Plan Your Garden For Year Round Produce

Hello, again History Lovers,

Planning a kitchen garden to grow enough for a family’s immediate needs as well as plenty to be preserved against the scarcity of winter and early spring is the advice offered by The Farmer’s Wife–A Magazine For Farm Women in February 1922. Self-reliance was essential for farm families in order to feed themselves throughout the year. Every ounce of the garden produce was eaten fresh, stored in a root cellar, canned, dried, or pickled. Any scraps were fed to the chickens. Nothing was wasted.

One hundred years later my husband and I have tried to live a self-reliant lifestyle. He is an avid gardener and I am an avid canner. We made a good team especially when our children were growing up. What he didn’t grow, we bought from local orchards and farmers to can, freeze (an option that was only available during the winter months a century ago), and dehydrate. Since it is just the two of us now, we are trying to cut back on what we produce and preserve. My husband has a smallish garden spot tilled and is anxious to start planting. Too bad it snowed again last night.


A Cook’s Lament

“I can’t find anything to cook!” “I don’t know what to plan for meals at this time of year!” These are mutual complaints during this season wherever two or three farm housewives are gathered together. Now, while there is still time to plan for a kitchen garden is time to prevent this food famine from recurring next year.

Lay Out Your Garden

Vintage Seed Packets 1920

After the long winter months, we all crave crisp green food and these are the first seeds we sow—lettuce, radishes, onions. Then we plant for summer days. But all too often we do not, in laying out gardens, think in terms of the late winter and early spring weeks that inevitably come when “it is so hard to find anything to cook.”

Can, Dry and Brine Vegetables

In forecasting our gardens, we must keep three very definite things in mind: (1) we must plant for the summer season when we can practically live from the garden; (2) for the early winter when it is possible to have a pleasing variety from the root vegetables that have been stored in the cellar; (3) lastly, for the late winter months when stored vegetables have lost their crispness and flavor and it is still too early to have the fresh things. The easiest way to meet this third provision is to plant a surplus of summer vegetables which are to be canned or dried or brined for winter use. The women whose shelves are thus stocked are not among those who lift their voices in the wail, “I can’t find anything to cook!”


The above article was originally published in The Farmer’s Wife–A Magazine For Farm Women, February 1922, Page 745; Webb Publishing Company, St. Paul, Minnesota. Articles may be edited for length and clarity.

3 thoughts on “Plan Your Garden For Year Round Produce

  1. My mother was born in 1921 which is pretty close to the date of this article. I wish I had asked my grandmother what they planted in their garden. I know they had one as well as my father’s family. In fact, for most of my growing up years, my parents had a garden. They often planted it on Memorial Day or around Memorial day except for peas; they planted those in April. I have found much joy in canning. Usually I end up buying local produce to can as my garden is small and we have way too much ledge to have a “proper” garden. I think those of us who do plant a garden, feel this woman’s pain!

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    1. Is your summer growing season long enough to grow corn? Farmers grow a lot of it around here for livestock. Our daughter lives in a farming region in Colorado but due to elevation the season is too short for the ears to form.

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  2. Yes, we grow corn for both humans and animals. Our season is short, though, but hot enough to grow corn. I have never tried growing corn as we have lots of places around us that sell corn. My parents grew their own and my father grew it for animals.

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