Seed

Catherine Davis

Home Farming Challenge | Cool Weather Vegetable Planting

Having spent the majority of my life living in Illinois, I know how unpredictable spring weather can be. As eager as I was to begin planting all of my vegetables after constructing our raised bed farm, I quickly learned that our drastic weather changes in the past few weeks were not going to cooperate with my tomato planting plans. Instead, I used the Home Farming Vegetable & Herb Guide to learn about which vegetables would grow best during these cooler weeks.

There are three vegetables I discovered that thrive in this cooler weather and they just happen to be three of my absolute favorite vegetables to cook – broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. Looking at the HomeFarming.com Planting Guide I discovered that these vegetables will do well in our cool Spring months and likely won’t be ready to harvest until late summer, at which time I’ll be making good use of the cabbage for my mother’s stuffed cabbage rolls recipe.

Having divided our raised bed farm into 3 sections, I used one of the legs of our L-shaped farm bed for planting broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and two rows of red and yellow onions.


One the opposite end of my raised bed farm, I created an area just for fresh herbs to use throughout the summer to add fresh flavors into our family meals. In fact, I started using the rosemary last week when I sprinkled some of the fresh leaves on top of our broccoli cheddar chicken crescent braid.

You may have noticed that our herbs have grown far beyond what would have been expected from the seeds I started weeks ago. Well, living the life of “3 Kids and Us”, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that one of our toddlers got into the seeds and pulled all of the new sprouts. Knowing it would be nearly impossible to keep the delicate seedlings away from our curious toddlers, I decided to purchase more mature herbs that were ready for planting.


Unfortunately, our seedlings weren’t the only casualty in the past weeks. Due to heavy rains and winds, my sweet basil plant died as well. Thankfully, my wonderful mother brought over some of her mint to transplant into my farm.

In the coming weeks I’ll start working on filling the rest of our farm space which will include bell peppers and my personal favorite, tomatoes! Until then, I hope you’ll take a moment to join the Triscuit Home Farming Community where you can track your farming progress, ask farming questions and use the plethora of farming resources at your fingertips.

Also, if you’ve started a home farm whether it is in containers, a ground plot or a raised bed like mine, I’d love to hear about the progress you’re making!

Home Farming Blogger Challenge Journeys


Annie M.

Setting Seeds for a Home Farm

Josh’s dream is coming true! I am 100% on board with his home farm and eager to get in there and help him make it grow.  He has put countless hours of planning and research into home farming – namely of the square foot variety – and when I shared with him that I wanted to learn he couldn’t wait to get out there and show me.

I am joining two other wonderful bloggers as we participate in the Triscuit and Better Homes & Gardens’ Home Farming Challenge. Cat from 3 Kids and Us is doing a raised bed, Culinary Concoctions by Peabody is doing container gardening, and I will dig into the earth as I plant an in-ground plot.  All three of us will be posting from now until August about our home farms – the sore backs, the cute buds and the frustrations – on our individual blogs and here on Better Homes & Gardens.

Here we are, at the beginning of home farming season!  We planted the hardy root plants in the ground and started the more wussy – err, “not frost tolerant” – plants indoors in small containers until all dangers of frost have past.  We have started planting all our plants outdoors and I can’t wait to see them grow! (Good bye frost, you will not be missed)

While some people start their home farms with a hoe or tiller, we have a tractor. We live on 20 acres of land, so we are going to plant almost every kind of plant we can and share our experiences (and hopefully success stories) with you.  Josh and David mowed a plot that is roughly 100 ft x 50 ft.  Then, Josh used a rototiller on a spot that is 1/4 of the plot for our root plants.


Since Josh is all about the square foot gardening, he took some scrap wood from his shop and constructed 1ftx1ft squares to divide up our ground plot.  Then, we took a magic marker and wrote on the board what we planted in that spot.

I got my hands into the dirt and planted the seeds! This is the first time I have ever planted anything. Josh is the farmer but I am quickly learning.

I started out with carrot seeds, and dang those are some small seeds! It was really difficult to keep only 2 seeds from falling into each little hole. I have a feeling the plots I planted will be a tad overgrown compared to the ones Josh planted. He is so much more careful.

I will admit, Josh got a lot more seeds planted than I did. We both agreed that since Josh is more particular about home farming, as soon as the kids needed one of us, it would be me that attended to them.


Lucy watched me plant the carrots. I only got one square foot of carrots planted before she announced she was not having fun anymore. When it was cooler out we came back out and she let me get another 5 minutes of planting done. Josh sweetly took her inside so I could plant at least 5 more square feet.

While I planted, Lizzie and David had their tiny watering pots out and watered my new seeds. Lizzie loved watering them more than David did.  He got distracted by a long stick and dug into the dirt with it.

By the end of the day we finally planted seeds in 1/4 of our plot.  We have carrots, lots of varieties of lettuce, cabbage, and different varieties of onions in the ground.  Josh has many more plants in containers indoors and has even started a few herbs for an herb farm for me.

I can’t wait to see them start to sprout! I hope I can keep them weeded and watered. Josh bought some hoses that should make watering easier for me. I have a short video I made introducing you to our plot, sharing a few tips and my own thoughts on home farming:



Tips & Thoughts I share in the video

We are stagger planting: This means we are not putting all our seeds in the ground on the same week. We will plant a few carrots this week and a few more next week. This way they will grow in batches and we can harvest them for many more weeks.

I hate pre-planning: I’m not very good at hashing out minute details to plans.  So having Josh sit down with me and go over exactly where each plant would be and how many to put in each little square foot plot just frustrated me. I want to just put the seeds in the ground and watch them grow. This will be a good learning experience for me. I’m going out of my comfort zone and planning out the small details.

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