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All Things Garden,  Our Homestead

2023 Spring & Summer Garden Grow List + Homestead Goals

Hey friends! Before the start of each new season, it’s become tradition that I put together a “what we’re growing” post – where I share a list of all the annual vegetable and flower varieties we plan to grow in our garden during the upcoming season. It’s a fun way for us to share new or favorite varieties with you all, narrow down our selections, get excited for spring planting, as well as document/journal for future reference! 

We plan to grow several new-to-us things this spring and summer, but there will also be many repeats on the list. So to keep things interesting, I figured I’d share more than just our “grow list” today, and will share some of the exciting homestead goals and projects we have planned for the new year too! Plus, a few reflections about our first full year here with a new garden. Isn’t that what January’s all about? I’d love to hear your 2023 garden aspirations in the comments below!

Click here to skip straight to the grow list.

Need Seeds? 

As you go through our grow list, you’ll quickly notice that almost all the varieties are from High Mowing Seeds. That’s where we get 99% of our seeds these days! High Mowing is a fantastic small certified organic seed company that offers a wide variety of quality veggie, flower and herb seeds.

Use this link + code “23DCAT10” to SAVE 10% on orders over $50 or more, now through the end of January ‘23! Using our link helps to support the work we do here at Homestead and Chill. We appreciate you using it, very much!

It's Time to Grow with High Mowing Organic Seeds

2022 Progress and Reflections

2022 was our first full year at this new property, so our main focus was getting the raised bed garden installed. And it turned out better than I ever imagined! (If you missed that project, you can see the step-by-step process here – including ground prep, materials, building raised beds, and irrigation.) We also planted dozens of pollinator plants and a handful of fruit trees. Otherwise, we spent our time enjoying the new space, continuing to learn our slightly different climate, and contemplating what to do next.

Overall, our 2022 spring and summer garden did great. Harvests were bountiful… too bountiful in some cases! Lesson learned: grow less eggplant. Lol. With 9 robust plants producing, we ended up donating SO much eggplant to our local food bank and neighbors, along with eating and preserving as much as we could. Other crops were more on the pitiful side however, like our bush beans and peppers. I’m not totally sure what was up with those! So far, our fall/winter garden is a little lackluster compared to normal too. I think we got a slightly late start, but it’s also been an exceptionally cold and wet winter here!

Fall 2021 vs Spring 2022
Our final big harvest of the 2022 summer season, before changing everything over to cool season fall crops.
Fall 2022. Crazy to think this was just a weedy dirt field this time in 2021!

2023 Homestead Goals 

Now that the raised bed garden is done, I’m itching to tackle new projects! I love the entire planning process: the daydreaming, sketching, math, list-making, sourcing supplies… and of course the reward once it’s all complete. I even love the hard physical work and construction phase, though my body often tries to convince me otherwise.

More fruit, please

In 2023, we have one large project in mind: to create a secondary orchard. With 12 trees in our existing orchard space, it’s already at maximum capacity. We have a mature apricot tree plus young apples (2), peaches (2), figs (2), a nectarine, plum, lime, orange, and persimmon… but there is still a lot of other fruit I want to grow! Pears, more stone fruit, figs, and citrus varieties, and maybe even a couple of almond trees. Macadamia nuts apparently do well in our climate too! Can you imagine? 

The area we have in mind for a secondary orchard is on a slight slope, over on the corner of our property that we refer to as “Sandy Hill”. Before we even think about planting trees, we’ll need to terrace the wild and weedy hillside in order to create a suitable, functional planting area and to reduce runoff. I think it will look really sharp too!

I’m envisioning short walls made of natural rock or stone as the terrace barriers, though that sounds like a lot of heavy lifting… We shall see. We’ll also need to install a new drip irrigation system for that area. In addition to trees, I want to plant pollinator-friendly natives and companion plants around the base of the trees like borage, comfrey, rosemary, marigolds and yarrow. And of course, mulch mulch mulch!

Since it takes many years for trees to mature and bear fruit, it’s a great idea to focus on planting trees early on when first developing a new homestead or garden. If you’re also working on a new space and are feeling overwhelmed, check out this article for guidance: How to Start a Homestead: 9 Must-Read Tips for New Homesteaders.

