2023 Garden Plans

A new year, which means another round of gardening! Spring will be here before we know it, so it’s the perfect time to start planning the garden.

Different Frost Dates This Year

So to start off – our grow zone is 7 with the last frost date being ~ April 15th, and the first frost date being between October 30-November 15th. It’s been like this for years.

My mom is wanting to grow a few things this year and looked up the dates. She told me the last frost date is showing May 1st-10th, which didn’t sound right.

I went to double check and sure enough, her location and ours is showing May. I’m wondering if it’s because the weather’s been off the past few years now.

By this I mean, our first frost has been several weeks early, and last frost a few weeks later. It’s thrown a lot of people for a loop, and have even lost crops due to it.

I personally was planning on delaying seed starting a little, strictly because of the late frost we’ve had the past few years. So I guess it works out.

I will say though, we had a couple of weeks with ‘spring-like temps’ and it quickly plunged into the 90’s by mid May last year.. I suppose all we can do is roll with the punches and hope for the best.

It is Tennessee after all. The weather here is like having lottery numbers thrown at ya!

Anyone else dealing with frost dates being different this year?

Anyways, lets grab some coffee and lay out the plans for the 2023 garden!☕️

Main Goals

Food Security & Healthy Eating.

Our main focus is growing enough for fresh eating and preserving. Also, to cut out a lot of store bought foods and have a more natural diet.

By ‘natural‘ I mean not eating foods loaded with pesticides, herbicides, added hormones, excessive amounts of sugars + salts, additives like anti-caking agents & softeners/hardeners, unnecessary food dyes, a boodle of preservatives, etc..

With gardening, it’ll be easier for us to cut a lot of that ‘junk‘ out. Making our own spices, growing organically, preserving it with simple + natural ingredients/methods, eat seasonally, have better quality, try new varieties, etc..

To be in control of where it comes from and know exactly what we’re putting in our bodies. To be more aware and connected to our food.

I also plan on getting into herbalism more and creating a small home apothecary this year. Even if it’s small and we only have dried herbs for teas. It’s a start!

What We Plan To Grow This Year

Tomatoes / Tomatillos

Amish Paste
Roma VF
Oregon Spring
Cherokee Purple
Black Krim
Cherry Bi-Color
Ukrainian Purple
Big Rainbow
Amana Orange
Golden Queen
Tommy Toes
Sunrise Bumblebee
Gold Nugget
Verde Tomatillo
Purple Tomatillo


Dragons Tongue
Royal Burgundy
Marvel of Venice
Gold Rush Wax
Good Mother Stallard
Painted Pony
Cherokee Trail of Tears
Kenearly Yellow Eye Cowpeas
Purple Hull Pinkeye Cowpeas


Boston Pickling
White Wonder
Straight 8

Summer Squash

Prolific Straightneck
Early White Bush Scallop




Hinona Kabu
Gold Ball
Purple Top


Purple Sprouting

Leafy Greens

(Red + Green) Oakleaf Lettuce
Maricella Leaf Lettuce
Lolla Rosa Leaf Lettuce
MI Gardener Salad Mix
Black Magic Kale
Scarlet Kale
Vates Blue Curled Kale
Red Russian Kale
Buttercrunch Head Lettuce
Matador Viking Spinach
Gigante D’Inverno Spinach
Bloomsdale Spinach
Viroflay Spinach
Giant Noble Spinach
America Spinach
Wild Rocket Arugula
Rainbow Swiss Chard
Giant Red Mustard
Green Wave Mustard
Purple Orach


Early White Vienna


White Icicle
Long Scarlet
Cherry Belle
White Hailstone

Brussel Sprouts


Onions / Leeks

Crystal White Wax Pickling Onion
Large American Flag Leeks
Red Cipollini Onions
Red Beard Bunching Onions
Carantan Leeks


Truckers Favorite White
Peaches & Cream (maybe)
Strawberry Popcorn
Blue Hopi
Hulless Japanese Popcorn



Cabbage / Pak Choi

Nabai Spring Hybrid Pak Choi
Golden Acre Cabbage
Red Acre Cabbage


Baby Bear
Sugar Pie


Moon & Stars
Sugar Baby


Alabama Red
Jing Orange
Clemson Spineless
Hill Country Red

Winter Squash

Honeynut Butternut
Ebony Acorn
Butternut Orange
Cream of Crop Acorn


Sugar Daddy Snap
Blue Shelling Snow
Cascadia Sugar Snap
Little Marvel Dwarf


Loofah Gourd


Pumpkin Spice Jalapeno
Jalapeno, Mild
Tabasco Hot
Buena Mutala Hot
King of the North Bell
Poblano Ancho Hot
Orange Cayenne Hot
Sweet Pickle
Sweet Banana
Gatherer’s Gold Sweet Italian
Sweet Sunset Italian
Pippin’s Golden Honey
Purple Beauty


