Plotting In the Veg Garden


“Vegetable gardens, rightly viewed, are much more than food factories.  They are magic places, little worlds set apart from other domestic or horticultural concerns, realms of peace and order.”  ~Joe Eck and Wayne Winterrowd



I love this thought about veg gardens….‘realms of peace and order’.  Although they can be realms of chaos and angst, if invaded by critters who want to feed on it as much as I do.  But excluding tDSCN8182hese invaders or early frost or even drought, I still love to think of my veg garden as a place of solace.

Where pollinators fly about, and leave me special presents of fruit and vegetable.  I have learned that nature will deal me all sorts of obstacles, but I have found ways to combat them, and still find pleasure in this miracle place; where seed grows into a juicy tomato or a deep purple beet.

Usually during February, I am buried under many feet of snow, and dreaming of my veg garden.  It is a perfect time for me to plan the garden; what I am growing, where each crop will be placed this year, what flowers and herbs will be interplanted, and when I am starting some seeds indoors.  All carefully planned to maximize the short growing season, and  space available.

This February began masquerading as March.  Now we are buried again with 3 more feet of snow, and bitter cold temps dipping to -20F.  But this weather will shift again, and warm a bit.  such is the winter we are having.

I am becoming a bit anxious to start my veg garden.  But I know never be fooled by these early warm spurts.  My last frost date is the most reliable factor to influence my garden plans.  Although it can never hurt to start cool weather veggies early under a protective cover, if the weather is cooperating.  I will have to wait and see what March holds for the garden.


So let’s see what I have planned for this year’s veg garden……

veg garden 2016

It may be a little hard to read the details, but you can click on the picture to enlarge it.  I thought I would focus on what I am changing this year? 




reclaimed bed collage

  1. We are reclaiming the back 4×4 ft bed from the blackberry canes.  I moved the blueberry bushes and strawberry plants, also in this bed, (not thriving much) to a holding bed.  We will line this bed with screening and landscape fabric like we did to the Pea/Bean bed last year (see inset photo).  The we will fill it with new organic soil, and plant all our greens, and some herbs early in spring.  It will be covered to protect it from early frosts, and to keep out the pesky Cabbage White or Pieris rapae butterflies, who will want to use the kale as a host plant.  This will be our first garden chore as soon as the weather allows.





2.  The blueberries and strawberries will go into a new bed sandwiched between the reclaimed bed and the large bed near the gazebo.  I have to first clear out the few plants and bulbs that are growing in this area.  That’s our second garden chore.




veggies collage

3.  We decided to grow only 4 bags of blue potatoes, and use the other 4 bags, we used for potatoes last year, for growing more onions this year.  We use more onions, and they are so easy to grow.  So this year we are growing yellow and red onions in bags and large containers.





4.  The best plans are always open to changes.  And not one day after I finalized my plans, I found I needed to make changes to it.  I was hoping to move the cucumbers (cukes) from the Pea/Bean bed giving the cukes more room in the new portable bed (pictured below) on the patio.  But I read that cukes growing too close to potatoes (also on the patio), can cause blight in the potatoes.  





5.  So not wanting to chance it, I decided to grow peas in the portable bed and only half a trellis of peas in the Pea/Bean bed.  That gives me room for cukes farther away from the potatoes.  And I might add yellow summer squash here once the peas are done producing.

Also in this bed will be 2-3 tomatillo plants and the green chiles.





5.  Radishes will once again be started early in the pea bed before the beans.  I am adding spinach to this bed with the radishes.  Once they are finished, the garden will be warm enough for bush and pole beans to be planted.




garlic collage

6.  You may remember I planted more garlic this year, an extra half a bed (4×4 ft) more reducing our area for beets (foliage picture at top of post) and carrots.   And more garlic means more garlic scapes (inset picture) to cut and eat.  I will still grow the squash up and over this bed with the extra garlic, beets and carrots; half zucchini and half Delicata squash.  And I am planning to try parsnips, thanks to Pam@Pam’s English Cottage Garden, who highly recommends growing and eating them.





7.  The last change will be growing celery in the reclaimed Greens bed instead of in the red bucket containers we used last year.  I hope by growing them in a bit more shade, we may get a better harvest.  I want to use the red buckets to grow hot peppers on a sunny spot on our porch far away from the sweet peppers.




seeding sq collage

I also plan to use my Seeding Square a lot more this year.  I really loved the result of planting my seeds in a square.  I had a great harvest and utilized precious garden space more efficiently with the Seeding Square.  You can now buy the Seeding Square on Amazon USA or Amazon Canada with free shipping.