Related: How to Choose Fruit Trees for Your Garden, How to Plant a Tree, and Fruit Tree Chill Hours Explained

The existing orchard, after a fresh layer of mulch in spring ’22.
The existing orchard. It will be quite full in here once all these young trees grow up.
“Sandy Hill”, the site of the future second orchard – adjacent to where we already planted 4 avocado trees. Hi Badger!
The rough plan, but each tier should hold at least 3 trees, plus maybe a 4th tier. We also intend to plant some native flowering shrubs between the avocados.

Other 2023 Projects

Beyond the secondary orchard, I have several smaller projects in mind:

  • Expand the chicken run. The current run is plenty big for the three chickens we currently have, but when we eventually expand the flock, I’d like them to have more room. I’d also like to provide them with more green pasture area instead of just dirt, though that is very seasonal here. I wish our girls could free range at this property, but there are too many hawks constantly around! Learn Backyard Chickens 101 here.
  • Start a mushroom farm. Lol, maybe not a “farm” per se (just enough for personal use) but “mushroom farm” sure is fun to say! The oak trees on our property offer so much shade, so we might as well make use of it. Mushrooms are one of the few edibles that thrive in shade. Plus oak logs are some of the best wood to inoculate with shroom spores! Don’t worry, I’ll be sure to document and share that process as we go.
  • Build a larger 3-bay compost system. The existing garden area already had a modest 3-bay compost bin we’re using now (plus our worm bin of course), but it’s undersized for our needs. It’s also not large enough to build up a proper hot pile, which I love to do! Learn more about composting at home here.
  • Expand our “calendula farm” area. In addition to our raised beds, we currently grow the bulk of our calendula flowers in four 100-gallon grow bags in the pasture next to the old orchard. We need to grow a lot of calendula to keep up with the demand for our calendula salve and new face oil in our shop, so I’d like to at least double the growing space, plus improve the current irrigation system there.
  • Hang more bird houses. In an effort to create even more shelter, food sources, and places to raise young for our local birdies (all key elements of a wildlife habitat!), I have a few cute birdhouses and feeders on the way from Gardeners Supply Co. Seeing the baby quail, blue jays and crows around our property last spring was such a delight! I also need to relocate our screech owl box because we haven’t yet had any visitors there. 

An overview of the homestead
The existing chicken run (which also goes around the back of the coop, not visible here). I think I want to make a “day run” off the backside or to the left, extending into the weedy field area. It would be covered and protected from hawks, but not necessarily as predator-proof as the rest of the run and coop.

Grow List: What We’re Growing Spring & Summer 2023

Without further ado, here a full list of all the varieties we plan to grow in our spring and summer garden this year! We’ll plant a handful of cooler-season crops like leafy greens, cabbage, and root veggies next month, and then follow with tomatoes, squash, flowers, and other warm-weather crops later in spring. Don’t forget to refer to your planting calendars to figure out the best schedule for YOUR zone! 

Also, remember to read plant descriptions to choose things that suit your needs. For instance, the varieties I’m listing here do (or should) grow well in our temperate climate, and may offer natural disease resistance that we’re otherwise susceptible to here – such as powdery mildew. 

If you’re new to growing from seed, our Seed Starting 101 guide will help get you going. But there is no shame in buying started seedlings too! Learn how to pick the best seedlings at the nursery here.


I’m more excited than ever for tomatoes this year! Between the warmer (less foggy) weather and a new kickass tomato trellis system, we had such a stellar tomato crop last summer! You can see the trellis system in action in this post, as well as other ways to prune and support tomatoes. As you browse the varieties below, note that we grow mostly indeterminate tomatoes (trellised) but usually grow a couple determinate varieties in large DIY tomato cages as well. 

Repeat favorites:

  • Sakura. Large 1 oz. cherry tomatoes (more like saladette) that are prolific, delicious, and resist cracking. These performed SO well for us last year! Indeterminate. 
  • Pink Boar. Beautiful, petitie (2-4 oz) wine-colored fruits with metallic green stripes. Said to perform well in challenging climates. Indeterminate. 
  • Mountain Merit. Excellent red slicing tomato with firm flesh and 8-10 oz fruit. Productive and highly disease resistant. Determinate.
  • Granadero. Large plum tomatoes 4-5 oz in size. Produces abundant and continued yields throughout the season. Offers high disease resistance. Great variety for homemade tomato sauce. Indeterminate. We may try Amish Paste (below) instead of this, or in addition to.
  • Green Zebra Tomato. 4-5 oz. fruit with sweet and tangy flavor, color has dark green stripes that yellow as it ripens. Indeterminate.

