The days leading to the winter solstice are always miserable. Especially this year. We lost my dad on the 15th of December due to COVID-19. It made the first three weeks of December more crushing than ever before.
While our worlds will forever remain rocked by the events of 2020, the 22nd of December started new light. Our days are becoming lighter and longer. If the world moves as fast as it did from March-December last year, spring will be here in a blink of an eye. Green is what we need. Warmth is what we need. Growth is what we need.
In May of last year, I shared our first garden blog post.
I reflected on the reason I felt so compelled to start a garden. It was January 2020. I told my mom we were going to give it a go. In February 2020, we had our first three beds built.
“That is an answer I’m still searching for, but as far as where we are today: I have no regrets and have loved every second of it.” – Alyssa, May 2020
While entering the 2021 garden season, I still don’t have the full answer and likely never will. I do, however, think I have part of it.
The garden made me feel grounded. I felt immense peace while the world was still ramping up a detrimental global pandemic that has killed nearly 400,000 loved ones in the U.S. alone. The news terrified me, but the size of my pumpkin leaves was energetic. The number of grape tomatoes we harvested from one plant was an overwhelmingly blessed feeling. Sharing my garden with Carol and Dennis, our elderly neighbors, was rewarding. And I hate bugs, but some of the worms we found were MASSIVE, and I loved seeing how fat they could get.
I walked through my little 3-bed garden at least twice every day. Checking plants, looking at the blossoms, making sure the pests were at bay, and pulling any weed that popped up.
Now we’re building SEVEN new beds and more than doubling the footprint of our garden in 2021.
It’s exciting. It’s nerve-racking. It’s motivational.
Growing & Thriving | 2021 Garden Plan
Could we have used our same three beds for the garden this year? Sure. Totally doable. But we are an all-in kind of couple. That’s how our easy kitchen renovation turned into another massive project. Ha! (I’ll share an update this weekend!! Sorry to keep you waiting for so long.)
The garden is no different. Sure, half a bed of tomatoes was fun… but what about a larger bed full of only tomatoes? That sounds better. And think about the drone shots of that beauty!!
- Luffa Gourds | These gourds can be eaten young — and we’ll try that — but will mainly be dried and turned into natural sponges.
- Potatoes | We’re growing two varieties from Gurney’s — Purple Vikings and Yukon Golds.
- Strawberries | We tried to grow some from seed last year and failed. They felt like the only seeds left in Wichita and turned out to be low quality. We’re starting with bare roots this time.
- Tomatoes | I’m so excited. Like, so excited. The tomato bed alone might be the reason we invest in a small deep freeze. I’m also popping some onions in with the tomatoes.
- Squash Central | there is also some garlic in this bed because it was the only one I didn’t fully cover for the winter
- Okra, Melons & Cucumbers | This bed is pretty much the same as last year, but we are filling the middle space with melons to hopefully give them more room to crawl around
- Asparagus, Peppers & Bush Beans| Again, this bed is very similar to last year. But where the melons where we are putting bush beans.
- Mini Pumpkin Patch | I’m growing pie pumpkins. Hopefully, at Thanksgiving, I can say I grew the pie. Ha!
- Wildflowers | The blend I purchased from MIGardener said it is an excellent pollinator attractant.
- Carrots, Lettuce, Radishes, Pole Beans & Ground Cherries | This is basically our “everything else” bed.
I spent my Sunday building the full seed starting and planting plan, too.
I found myself buried in seeds on my couch nearly all day.
Coming Soon: Our Seed List
In 2020, so many people saw empty shelves at grocery stores and started gardening during their extended time at home. It was great for the community but made finding seeds tricky. We could not have a 2020 fall garden for that reason but stocked up on our seeds in November for the 2021 season.