipes to share!

My name is Taylor and I am the writer of the blog Homestead Millennial. The blog posts are about homesteading and the millennial lifestyle.

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