New to us:

  • Rosa de Berne. 4-8 oz. fruit that is resistant to cracking, early to mature than other larger varieties, and the flavor has a perfect balance of acidity and sweetness. Indeterminate.
  • Plum Regal Tomato. High-yielding plum paste tomato with 4 oz. fruits that are great for sauces and canning. Good natural disease resistance. Determinate.
  • CubaLibre. Abundant and round 7 oz. fruit that are similar to Cherokee Purple in appearance with less green along the shoulders. Indeterminate. (rare)
  • Valentine. A highly productive red grape tomato with firm flesh, delicious flavor and holds up well after harvest. Indeterminate.
  • Amish Paste Tomato. Large classic paste tomato with 8-12 oz. fruit, very few seeds and sweeter than most paste tomatoes. Indeterminate.

Related: Organic Tomato Grow Guide or 6 Ways to Support, Prune, and Train Tomato Plants

Our new tomato trellis system. I’ll make a dedicated post on this soon, but until then you can find more info about it under the “Florida weave” section of this article.

Summer and Winter Squash

Yep! Despite its potentially misleading name, winter squash is planted in spring and grown during the summertime – just like zucchini. It’s called winter squash because it lasts for a long time in storage post-harvest, so you can enjoy it through the winter. But it’s not frost tolerant!

Repeat favorites:

  • Dunja Zucchini. Our go-to green zucchini variety. The plants are beautiful, prolific, and naturally resistant to powdery mildew!
  • Nutterbutter Butternut. This butternut did absolutely fantastic for us last year. We harvested 28 squash (over 50 pounds) from just TWO pants! It’s described to “reliably mature in regions that have trouble ripening butternuts”.

New to Us:

  • Goldy Zucchini. Long and slender bright yellow fruit that resists greening. 
  • Green Machine Squash. A prolific classic green zucchini with exceptional disease resistance. We’ll either plant that or Stardust Zucchini – another productive zucchini variety with lightly speckled fruit.
  • Winter Sweet Squash. Pale gray-blue kabocha squash with complex flavor that improves with storage. These guys only produce 2 squash per plant, but should be fun regardless!
  • Delicata Squash. Vining plant that produces oblong striped fruit with superbly tender, sweet flesh.
  • Autumn Frost Butternut Squash. A specialty butternut with unique frosted appearance that is rich and earthy in flavor.

Psst! Have you ever had zucchini or other squash that starts to grow, but then shrivels or rots on the vine? Chances are it wasn’t properly pollinated! Learn how to easily hand pollinate squash to prevent end rot here, or visit our full Zucchini & Summer Squash grow guide

About half of the Nutterbutter butternut squash we harvested last year. The vines were so prolific!
Dunja zucchini – prolific, PM-resistant, and beautiful naturally variegated leaves.

Beans and Peas

Quick tip: soak bean and pea seeds in water for several hours before direct-sowing them outside for a speedy germination! Pop over to our bean grow guide for even more tips, and be sure to come back and try our fermented dilly bean recipe later.

  • Pole Beans: Pole beans (vining) usually take longer to grow and bear fruit than bush beans, but they produce more and over a longer season. My favorite are Northeaster Pole Beans: a long, flat, tender, early-maturing Romano variety with great texture and buttery flavor. We’re also going to try these pretty Blue Coco Pole Beans this year. 
  • Bush Beans are great for succession sowing all season long, and tucking between larger plants to maximize your growing space. In addition to classic green beans (like Provider or Jade bush beans), we’re particularly fond of beautiful purple and white Dragon Langerie, red-streaked Borlotto, tender Gold Rush Yellow Wax, and flat tender Roma type bush beans. 
  • Sugar Snap Peas are always a spring staple! If you need an easy and inexpensive trellis for growing peas, beans, or any other vining plant, pop over to our DIY trellis tutorial.

Northeaster pole beans. They stay incredibly tender and crisp, even when they’re this long!
This summer I want to trellis pole beans, peas (mostly spring) and maybe some of the butternut or melons!

Annual Flowers 

I love planting annual flowers in the raised beds amongst the veggies. They’ll add a beautiful pop of color, draw in pollinators, and some even deter pests! Learn more about companion planting here, and a full list of our top 23 plants for pollinators here.

