This year we really got cracking on our vegetable garden. The Dumbplumber, at my constant urging or nagging as he would say, put in some great raised beds. 6 beds that are 4 feet by 8 feet by 24 inches high and spaced just wide enough to run the wheel barrow through. We lined them with chicken wire on the bottoms and up the sides and then installed 1 inch PVC pipe at intervals along the sides before filling with dirt. This was so that I could use smaller size PVC and make hoops over the beds.
Because it is cold here in the spring time due to the elevation, it is very hard to plant early. With the hoops running the length of the bed and covered with plastic it creates a tunnel/greenhouse to get an early start on planting. The other advantage is that to discourage the birds and deer, we covered the hoops with deer netting to keep the critters from gobbling up all of the young shoots.
There is no point in planting things that you can easily and cheaply get at the local grocery store. So, I try to plant things that are unusual or that are good trading stock with other local gardeners. This year I had a great crop of French Shallots (which are very expensive) and Elephant garlic. I'm trading with a friend who has a lot of Torpedo and Sweet Walla Walla onions. Yum Yum.
This was the first year that I had grown Fava Beans, so I didn't plant to many, as I wasn't sure if we were even going to like them. Picking the last of the crop today at lunch, we are planning to have them with dinner tonight.
Probably something with Garlic, Shallots, Lemon, Thyme (which I also grew) and shaved Assiago Cheese. If they are a success, next year I'll plant a LOT more as they were probably the easiest thing I have ever grown in the garden.
Next year I will be urging (nagging) my husband to put ground cloth and gravel between the planting beds to keep the mud and weeds down. I'm sure he is really looking forward to it. :-D