Last year, we grew our first “garden.” It wasn’t much, just a couple of pepper plants, tomato plants, peas and carrots (oh, and some failed lettuce). Now that I’m looking at expanding our garden, I want to keep in mind my meal plans as I choose which vegetables to grow. Here are a few ideas I’m going to try!
Create a List of Favorite Summer and Fall Recipes
No sense in letting all of my fresh produce go to waste! Freezing and canning is great but doesn’t taste quite as good as fresh, so I want to use up as much as I can while keeping my family from eating sliced cucumber every night. By using lots of cookbooks, Pinterest and recipe websites, I’ll have lots of ideas for using garden-fresh veggies at my fingertips. Coordinating this list with the types and amounts of food in my garden will help me to make good use of our bounty.
Make Plans for Freezing and Canning the Vegetables in my Garden
As I’m considering garden ideas, I know that a lot of tomato plants will (hopefully) produce a great crop of tomatoes. So I need to make sure I have enough canning supplies and freezer containers to make my crop last through the year. Not all vegetables are easy to freeze, but I’m hoping to blanch and freeze my tomatoes whole and as homemade spaghetti sauce. You can freeze zucchini to use in zucchini breads and tomato-based sauces. We also enjoy freezer salsa!
Find New Winter Recipes to Try Using Frozen and Canned Vegetables
Once I have all of my wonderful frozen produce, I’ll need to know what to make with it so I don’t find a science experiment formerly known as “diced green peppers” in my freezer ten years down the road. Having my kids and husband help me to come up with new recipes we’d like to try as well as asking my mom for some of her favorites should provide me with lots of ideas! Speaking of ideas…
Know What Vegetables Your Family Will Eat
I’m looking at trying some new vegetables this year but I want to be cautious! It’s no good to grow three rows of cauliflower if your family doesn’t like it at all. Some good garden staples are tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes, peas, carrots and onions. Depending on your climate, you could grow any number of new and exciting veggies. It may also be a good idea to check out a farmer’s market and try some new-to-you food before growing it in your own garden.
Here’s hoping for a bountiful garden this year!