For cultivation tips on all these beauties, see: 7 Best Easy Annual Flowers to Grow from Seed

Statice is in the foreground (perennial here) with annual cosmos, sunflowers, bachelor’s buttons and marigolds in the beds beyond.
Companion flowers everywhere
Cheerful chamomile

Melons and Cucumber

I figured I’d lump these cucurbits together. Not only are cucumbers and melon part of the same plant family, but they’re both crops that didn’t grow very well for us at the old homestead – and did great here last summer! We’re planting the varieties that did best again, and trying some new ones as well. 


  • Blacktail Mountain Watermelon. Round 6-10 pound melons with crisp, sweet flesh that does well in cool or short seasons. These grew well here last summer.
  • True Love Melon. A large, high-sugar, cantaloupe-like melon with great texture that produces later in the season. High powdery mildew resistance.
  • Sugar Baby Watermelon. Perfectly round juicy and sweet melons that weigh 6-12 lbs with solid green rind and dark red flesh. Great for short seasons.


  • Manny. A vining plant that produces thin-skinned 5-7 inch crisp fruit. Early maturing, high yielding, and good disease resistance.
  • Tasty Green. An Asian burpless variety that produces super long 9” fruit with thin skin and sweet flesh. Produces heavy yields. Best results when trellised.
  • Excelsior Cucumber. A pickle variety that eats well fresh with great flavor, fruit has uniformed size and shape.

A bed of Blacktail Mountain watermelon with zinnia, marigold, and calendula interplanted.
Mr. DeannaCat lookin’ mighty fine with his big melon

Eggplant and Peppers

Eggplant had been a mediocre performer for us in the past, but absolutely kicked butt last summer! We’ll grow three of the same varieties plus one new one (but fewer plants overall). On the other hand, our peppers were kinda sad last summer. We honestly don’t eat all that many hot peppers anyways, so we’ll be scaling back the amount we plant grow this year.


  • Little Finger. An early and productive plant that produces 3 to 6 inch slender dark purple fruit with wonderfully thin skin.
  • Ping Tung Long. An Asian variety of eggplant that produces long and slender fruit 12-14 inches long with thin skin and bright lilac color. My favorite!
  • Piccolo. Small 3-4 inch ovate (egg-shaped) fruit with stunning purple and white variegated striping. Productive variety that will bear fruit over a long season.
  • Black Beauty Eggplant. A high-yielding Italian eggplant with bell shaped 5 to 6 inch fruit that is deep purple in color. New to us this year, but a classic variety. 


I haven’t yet narrowed down the pepper list for this season, but some of our past favorites include: Red Picnic (sweet mini bell) Black Magic jalapeños, Glow (large orange bell peppers), Aji Rico (medium-hot pepper with sweet citrus-like notes), Red Ember (a Cayenne pepper type, great for using fresh or creating powder, shishito peppers (SO good pan-blistered!) and banana peppers, which make excellent pepperoncini-style pickled peppers.

Prolific Ping Tung Long eggplant
Pretty Piccolo eggplant

Brassicas and Leafy Greens

Our winter garden is already full of brassicas right now, so we aren’t going to grow quite as many in spring. Since most brassicas appreciate cooler weather, these will get planted out in late winter to early spring here and will likely be gone by midsummer (with the exception of the kale and Swiss chard – those should stick around!)

  • Cabbage: While we have about 6 different varieties of cabbage growing right now over winter, we’re going to plant another round of just one type this spring: Expect cabbage – with dense, uniformly round green heads and  notable heat tolerance.
  • Broccoli. Belstar broccoli is a trusty broccoli variety we seem to come back to year after year. It matures fairly early and then continues to produce decent little side shoots after the main head is harvested.
  • Joi Choi Bok Choy. Our powerhouse and number 1 favorite green to grow (and one of our top crops to grow, period!) The big thick juicy stalks and open heads are perfect for cut-and-come-again or perpetual harvesting. It doesn’t love hot weather, but is far more slow-bolting than most varieties of bok choy. 
  • Lacinato kale. Dazzling Blue lacinato kale is our go-to slow-bolting variety… and it’s darn beautiful!
  • Swiss Chard. I have yet to find a chard I love more than Peppermint swiss chard (named for its candy-striped stalks, not flavor!) but are also growing this gorgeous yellow-stemmed Sunset Chard this season too. 

