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How to plant a garden
March 5, 2015 Canning

How to Decide What to Plant in Your Garden

Updated – March 4, 2021

This time of the year, when I’m feeling like I could be done with winter, and those beautiful seed catalogs begin arriving, I tend to get wrapped up in visions of garden grandeur. I overbuy. Every. single. year! Last year I was able to share quite a few of the extra plants that I started indoors, but I still had too many. It was the first year that we took part in a local CSA…and it was wonderful to supplement in way of variety, but also to make up for what didn’t grow well for us last year.

After evaluating our family’s pantry habits, we’re trying something different this year with our garden. We’re planning to participate in the CSA again and knowing what will likely be provided there is helping me shape my garden as well.

This year, there are a few items that I wish to stock up on in my pantry. I’ll be planting my garden with those in mind. We can do more frequent small to mid-sized batches for the pantry and also enjoy them fresh pretty much all summer.

TOMATO GARDENtomato seeds

The tomato-based pantry items that we frequently use are Tomato Jam (from Marisa over at Food in Jars) Whole Tomatoes,  Roasted Tomato Sauce, and Tomato Soup Concentrate.

We’ve chosen a variety of tomatoes that will do well for those recipes and will have a large patch of Basil. Although I do like using and mixing my own herbs and spices, I will be sure to have a few canning mixes on hand.



The other preserves we tend to fill our pantry with are cucumber-based:  Pickled Relish and Pickles! Although we enjoy relish on our dogs & burgers, we also use it for pulled BBQ meats – pork or chicken, or in ham salad. Relish and picklesWe’re trying 2 varieties of cucumbers – ones that are known to be good for pickling, several peppers to add color, some onions, and a lot of dill! We love to use fresh dill! 


If your spice cupboard isn’t always well stocked with the spices used in relish, Mrs. Wages Sweet Pickle Relish Mix will do the trick. I try to keep some on hand in case I forget to replenish in time. Read this post for tips on keeping those pickles crispy!

We love canning jams & fruit butters, but since we have terrific local orchards, we can either pick our own there or pay a little more and still get incredible deals on fresh local fruits without the effort. We also are in the midst of Amish Dutch Country – and often come across most berries in plentiful amounts.

What are your pantry staples?


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  1. Avatar
    Rae Posted March 8, 2015 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

    We are planting greens this year: lettuce, spinach, collards, cabbage. Also garlic and radishes. Those are items the CSA is a little short of, and they will grow in the cool weather before the CSA gets going.