Monday, January 13, 2014

2014 Garden Cool Weather Lineup

The snow is flying and the mercury is dipping but for gardeners it is a time of planning. A time to take a look back at past successes and failures in the garden and lay the groundwork for a new year. I have had several request for a post about what I will be planting this coming year. I live and garden in North Central Missouri. Rolling farmland in zone 5A where the average rainfall is about   36 inches of rain per year, the US average is 37. Snowfall average is 23 inches and the average US city gets 25 inches of snow per year. First frost for the year usually happens around mid October and the last frost about the end of April. The following varieties are most time proven varieties here on my farm. 

Early Spring Cool Weather Crops

Lettuce...Romaine...variety  Jericho 

Last year was the first year for growing this brilliant green romaine lettuce, developed in Israel. It remains sweet even through the heat of summer for us and if planted every 2 weeks will keep you in crisp romaine lettuce throughout the spring. Mildew and disease resistant It performed wonderful for us and was a favorite. This is a cut and come again lettuce. 

My seed were purchased from Sustainable Seed Company.

This I start early under lights indoors and move to the garden. 

Lettuce...Black Seeded Simpson

An old reliable lettuce that is heat resistant, slow to bolt and very dependable. Leaves are large, but lightly crispy and ruffled.  Excellent for spring, early summer and fall planting this for us is a loose leaf lettuce that will form a semi head if allowed to mature. O Wise One's late mother introduced me to this variety. It was her favorite for making wilted lettuce in the spring. 

This I direct seed in the garden. It is a cut and come again lettuce and I always plant extra for the chickens because they love it.  

Bok Choy

variety China Choy

My original seeds for this Bok Choy came from Seeds Of Change (pictured below) many years ago now. Allowed to go to seed this vegetable does great and resembles the growing habit of traditional cabbage in my area. Seeds are very easy to collect so if you are planning on planting this vegetable make sure and get an open pollinated variety so you can save seeds. Start indoors about the same time as you start cabbage and broccoli. Absolutely great in stir fries. 

This I would also stagger plantings of every 2 weeks or so. I have not tried to freeze or preserve this in any way but rather simply eat it fresh in season. Very cold tolerant. 

I will be planting saved seeds.


variety Bloomsdale

This variety of spinach was an All American Selection in 1937 and performs wonderfully in my garden. My family actually prefer to eat spinach as salad as opposed to being cooked as greens. Therefore I plant this crop similar to lettuce, direct seeded int he garden and harvested as salad greens. Stagger plantings to extend the harvest. Very easy to collect seeds from you will notice in the picture above that the seed spray is forming.Spinach is traditionally a cool weather crop in our area.

Seeds can be obtained from Everwilde Gardens and most seed companies that sell heirloom seeds. 

variety Southern Giant Curled

Another cool weather green crop this is a family favorite for cooked greens and makes wonderful canned greens for the winter. A southern staple and no bowl of mustard is complete without a skillet of buttermilk cornbread to sop that pot liquor. These greens are tolerant of cool weather and tend to bolt and set seed as the weather warms. Easy to collect seed from and found on most websites that sell heirloom seeds. This crop benefits from planting every two weeks or so. Can be plagued by flea beetles. We like them picked young and tender

English Peas
variety Champion Of England

This variety is an old heirloom english variety that grows very tall. I got my start from Seed Savers Exchange a couple years ago. They can be expensive to buy at first. This year they run about $3 for 50 seeds. I bought 2 packs initially and saved seeds until I had enough to make a large planting. It takes a year or two this way but is worth the effort. They grow very tall and make lots of pods. I grow mine in a wire cattle panel supported by T posts. They freeze wonderfully but a word of warning guard them because that pest called grandkids love them!



variety Cylindra

Last year was my first year to grow this heirloom variety of beet and I loved it. Great taste and they grow long like a carrot. Since I mainly slice and pickle mine to add to salads this was a great variety for me. I direst sow these seeds soaking them first in warm water.

Notice the long beets on the left. These are Cylindra. The beets on the right are Bulls Blood



variety Early Jersey Wakefield

Early Jersey Wakefield is an early variety of cabbage with pointed heads that resist splitting! Popular for excellent flavor, this is a great heirloom Cabbage for the home vegetable garden! I grow this cabbage exclusively and have for years. I start early indoors and plant about the time that I plant potatoes which is usually mid March to April 1. A great cabbage for not only freezing but also making kraut and coleslaw. 

Fairly inexpensive to buy you can get a packet of about 500 seeds from Everwilde Farms for about $2.50.

variety Waltham 29

This year I will be growing Waltham 29 open pollinated Broccoli. I struggle with finding an heirloom that I like that does well in my climate. I start my Broccoli indoors under lights and transplant with my cabbage and other brassica crops. 


variety Red Pontiac, Kennebec

While most of the world seems to be experimenting with the colors and variety of potato they can grow my husband is a true potato snob. We have tried other potatoes out there and always seem to come back to these two varieties. This is one of the few things that we do buy locally. Usually we can find these two variety of seed potatoes in our area available in the feed stores or variety stores that carry farm supplies. Sometimes if we have a good harvest we will save potatoes from these for the next planting season. We always buy new fresh seed potatoes every two or three years though. I think if you save them for longer than that they seem to be more prone to diseases.

Sometimes we plant them under straw.

Sometimes we hill them with dirt. Sometimes we grow them both ways.