Expect cabbage. Check out our cabbage grow guide here!
Swiss chard and friends


We already have many established patches of herbs that grow as perennials here, including sage, rosemary, oregano, bay laurel, lemon balm, mint, and thyme. That means the only annual herbs we’ll likely plant are basil and dill, including: 

We always grow multiple basil plants so we can stock up the freezer with enough Besto Pesto for the whole year, along with dried basil leaves for the pantry. Learn how to grow bushy basil to harvest all season long here. (Hint: pruning young seedlings and routinely cutting back established plants are key!) 

Bouquet dill umbels, ready to spice up a jar of homemade pickles!

Root Veggies

Remember, it’s best to direct sow root vegetable seeds rather than start them indoors! Root veggies don’t take kindly to transplanting. 

  • Carrots. We always grow several different varieties of carrots including Dolciva, Cosmic Purple, Naval, Scarlet Nantes, Bollin, and Bangor. Get tips on how to successfully grow carrots in our carrot grow guide. 
  • Beets grew better than ever last year! Especially Boro Beets, my new favorite variety that we’ll definitely plant again. They’re super sweet, produce excellent leafy greens, and can be harvested anywhere from 2 to 6+ inches, perfect to gradually harvest as you need them over time!
  • Potatoes. We ordered several different potato varieties (all from High Mowing) that will arrive in April. We love growing potatoes in large durable fabric grow bags, which means we can always find some space for them! Interested in growing your own spuds? Learn how we grow potatoes in containers here. 
  • Radishes – a spring staple. We’ll likely sow some egg-shaped purple Bravo daikons, attractive and reliable Pink Beauty, and juicy, mild White Daikon radishes. To learn all about growing radishes from seed to table, see this article. 

Boro beets, my new favorite variety.
Our 2022 spud harvest. This was early September, and we’re still enjoying them now in January!


  • Onions. We’ve already started seeds for sweet Walla Walla, Rossa Di Milano red onions, and Calibra spanish onions (my favorite). When growing onions, it’s crucial to choose the right variety for your latitude – short day, long day, or intermediate day onions. I prefer to start from seed or seedlings rather than sets. Visit our onion grow guide for more info and tips for success.
  • Artichokes. Last year we planted several Wonder artichokes in our raised beds and in our pollinator border area, and the perennial plants are still going strong. This year, we’re also adding a purple artichoke variety! If you aren’t familiar with preparing artichokes, learn one really easy way to cook and eat them here.
  • Glass Gem Popcorn is going to be so beautiful and fun! The 8-10 foot tall plants offer heavy yields of 5-8 inch ears speckled with every color of the rainbow. Who doesn’t love popcorn? Yum!

We harvested plenty of artichokes to eat ourselves, but always like to leave a few to bloom for the pollinators too. Bees absolutely love artichoke flowers. If you like this photo, you may enjoy our new pollinator-themed recycled greeting cards!
So many beautiful onions this year! We started these seeds in January, transplanted in late February, and harvested in September to cure and store (though some were ready earlier, we harvested many to enjoy throughout the summer too)
Next, I need to plot out where I’m going to plant everything! (This was part of last year’s plan.) Making a plan in advance helps SO much come transplanting day, and also helps me guide just how much seed to start of each thing. I also keep these for future reference and crop rotation. Get your own printable plot plan templates in our Free Garden Planning Toolkit here!

That’s the plan, and I’m sticking to it! (maybe, lol)

Well, that sure felt good! As overwhelming as the garden season and homestead upkeep can feel at times, putting “pen to paper” (or in this case, fingers to keyboard) certainly helps me collect my thoughts and feel more prepared and organized. This process helped me narrow down my grow list – and I hope it inspired you to create your own grow list and spring plans too! I also hope you found a few new fun varieties to try this year. Please let us know if you have any questions in the comments below, and thanks for tuning in today. Cheers to a bountiful season ahead!

Other Useful Resources to Explore:


  • Savannah

    Hi there! Im originally from WA and we are stationed in Texas, San Antonio to be exact, in an HOA subdivision that is not my jam. But we don’t have other options right now. I have a 4×10 raised bed, it’s all we can fit in our yard. It was so hot last year we had little growth of anything until October!

    I want to do a salad garden, and some melons, I can’t get my cucumbers to stop getting sick and I can’t tell what is going on with them. Ultimately I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing, so then I get overwhelmed and give up.

    Is there a garden plan for a simple single raise bed? And what is successful in pots? I was thinking cucumbers in a pot this time around since I planted a spring one and fall and both got covered in something and no one could figure it out.