So that about sums it up for the veg garden plans this year.  I think I have it down to a pretty consistent plan now, where I can easily move crops around the beds, and add new veggies to try each year.  I look forward to getting seeds started both indoors and outdoors soon.  The taste of my own organic produce can’t be beat, and for me is worth the work and care needed to create my ‘realm of peace and order’; aka, the veg garden.



Have you begun to plan your garden or veg garden?  What are you looking forward to growing this year?





In A Vase On Monday 




My first Paperwhites are blooming, and I thought I would use them in a Valentine’s Day vase.  My Belleek vase, with a pale pink heart, is perfect for this arrangement.  The Paperwhites pictured here are, ‘Ariel’.  Big bulbs, big flower heads, lots of buds and a fast grower.




valentine paperwhite vase collage

I reused the boxwood foliage and Swamp Rose hips from my holiday vase.  And I also reused red twig dogwood limbs I also previously used in a vase.  I cut them down a bit, to fit into this vase, and to frame the Paperwhites.


I am joining in with a few memes this week as I prepare this vase:  Cathy@Rambling in the Garden for her wonderful meme, In a Vase on Monday, Today’s Flowers hosted by Denise@An English Girl Rambles and Judith@Lavender Cottage who hosts Mosaic Monday.


Next up on the blog:  

Monday, I will have another native plant profile.  I hope you will join me.

I am linking in with Michelle for her Nature Notes meme at her blog, Rambling Woods.  It is a great way to see what is happening in nature around the world every Monday. 



I am also joining in I Heart Macro with Laura@Shine The Divine that happens every Saturday.

All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Gardens Eye View, 2010-2016.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only. 

102 Replies to “Plotting In the Veg Garden”

  1. Your garden plans look productive, Donna. I’ve started my tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants under lights, as well as lots of flowers. I planted some peas and fava beans outside since we had some warm sunny days, it is a little early but I hope they will grow. I seem to have bought quite a few pea seeds this year. Beans were my favorite crop last year and I greatly increased my trellis area by growing them on my deer fence, and I am going to increase the trellis even more this year. I am also going to grow a lot of sunflowers. I like your paperwhites, I love their fragrance, and the red swamp rose hips and accents look very Valentine-y with the white vase.

    1. Hannah, I had so many beans last year, I had to pickle and freeze them….I am jealous you are starting already. Here it is too early to start the veggies indoors. I am always looking for ideas to increase my veg garden space!

  2. Hello Donna, your plans do sound nice. I am looking forward to spring and seeing some colors and flowers again. Good luck with your garden this season. Your paperwhites are lovely, gorgeous arrangement.

  3. I’m just about to start seed sowing too. I love this time of year. Full of planning and all the promise of the season to come.. the hurdles and frustrations of last year but a distant memory!

  4. Your vase looks very professional Donna. Lovely themed arrangement. Must be exciting to have the paper whites while outdoors it is so cold. The Seeding Square looks fun.

  5. Yes, Spring is just around the corner. I’m looking forward to the blossoms on my peony bush! It’s only 24 outside today and I am truly looking forward to the beauty of the garden! Thank you!

  6. Thanks for sharing your plot plans, Donna – it is always intriguing to see the real basics of what each of us is planting. That seedling sqare looks intriguing too! Have we seen your pink heart Belleek vase before? Not sure that I remember this one. I am pleased to see you have recycled previous vases to add to your Paperwhites – it’s a shame not too when things like the cornus are still going strong. Oh, and I always assumed that Paperwhite was a variety of narcissus, but you say they are P Ariel – mine were P Ziva, and I thought they were all the same. The rose hips and cornus are indeed perfect partners, aren’t they?

    1. I used this vase once last year Cathy. I also thought all Paperwhites were the same narcissus, but apparently now there are at least 5 other varieties….and I am growing 2 this year instead of Ziva. There is even a bit of difference in fragrance.

  7. Oh that seeding square is so interesting – I’ll have to look more closely at that! I’ve been planning and ordering seeds for the veggie garden, too. I still have a lot to learn when it comes to vegetable gardening, so I enjoy taking my time planning and picking out cultivars. I didn’t know that cucumbers shouldn’t be grown too closely to potatoes. Very interesting! Your Valentine’s Day vase is lovely. Love the white with the red accents!

    1. I still learn every year and love it….I think that is why I try new veggies or varieties! I do love that seeding square.

  8. Donna, I watched your plan and saw you would plant more garlic – do you store it for winter or eat? I’d like to plant garlic more as well but am not sure I could store it during winter.
    Love your vase!

    1. We eat ours as soon as it is cured, about 4 weeks after we pick it. I grow a few varieties of hardneck garlic for our cold climate, so we can pick them weeks apart. This year our 80 cloves were gone by the New Year. We eat garlic everyday. So they don’t last long here.

