How I Plant Veggies Myself In Order To Feed My Family

I’ve been crazy busy madly planting, starting, sowing and harvesting the last few weeks. I have a rough garden map courtesy of (which I’m not affiliated with), but the variety of things I have makes it impossible to rely on something like that completely

a very rough garden map

The reality is I’m growing so much that it doesn’t all fit on the map. I very intensively plant and succession plant. It’s a system that I’m still developing but what I love about it is that, unlike square foot gardening, I am able to use drip lines which helps conserve water.

Also, I can put it all on a timer and go on vacation and hope that the water pressure cooperates and none of the tapes blow…The intensity of the way that I garden lets me grow enough vegetables to feed my family year round using only a fraction of my 1/5 acre lot.

I’m hoping to inspire as many others as possible to grow much of their food if only for part of the year. What really made me realize this was even possible was reading a few books which I hope you’ll look for at your local library.

They are Fresh Food from Small Spaces: The Square-Inch Gardener’s Guide to Year-Round Growing, Fermenting, and Sprouting and Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long. If you are at all interested in growing food in the city, I hope you’ll check both of these out.

I want to share with you what I’ve been so crazy mad busy starting, in addition to my starting schedule which I believe is appropriate to my Seattle conditions although I’m technically challenged. So please click on the link to open the excel version of my seed starting schedule and list.

Crop Name

Crimson Clover



Wild Garden Insectary Mix

Sunflower, Tarahumara


Sod Buster Cover Crop

Wheat Grass







Lemon Balm

Dukat Dill

Fernleaf Dill

Flatleaf Parsley


Anise Hyssop


Basil, Mammoth

Basil, Cinnamon


Echinacea Purpura






Peas, Schweizer Riesen Snow

Peas, Cascadia Snap

Peas, Sugar Ann Snap

Peas, Maestro Shelling


Mesclun Mix

Micro Greens


Provencal Winter Mix

Continuity Butterhead



Parris Island Cos

Flashy Troutsback










Strawberry Spinach

Malabar Spinach




Red Russian Kale

Nero de Toscana Kale

Dwarf Blue Scotch Kale

White Russian Kale

Nash’s Red Kale

Winter Red Kale

Fizz Kale

Radicchio, Variegata di Castelfranco

Radicchio, Early Treviso

Belle Isle Cress

Garden Cress

Ruby Red Chard

Rainbow Chard

Bloomsdale Savoy Spinach

Beets, Early Wonder

Beets, Autumn Harvest Blend

Nasturtiums, Empress of India

Nasturtiums, Black Velvet

Viola, Johnny Jump Up

Fennel, Perfection

Celeriac, Brilliant

Celery, Utah

Cauliflower, Nash’s

Cauliflower, Galleon

Cauliflower, Snowball

Cabbage, Filderkraut

Cabbage, Beira Tronchuda

Cabbage, January King

Cabbage, Tundra

Cabbage, Red Express

Cabbage, China Express

Ching Chiang

Cabbage, Danish Ballhead

Broccoli, Purple Sprouting

Broccoli, White Sprouting

Broccoli, Rudolph

Broccoli, Fall Blend

Broccoli, Purple Peacock

Broccoli, Apollo

Brussels Sprouts, Rubine

Brussels Sprouts, Roodnerf

Mustard, Osaka Purple

Mustard, Tah Tsai

Mustard, Kyoto Mizuna

Carrots, Scarlet Nantes

Carrots, Purple Dragon

Radish, Minowase Daikon

Salsify, Mammoth Sandwich Island

Carrots, Autumn King

Parsnips, Javelin

Parsnips, Cobham Improved Marrow

Radish, French Breakfast

Rutabaga, Joan

Turnip, Purple Top White Globe

Corn, Golden Bantam

Beans, California Blackeye

Beans, Tigers Eye Bush

Beans, Empress Bush

Beans, Provider Bush

Tomatoes, Super Lakota

Tomatoes, Black Plum

Tomatoes, Scotia

Tomatoes, Cherokee Purple

Tomatoes, Jaun Flammee

Peppers, Mini Bell

Peppers, Wonder Bell

Leeks, Giant Musselburgh

Onions, Copra

Onions, Tallon



Cucumbers, Alibi

Cucumbers, Marketmore 97

Pumpkins, Small Sugar

Pumpkins, Magic Lantern

Pumpkins, Sweetmeat

Squash, Costata Romanesco Zucchini

Squash, Black Beauty Zucchini

Melon, Muskmelon

Melon, Prescott Fond Blanc

Melon, Blacktail Mountain Watermelon

Potatoes, Russets

Potatoes, Yukon Gold

Potatoes, Bintje

Potatoes, Red Fingerling & La Ratte

I’ve scheduled my start dates for both late spring/summer crops and my start dates for fall/winter/early spring crops.  This allows me to feed my family (and chickens) year round exclusively (and chickens partially) from my city lot.

I don’t have a greenhouse or special seed starting room. Instead I use a simple re-purposed book shelf, fluorescent lights suspended from chain link and a 24″ Hydrofarm Jump Start T5 Grow Light System.

fluorescent lights for the plants

When it comes time to harden off I put the trays outside during the day for a week, bringing them in at night and keeping a watchful eye on them so they don’t dry out.

This time of year the weather can be tempestuous winds or torrential rains, so I’ve rigged up some simple 72″ long wire pieces tucked inside one raised bed. I’ve covered them with opaque plastic held in place with metal clips that I purchased from an office supply store.

On rainy or windy days I put the flats under cover. I will also use this system to cover my tomato, basil and pepper starts until May once I’ve planted them out.

covering my veggie crops with opaque plasticThe question I get asked most frequently is how I find the time for the garden.  Realistically once you have the seeds planted (mainly during end of March/early April and then again at midsummer) and if you’ve irrigated the garden, it doesn’t take up much time.

The harvesting and preserving, however, does. Having made the choice to only eat foods if I know how and by whom they were grown means, I would be spending that time at the farmer’s market, UPick or preserving foods someone else had grown for me anyway.

Therefore growing as much as possible myself isn’t much more of a time commitment. And the money it saves you will add up quickly. Plus being outdoors in April and midsummer is something that I want to do anyway.

Now that my kids are old enough to not eat their own caterpillar soup creations, they enjoy racing around the maze of garden boxes, or digging in the mud hole I’ve incorporated into the front garden bed.

We have plans to build the brick mud pie oven, garden spider orbs, and make a sundial together and we look forward to many a garden tea party. I hope you are all busy planning your gardens and hope to meet as many of you in some kind of meetup group.

The garden is in that in between phase where I have just recently harvested the last of the fall/winter/early spring crops, but the late spring/early summer thing are just barely surfacing so it doesn’t have that lush mid-summer look. However, I hope you’ll still get ideas on how to pack more edibles into your own yards.

Happy gardening!

Stuart Jones

My name is Stuart Jones and I'm the guy responsible for most of the content on this website. I'm a horticulturist with over 25 years of experience in gardening and garden plants. To bring color throughout the year, I regularly grow a wide variety of plants, bulbs, flowers, shrubs and trees. Oh, and let’s not forget the fruits and vegetables to ensure the fridge is always stocked!

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