    • Aaron (Mr. DeannaCat)

      Hi Savannah, with San Antonio being extremely hot, you may have different times of the year which will offer the best chances of growing food. It looks like the hardiness zone in San Antonio is between 8b and 9a, check out our planting calendars to see when to plant and grow certain vegetables for your zone. Cucumbers should do fine in pots but they can suffer from a variety of plant diseases from bacterial wilt to powdery or Downey mildew, if you know what disease is prevalent in your area, look for varieties that are resistant to that disease and that variety which will have a better chance of doing well. We struggle with powdery mildew here so we are always looking for powdery mildew resistant varieties of squash, cucumbers, melons, and tomatoes.

      As far as a garden plan for a single bed, you just have to decide on what plants you want to grow. Since you have minimal space, you have to think about what you would most like to grow and the space requirements of each plant. If you want a salad garden, you need to be starting seeds now so you can get the lettuce plants out and growing before you summer heat starts to kick in as lettuce does not like heat at all so you will likely only be growing lettuce for a couple months. We have an article on Growing Lettuce: How to Plant, Protect and Harvest Lettuce. Melons are great but depending on the variety, they can be vining types that like to sprawl, we had 3 watermelon plants in one 4×8 foot bed last year and they took up most of all the space.

      We also have a lot of different articles under the beginner basics section under our the Garden tab on our homepage. Reach out if you have any questions and have fun growing!

  • GK

    Love this post! I must try a few of your seed suggestions even though I’m in central MO so am excited to place an order! Looks like High Mowing is in Vermont so maybe they will work for me. I am especially interested in the zucchini that are powdery mildew resistent. I also found yellow squash at High Mowing that is powdery mildew resistent. My mom (in FL) loves squash but for some reason all of their squash seem to get PM and then die. My mom is about to give up on summer squash but I’m going to send her a few seeds from the PM resistent varieties at High Mowing to see if she has any luck.

    I especially love to see your raised beds with the flowers mixed in. I would know more about timing or spacing for adding flower plants/seeds to vegetable beds or how you get that to work without one choking out the other. Your beds are always so beautiful and I just need to know how to execute that!

    Thanks for all of the information and beautiful posts. I always look forward to seeing how your garden grows!

    • Aaron (Mr. DeannaCat)

      Hi GK, thanks for the kind words and growing varieties that are resistant against certain plant diseases that are prevalent in your area is definitely the way to go. As far as mixing flowers amongst vegetables, we just kind of go for it and try and give most plants if they are typically smaller, closer to 2 feet of spacing, yet our beds usually get overgrown and crazy and sometimes a plant will choke out another one and we usually go with it. If you want to keep the plant that is getting taken over by another, you typically would have to cut back the offending plant to give the other one more space. If you haven’t checked out our Planting Calendar or our Free Garden Planning Toolkit if you subscribe to the site which comes with plot plans that can help plan out your garden. Hope that helps and have fun growing!

  • Mariangela

    Am working on my seed spreadsheet and eagerly reviewing your 2023 varieties. Just curious why you seem to now exclusively use High Mowing Organic Seeds? There are so many interesting seed companies including ones for specific varieties (Wild Boar Farms for tomatoes, Cucumber Shop for cukes, Experimental Farm Network, Seed Savers Exchange among others) and you previously had a post listing at least 12 seed sources.

    • DeannaCat

      Hey Mariangela! Well… because that’s where we’re getting the majority of our seeds these days! I love the quality, and I’ve gotten to know some of the folks who work there, they’re really great too. We still get a few things here and there from Adaptive, Johnny’s, Botanical Interests, etc (and no longer support Baker Creek, they’re problematic) – several things on this list aren’t from High Mowing. I do still have that article for 12 places to buy seeds from (linked here) 🙂 But as busy people, if I can easily get all my seeds in one place, pay just one shipping cost, etc, then that works for me! But obviously there are so many amazing options out there. Thank you so much for reading, and happy growing!

  • donna

    I have a few questions?

    We live in Montana….. a zone 4. We are going to follow your raised bed instructions except they will be taller 30″ as I am 80 yrs old and can no longer bend my knees due to a disease. Therefore,upon completing the beds, I want to put some periennels in them, however, we have been told by very knowable people here, that the roots will freeze itf we grow them in raised beds. My question is because there is no bottom on the raised beds, would the periennels still freeze? My next question is the same but regarding berries, can they be grown in raised beds?
    My last questions is, how many sunflower seeds do you put in your raised beds. We tried growing them in pots last year. The started out good then about half way into the season they just stopped growing and died. I think I put too many seeds in. What kind of sunflowers are best for raised beds.