      We have stored them up until spring in years before I ate it daily and they stored beautifully. I put them in a cool dark bin with onions and potatoes.

  9. At least you have lots of room to grow your veggies Donna and I like the fact there are 2 beds of garlic. I saw on the Burpees site a meatball eggplant which interested me until I saw how much room it would require.
    It won’t be much longer until we see sprouts coming through the ground, I can’t wait!

    1. I was hopeful of an early spring but with the cold and snow of late here I suspect we will have a typical spring with flowers starting to show up in early April.

  10. That seedling square is great! I appears to work much better than crossing one’s fingers and hoping for even distribution! Enjoy your planning and just think about how good everything will taste.

    1. Ok then I will get myself ready in early March to plant out peas, spinach and radishes! It would be great to plant out early veggies in March instead of in mid April which is typical. Keeping my fingers crossed.

    1. Oh Charlie you are so wonderfully optimistic. I will keep those good thoughts going. I am hopeful spring will begin in March. To plant early seeds in March instead of April would be a treat.

  11. Donna, You’re so on the ball with your plans for improving your vegetable production this year…. I haven’t even thought much about it yet. I’m sure your veg-growing skills get better each year, with what you learn from previous attempts, even if there are problems. I especially enjoyed the “macro” overview photo of your entire back yard, showing where all the areas are laid out — it helped my orient myself, like a map. Good luck with all your plans! -Beth

  12. HI Donna, I see you’ve been busy making plans! Looking good and I really should be more disciplined in planning the veg garden as it is such a valuable record and also full of anticipation. Your vase is delightful and the background well chosen – my paperwhites are coming on as well and will make it into a vase soon. Have a nice week 🙂

    1. Yes I have to get going or I’ll never have the veggies started indoors at the right time….can’t wait to see your Paperwhites soon!

  13. I like the casual arrangement of your raised beds (they are usually all lined up in rows). Baleek is so fragile and beautiful and rarely seen: perfect Valentine.

    1. I think that is why I rarely use my Belleek ricki….so fragile. The beds actually were never planned so I fit them in as I added one each year.

  14. The price of veggies this winter has got me thinking about veggies for this spring. You are well ahead of me with your plans, my thoughts as to how to work in veggies are still formulating.I have never heard of a Seeding Square and am very intrigued.

    1. It is quite a learning experience and fun growing my own veggies. So I hope you do grow some of your own…I think you would enjoy it. And the Seeding Square is made in Canada.

  15. Your garden plans look promising. You should have a wonderful abundance of produce. My husband does our gardens now, and they are small raised beds so we don’t do too much, Your photos are wonderful–an inspiring!

  16. I loved seeing your plans. I have similar hand drawn and coloured graph paper sheets for my allotment planning dating back to when I took on the allotment. Your paper whites look beautiful in the Belique vase.

    1. Thanks Sarah. I keep my garden plans too each year so I can see where I planted veggies….helps me to rotate crops and plan.

  17. Donna, you are so well organised, all your veggies and fruit sound delicious, you have got me thinking, you almost always do, anyway I am thinking about your use of pots, they would probably drain better and be drier than planting straight in the ground, do you buy compost for them or a mix of soil and compost?
    thanks for your comments on my blog, reading this post I guess though you do get dreadful and very cold winter weather you can mostly rely on a warm, even sometimes hot summer, I think it is the lack of a warm summer that has got me down,
    please consider following a tree, it doesn’t have to be in your garden, there seem to be so many trees in your area, Frances

    1. I plant my veggies in raised beds, pots and grow bags for that very reason Frances….the soil is wet clay here. I use an organic potting soil mixed with compost and some sand to make it free draining.

      We have had cold, wet summers from time to time, and it is depressing….I can’t even imagine having them regularly after a cold, wet rest of the year.

      As to the tree following….unless the tree is one of mine, I know I won’t be good at following it. So once the weather breaks, I might find one and reconsider.

      1. thank you Donna for telling me about the soil and compost mix your use, my peaty soil is organic as peat is from sphagnum moss, I have added sand and shingle to my soil in some areas and it does help, I made some raised beds, I used composted turfs and my home made compost in them, however perennial weeds have come up through it, I need to do what you are doing and line them with weed suppressing fabric, I hope there might be some drier weather so I can do it, the wind and rain gale started yesterday evening, so no gardening today, take care, Frances

        1. Anytime Frances! The weed suppressant fabric is worth a try, and I find the windblown weeds easy to pick out of the raised beds. If you use mulch in the beds, that helps keep the wind blown weeds down too.

          We are having snow, ice and rain making for very messy conditions today…so hoping the weather gets better in your part of the world!