I prefer when possible to chit my potatoes or allow them to pre-sprout before setting them in the garden.

I do this indoors by simply laying them out in a semi shady place and allowing sprouts to form.

Once sprouted then they are set in trenches and lightly covered with soil. Usually with about 2 weeks the potato plant emerges and once it is about 6 inches tall I begin pulling soil up or covering with straw.


varieties WallaWalla, Candy,
Australian Brown, Lisbon Bunching

We grow lots of onions because we eat lots of onions. I can't think of many things I cook that do not have onions in them. So every year I try to not only store but also freeze lots of onions for use throughout the year. 

For some I buy sets locally by the pound. Sets are nothing more than baby onions that are returned to the garden and allowed to grow for another season and get bigger. . 

The cheapest way to plant onions by far is from seeds started in flats under lights in January
(now) these seedlings are ready to plant by March or April here in the garden. You can also buy starts locally which are onion plants started from seeds and then pulled up and the soil rinsed off. They are then packaged in bunches with rubber bands around them. Bunches usually come about 50 plants to the bundle.  If growing your onions from seeds these little onion plants must be given a haircut every so often to encourage then to make bulbs. 

 You can see the onion plants above growing between peas and potatoes. 

 Many times in my garden pictures you will see onions in the background going to seed waiting to be collected. 

  For those of you in or near my growing zone now is the time to order and start your onion seeds, this also includes green onions and chives. 

These were the onions that I experimented starting in milk jugs last year. They did great!

All of the plants listed above are plants that traditionally I plant in very early spring. Many are cold tolerant and are among the first plants or seeds to be planted in my garden each year. In January I order my seeds for the coming year and start my onions. Remember many of the more popular varieties sell out fast. 

 Blessings from The Holler

The Canned Quilter


  1. Thank you, CQ. We are farther south, but you and I grow a lot of the same things. Thanks for the review. One thing I would really like to be able to do is grow onions. I have yet to grow a good crop. Maybe this will be the year.


  2. After reading this post I am ready for spring! Can't wait to get planting! I am going to try and sprout my potatoes this year, great idea.

  3. CQ,

    I placed my order today, thank you for reminding us :-)
    This post is a great post for those who are starting with their gardens.

    By the way, I love your header picture it's beautiful.

    I didn't have much luck with the broccoli last season, something was hungry and ate every plant.

    1. Was it a little green caterpillar? I'm going to dod apost on that!!! So many people struggle with them.

  4. Good Morning I love your post it makes me want to plant my greenhouse, but it far too early here in West Virginia. I start several different plants indoors each year, but I don't have good luck with onion seeds. I've never grown English Peas, have you tried Frosty Peas? They are a very heavy producer and have a wonderful flavor, much better than anything you find at the grocery store. Yes I have trouble with pesky like caterpillars on the broccoli and am always afraid I'll miss one and it will end up on someone's plate. I enjoy your blog very much. Hopefully you will continue posting about what you plant each year, including flowers.

    1. I am writing another post for the warmer weather seeds that I am planting and hope to do a post on some of our pest management tips.I have not tried frosty peas but have heard several people comment that they are a good variety. On your broccolli don't forget to soak it in salt water after you pick it. it helps to kill any worms that may be lurking unseen.

  5. This is an incredibly useful post - thank you so much for taking the time to write it. I'll be growing my own veg for the first time this year in what I think is a climate similar to yours, so this is so helpful. Not sure if I'll be able to find the same varieties, but it's helpful to know what to look for. Looks like I need to get started on my onions! June.

    1. Very useful indeed. Thank you. I'll be trying to get my garden up again.I really enjoy your posts!!

  6. I was doing a little garden planning earlier today. Not sure what all I'll be planting, but I better decide soon. : )

  7. I need to get my seeds going! Thanks for the update, each year is the hope of a great garden like yours! Our climate here in eastern Colorado is much drier and I am trying to build up the soil, takes time, but I am loving the process!

  8. Love that I am closer to your area band can try what works for you. Thank you! Sherry D

  9. Since you are in the same growing band I am.....can you post what you start indoors and when you start it?? I moved here from a little further south, and still don't quite have my timing right, even after 7 years, even using various charts and guides from the extension office. My garlic is going well, and I have started my onions--first time from seeds.
    Would you recommend trimming the garlic to help it bulb?

  10. I love Cylindra beets as well. I have grown Champion of England peas, they were OK, but they didn't do as well for me as "Sutton's Harbinger". I'm glad that we have a similar gardening season, I will be following along for sure. I used to grow great "Copra" onions in a much colder area, zone 2, but for some reason, can't seem to grow onions here. But mysteries are fun in a way, too. Keeps the "little grey cells" working.

  11. Everything fine? It's been 3 weeks since you posted.

    1. I've wondered the same thing. I miss you CQ. I'm hoping everything is ok and that you're just on winter break.

  12. I just came across your blog this morning. It's wonderful! I'm South and I have started my spring seeds in the green house already. I grow onions from sets. I plant them in the fall and then harvest in the early summer. During that time I trim and use the greens in cooking. I've never had success with potatoes but I'm doing a lot of research this year. I noticed you had a pair of sunglasses in your picture and thought, "That's where I've gone wrong! I'm supposed to plant potatoes with a pair of sunglasses."

  13. I miss your posts too. Hope everyone is well and staying warm.


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