    My husband and I thank your for sharing your raised bed info and your videos of your land. When it is gloomy and spring looks far away, I can just go to your website and enjoy all the flowers you have. It brings hope that May will get here soon. Our growing season is very short. June to October if we don’t get an early frost!!

    God bless you and keep you,

    • Aaron (Mr. DeannaCat)

      Hi Donna, it’s so great to hear that you and your husband are going to be building a raised bed garden for yourselves. In colder areas like Montana, I believe the general recommendation is to plant annual flowers and vegetables in raised beds as any plants that are left to overwinter such as perennials or berries, their roots will freeze too quickly, whereas when planted in the ground, they will freeze gradually which helps let the plants know when to shift to dormancy.

      As far as growing sunflowers go, you can either plant those in raised beds or possibly even directly in the ground assuming you get enough rain during the summer to keep them happy. Sunflowers get big so they need some space when they grow, if you grew sunflowers in containers last year, they should have been thinned down to 1 plant per container assuming that your container wasn’t a half wine barrel or whiskey barrel where you can likely grow two sunflowers per container. Most plants do best with proper spacing to grow best, the bigger the plant, the more spacing that is needed. We typically don’t put more than one sunflower plant in a raised bed as we typically have many other plants growing in the same bed so we like to mix it up a bit. We are so glad to hear that you and your husband enjoy the website and videos and we greatly appreciate your support, feel free to reach out with any other questions if you have any. Hope that helps, good luck, and have fun growing!

  • Virginia

    Great article. There’s a photo of you two enjoying a beverage on a patio. There’s a lovely black scalloped arch. Can you tell us where you found it? Thanks!

    • Aaron (Mr. DeannaCat)

      Hi Virginia, thanks for checking out the article, unfortunately we don’t know where the arch was found as it was here when we acquired the property. Looking online, most arches are more rounded and I didn’t see any that had the same scalloped shape, sorry we couldn’t be of more help.

  • Liz

    I hope you love the delicata squash as much as I do! Super easy to grow and very prolific, even in my challenging high desert climate (zone 6b, New Mexico). One of the best tasting squashes, in my opinion. What a fun list- I might need to order a few.

    • Aaron (Mr. DeannaCat)

      Thanks so much for sharing Liz! After we had such success growing the Nutterbutter butternut squash last summer, we figured we needed to devote more space to vining hard squash. Hopefully you find a few new varieties to grow this season and have fun in the garden!

  • Alli

    Love it! I am in zone 5/6 so quite a ways behind you, but absolutely itching to get started again this year. I thank you for the inspiration and sharing your knowledge!

    • Aaron (Mr. DeannaCat)

      Thank you so much for the kind words Alli! Your time to get started will be here soon enough, good luck once you can start seeds and have fun growing!

  • Brenna Saxton

    I love your idea for pollinators and companion planting around your fruit trees! We have a small orchard on our timber farm, and I’m hoping to convince the rest of my family to start crafting tree guilds also. What’s better than increasing the health of existing plants while also getting a secondary harvest? I look forward to seeing more progress on those to come!

    • Aaron (Mr. DeannaCat)

      Hi Brenna, I think your idea making tree guilds is a great idea and I think your orchard would greatly benefit from it. We will keep you posted on our new project as it gets underway, we have a lot of work and preparation to do before we can get to any planting just yet but hopefully by some point in the summer we will have it completed.

  • Andrea

    You’re new garden is beautiful and coming along so nice! Thank you for taking the time out to come and share everything with us!

  • Jenny

    Oh I so hope you do a grow guide for that popcorn! I’m in NH and I know that corn is such a big crop up here but something about it intimidates me! High Mowing’s Curly Rioja curly kale was an incredible crop for us last year with big “DeannaCat-sized plants!”

    • Aaron (Mr. DeannaCat)

      Hi Jenny, it’s great to hear you had such success with the kale last year, that sounds like a nice variety! We will let you know about the corn, we typically have just grown it in the past for fun but never have had that big of ears or harvests, the Popcorn Gem variety does look beautiful though. Enjoy the rest of winter and have fun starting seeds for your garden when the time comes!

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