The best garden type for you is a...
So what does this mean exactly?
Watch the video below for a brief description of your garden type and read on for some specific steps to help you start taking action.
Result summary video
Why is a PANTRY GARDEN the best choice for you?
A pantry garden will help you stockpile loads of homegrown vegetables for storage while keeping your garden work as simple as possible and even allowing for extended holidays throughout the summer.
Based on your quiz responses, this is the best garden style for you because…
You want to grow AND store your own food without the complexity of managing a really diverse crop selection.
You've got a significant amount of growing space to fill and you want to do it with the least amount of work possible.
You don't want to be chained to your garden all summer long so you'd prefer to do your garden work in a few larger sessions and not have to check in on things every day.
Not quite right? Take the quiz again.
If that sounds like you, let's get to work!
The gardening world is filled with distractions, so I have lined up some specific suggestions to help you start moving in the right direction and stay on track. Here are three tips for making your PANTRY GARDEN work for you.
Select the right crops.
To produce a a big haul of vegetables for your pantry, select more crops that offer you a flexible single harvest like potatoes and fewer crops that need your constant attention like cucumbers. If you plant a bunch of crops that need regular attention from you throughout the summer, you'll either start to neglect your garden work or begin to resent the fact that you're needing to spend so much time in the garden.
Pantry garden plans are about getting the most bang for your buck. You can keep things simple, minimize your labour, and still produce a bountiful harvest in fall to load up your pantry. Below are five staple crops that work well with these objectives because they offer a high level of flexibility and dependability during the growing season along with excellent storage capabilities.
Garlic is particular about the timing of its planting and harvest, but it is going to require very little attention otherwise. Once the harvest is cured, bulbs can be stored for an extended period without refrigeration so this is a great crop to start with if you haven't quite sorted out your cold storage space yet.
Potatoes are incredibly easy to plant, require very little maintenance, have a long storage life, and pack loads of healthy carbohydrates to fuel your body through the winter. If you think potatoes are boring because of what's available in the grocery store, think again. Try sourcing your seed from a reputable seed supplier in your area and I bet you'll be surprised by the variety of colour and flavour you can find in the world of potatoes.
Carrots are one of my favourite crops to grow, and a major reason for this is that their crispy sweetness preserves so well. I count on carrots to preserve my memory of the summer months long after the season is over. Add to that their drought tolerance and flexible harvest window and you've got a crop that's just to sweet to pass up.
Onions are a slow growing crop that's great for long term storage, but you can also , but they can be harvested and enjoyed at any stage of growth. I appreciate that kind of flexibility and since so many recipes start by slicing up an onion, there's no question this crop belongs in every pantry garden.
Winter Squash is a great space filling crop that can be quite productive too with plenty of sun and heat. Because of its thick leaf canopy and compatibility with various mulches, winter squash can be one of the best choices for newly developing garden plots that still have considerable weed pressure. It is also a great entry level crop in terms of storage because no refrigeration is required.
2. Know your numbers.
Know your storage capabilities.
It doesn't matter how much you grow if you can't store it properly so take some time to figure out where each of your crops is going to end up after it comes out of your garden. If you want to keep it really simple, choose to focus on crops that store well in their raw state. If you're comfortable in the kitchen and you know you'll have some extra time during the growing season, then preservation methods such as drying, freezing, and canning may also be part of your game plan.
Regardless of the crops you aim to stow away, the overarching message I have for you here is to equip yourself for success before you are overwhelmed with all the food you've grown. Crunch a few numbers so you know how much food to expect, build the washing and cold storage spaces you need to manage and store your harvests, and start acquiring the gear you want for your preservation projects such as a dehydrator, deep freezer, and canning equipment.
Simplify, streamline, and automate.
You want to grow your own food and have time to enjoy the other pleasures of summer too so this tip is all about reducing your garden management load.
Let's start with automation. This is your ticket to freedom. With the right soil management techniques and timed irrigation systems, you don't need to be chained to your garden. You can quite literally set it and forget it.
Next, you'll need to remind yourself to keep your crop selection simple. Every new crop variety that you include adds another layer of complexity. The primary crop selections for the pantry garden shown above were winter squash, beets, potatoes, and onions. The discipline we had with the crop selection allowed us to leave this site untended for multiple weeks with no sacrifice in production.
Lastly, I suggest putting some thought into the flow of your food after it is harvested. You could be dealing with some pretty big loads of vegetables all at once and it's not fun to move these heavy crops around more than once. Figure out the path you'll take to get them out of the field, then cured and washed as necessary, and finally packed away into storage. When you streamline these processes, you will save time and the work will be much more pleasurable.
It's time to take action.
A good garden plan is critical to making this dream of yours a reality, so if you’re serious about growing your own food, I want to invite you to join us for our upcoming GARDEN PLANNING BLITZ.
In this live 4 part workshop, I will walk you through the process of defining your garden type, help you lay out your garden plan, and show you what it takes getting results you can count on. These training sessions are free and they will be taking place inside our online Classroom. Request an invitation below and I’ll send you everything you need to know to join in the fun!
A step by step guide to creating the vegetable garden of your dreams.
The Seed to Table course will help you navigate the wild world of vegetable growing so that you can approach your garden with confidence and finally achieve dependable results for your family.
Join us for the 2021 Vegetable Academy
SEED TO TABLE COURSE
Get to know your instructor...
Jared Regier is an urban farmer and educator from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan who is passionate about building a more sustainable future. He loves teaching people how to grow their own food because it is such a powerful vehicle for positive change in individuals and communities.
Today, Jared runs an award winning urban farm so he's obviously pretty comfortable in the vegetable world, but his life experience doesn't begin there. His first career as a high school teacher also helped him develop an ability to simplify and communicate complex ideas. So when the farm started to get noticed and people began to ask if they could learn how to grow vegetables like that in their own backyard, it was only natural for Jared to answer the call. Now, his teaching and farming experience have found perfect harmony here at the Vegetable Academy where he aims to put the knowledge and tools of the vegetable farmer in the hands of the home gardener.
Jared's approach to teaching is organized, logical, and light hearted. He loves to learn and enjoys passing on these lessons to his students and watching them experience success. His practical lessons are always rooted in first hand experience and/or scientific studies because there's no sense in passing on misinformation. Jared delights in helping others take responsibility for growing their own food, and the limitless number of learning opportunities in the vegetable garden are sure to keep this work interesting for years to come.