I’ve been thinking a lot about what it takes to plan a year of meals in advance, and beyond that to plan a garden accordingly. If any of my homesteading readers have done this, definitely let me know your secret. I’m not one that wants to reinvent the wheel, ya know what I mean?
So what does it take to plan meals AND plan a garden? I have some amazing cookbooks I want to utilize but making exotic meals can become costly. When it costs $5.00 or more per pound for celeriac, and leeks break our budget, all I can do is think of how we can grow them here and eat according to the seasons. One of my favorite chefs is Thomas Keller and if we can’t go to his restaurants, at least I can make his recipes at home. I made a quiche once that was to die for! It was truly the most amazing quiche I’ve ever tasted. If anyone wants to make an extraordinary and amazing meal, here is his recipe for Leek Quiche.
We’ll be putting a greenhouse up also which will definitely help to not only start seeds early next year, but for aquaponics as well. I know we can grow a huge variety of fruits and vegetables in the aquaponic system, yet we’ve never set up a system like this before and I don’t know what the immediate outcome will be.
I posed the question on Facebook to my homesteading peeps about planing meals and a garden a year in advance, and I did get a response. Here is what one homesteader said:
Heather HippyHomesteader Sounds good in theory but may be hard to do. For example I might have planned lits of pizza and spaghetti since I planted lits of tomatoes. However our tomato plants were all destroyed so that would have left me high and dry. Maybe consider planning your meals for the year in the fall AFTER a harvest? That way you know what you actually have and you can better plan the next garden on winning recipes for your family.
Heather has a great point. What happens if I have a bad year in a particular fruit or vegetable? Would that mean that we would need to supplement at the store, or should I have the “oh shit, just in case” recipes for any garden fails? I know that with aquaponics we’ll be inundated with tomatoes and other vegetables that will do well in the system, and I’m considering having frogs as well as quail and butterflies in the greenhouse. Quail and frogs to take care of any pests and butterflies to pollinate everything…there’s no way I want to hand pollinate or even have bees in the greenhouse. I want Simmi to be able to come into the greenhouse and as it is right now, she has a fear of them. I think its the sound they make that gets her worried and want to run.
As I look through my cookbooks, I see so many things that I want to make. I want to plan our main large garden for our meals, not just plant things because they look nice or because its what everyone is doing. No. I want our garden to be intentional. Everything about gardening is a crap shoot right? We never know what will work from year to year. We’ve had a few scorching summers which made our tomatoes small and not the best producers, regardless of how much duck poop water I put on them. We got plagued with garden pests like stink bugs which have some sort of deal with flies because the flies just kept multiplying anywhere the stink bug resided. We’ll be better prepared next year for these kinds of things, but who knows what other things may come against our garden next year.
Some of my favorite must have vegetables are leeks, celeriac, onions (all different varieties), artichokes, fennel (omg I love fennel almost as much as I love leeks!), Jerusalem artichokes, garlic, green onions, white radishes, squash, and I can keep going on and on! I want to grow many different varieties of each fruit and veg. Maybe I’m getting garden greedy. Is there such a thing?
It all has my head spinning. These are just the things for the garden, and how about all the different cheeses, heavy cream, butter, breads, eggs, duck eggs, turkey eggs, poultry, rabbit, wild game, lamb, pork and beef? Those need to also be added into the equation to make my year of meals and garden planning take on new meaning. I’m thinking of adding the meats sometime next fall when I start to plan for 2013. It seems so far away right? Its not, its just around the corner. I wonder if it can be done. I’m gonna give it a try. Again, if anyone else is attempting to plan an intentional garden this way, please leave a comment and tell me how you did it, or how you want to do it.