    1. We went out in 0 degree temps today…10 minutes and we were numb. But I needed the fresh air. Glad I gave you some cheer, Deb!

  18. A very nice vase, the rose hips and dogwood are a great contrast to the green foliage and the white flowers – very pretty.

  19. Very pretty vase in white and red, Donna, perfect for the <3 holiday.
    I find I am overly optimistic in my gardening plans at this time of year, then reality hits when gardening season rolls around. Foibles of being human, I guess! 😉

  20. What fun! I enjoyed learning all about your vegetable garden and the flowers are gorgeous. Thanks for sharing them with Today’s Flowers again Donna. Have a great week!

  21. I’m impressed by your green thumb, Donna! I look forward to seeing what your vegetable garden yields later this year.

  22. The rose hips add just the right punch to your vase, Donna. I admire your plans for the vegetable garden and it leaves me feeling some regret about abandoning plans to grow edibles this year. I do have some herbs still but concerns about water use, especially in the warmer months (which this year apparently begin with February), have led me to set aside ideas of growing vegetables. I’ll miss my sugar snap peas! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a list of drought tolerant vegetables but perhaps I should research that – this drought obviously isn’t going to end soon.

  23. The seeding square looks quite clever! I gave up on veggies, preferring to grow flowers. But I do grow sweet potatoes and carrots for their delicious roots and beautiful foliage. 🙂

  24. It’s really interesting to hear all about your vegetable garden plans. I have had little success in recent years with container planting for veg, but I think I will try and find one of those portable beds you have, just for various salad leaves. A beautiful vase Donna, looking extremely elegant and romantic with the hint of red from the rose hips! 🙂

  25. When I think of my grandparents garden all those years ago it was really the edibles which excited me. The peas, beans, radishes, lettuce and of course all those lovely soft fruits made all the sweeter due to the slower growth of rather cool Spring and Summer weather. Hope your harsh cold spell is over soon and you can get stuck into your plans, which sound very exciting.

  26. These are the days when planning the vegetable garden is about the only thing you can do to keep that spring fever at bay! You have things so well organized, I can barely remember to get the onion seedlings started (I’m late already). Someday I’ll get organized… maybe 🙂
    Love the paperwhites with the rose hips and dogwood. Almost a holiday arrangement yet the paperwhites are completely spring, and they make it all so valentine day-ish!

    1. I think that organizational mania comes from my former work before I retired, Frank. And yes I think at this point, the planning and starting of the seeds indoors are all we have in this snowy world still hanging on.

  27. Dreaming about and planning the summer vegetable garden is a wonderful way to spend the relaxing winter days, Donna. When the actual planting, tending and harvesting occur, it is such a busy time. My older (Long Island) and younger (Massachusetts) brothers tend wonderful vegetable gardens. Both of them installed greenhouses in their yards to help propagate seeds and seedlings.

    We may have a couple of days in the 70’s this week! I’m sure winter will return soon.

    1. Yes indeed it is super busy once I start planting the veg garden outdoors….I think of it like a child needing daily care. I wish I had installed a greenhouse but that will not happen now. Lucky you Pat to have such a warm up….we will not warm up in the foreseeable future.

  28. That was so interesting – and I really enjoyed your photos. I’ve never heard of a seeding square. It looks like it makes sense…..and the portable bed is a good idea too. We left all our raised beds behind at the old house and are starting from scratch again here.

  29. It is going to be the worlds best garden! I remember Feb as being the month when I got deathly tired of gray and cold and really really wished winter were over … How great to use it to plan ahead.

  30. What a lot of fun to read of all your plans. Someday I will figure out how to grow edibles that don’t get eaten by the deer, groundhogs or birds. I have done well with peas, so maybe I will plant those soon.

  31. I love, love the paperwhite arrangement! This year we are downsizing our vegetable garden. I will plant onions soon, and early spring will also see swiss chard. For summer, only tomatoes. We have decided the soil needs a rest, or maybe it’s the gardener who needs the rest! That’s it! Quite a change. We will see if we are able to stick to the plan!

    1. Thanks Deb…I know I will downsize one of these days soon, but I also wonder if I can stick to a small veg garden. Now if I can get the rest of my garden under control, I would have more energy for big veg garden.

  32. Hi Donna, since i am from the tropics, looking at the entire garden and the vicinity at that stage looks pathetic. It seems lifeless, though we know they will shoot once spring comes. Your produce looks very successful.

    1. Yes lifeless on the surface Andrea….with life teaming below the soil waiting for spring…we had a good harvest last year which shows in the pictures. Can’t wait to get started this year.

  33. Looking through the seed catalogues and planning the Spring garden is so much fun…and it diverts one’s attention from the usually dreary February weather.

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