Basils (Lemon, Sweet + Dark Opal)
Sweet Marjoram
Lemon Balm
Lemon Grass
Pacific Beauty Mix Calendula
Playtime Mix Calendula
Jewel Mix Nasturtiums


Florida Market


Black Nebula
Chantenay Red Cored
Petite Little Fingers


Golden Detroit
Dark Red Detroit
Ruby Queen


Purple of Sicily


Sungold Dwarf Sunflower
Autumn Beauty Sunflower
Butterfly Milkweed
Pollinator Wildflower Mix


Schronce’s Black

Other Garden Things

We’re going to try to sow all of these varieties, it just depends on how much work we can get done in the garden. There are raised beds to be filled, no-dig rows to be made, and lots of other tasks to complete.

Our main focus is the current garden space, although, we’d like to clear out the old location as well. For things like corn, okra, pumpkins, potatoes, garlic, etc.. It’s been neglected and overgrown the past couple of years now.

At least the soil looks better than before! Not as clay heavy, from what I could tell anyways.

We’ve only had a few days so far without rain. It’s been nonstop for what seems like forever now. It’s suppose to rain for the next week again too.

Maybe even flurries in the next handful of days, but we’ll see. I’ve been meaning to get the compost bins set up as well, but haven’t had a chance to do so.

Hopefully we can get most of the tasks done before we start transplanting in May. This weather has been all over the place though. One step at a time I suppose!

Seed Starting

I plan on starting most of our things, indoors, sometime in early March. Tender, warm weather plants like peppers, tomatoes, herbs, eggplants, etc..

We’ll start some ‘direct sow‘ seeds indoors as well, a little later in the month. Things like cucumbers, beans, squash, etc.. That way we can get a head start on them, since our frost date has been pushed forward.

Instead of using the tiny celled trays, I’ll probably stick with 4″ pots this year. Growing some things indoors this winter has made me realize that I prefer the pots instead.

It’s less up-potting work, more room for growth, doesn’t dry out as fast, and overall I’ve had healthier seedlings.

Last Year’s Lessons

We’re excited to get started this year though! Last year I fell ill for several months, getting a very late start to things. It felt like a lost cause at first, but I learned some useful lessons with the handful of things we were able to grow/harvest.

Lessons that I can put towards growing this year, and what I’d like to do differently, or try. Shade cloth being one of them – last summer got HOT. Miserably hot. Our poor plants struggled to say the least.

Possibly bug netting this go round too. Last summer we had a caterpillar frenzy, pretty much. Everything was getting chewed on in the garden.. Nightshades, sunflowers, leafy greens, you name it.

Unless, we get some duckies this year that I can release into the garden to purge the pests lol Ducks would be helpful to have anyways, although they are quite messy.

I’ve heard they can lay eggs through the winter seasons. Which would be awesome for when our chickens are taking a break! I’m sure it depends on the breed and happy meter of your ducks, but it’s a thought that’s been lingering.

Another lesson, mainly from experiencing such a hot summer, is to mulch really good. I’m NOT doing straw again, at least for now, because any that we’ve gotten has had seeds in it for some reason.

We didn’t have that issue in the first half of last year, but around autumn is when we started having issues. Now I’m going to have to pull weeds from our Greenstalk planters, some plant containers AND one of our no-dig rows, before transplanting anything.

Luckily, I think the winter storm that came through, at the end of December, killed off most of it. The Greenstalk photo above was taken right before it hit. Unfortunately though, the severe weather killed off our carrots and little pak choi along with it.

In The Meantime

In the mean time, we’ll try to make progress in the garden, for spring’s arrival. I have most of the ‘blueprint‘ of the garden mapped out, but I’m bad about trying to add more than I could probably handle. 😅

It’s also a little hard to figure out how much to plant of each thing, due to us still being new to gardening. The following year I’m sure we’ll have a better idea though.

I’d rather grow too much, and be able to give the extra produce to people, than to not grow enough and be without. Especially with how the food supply at stores have been; on top of rising inflation.

🌻 I’m hoping this will be a good gardening year, for all of us, no matter where you’re at in the world. Thanks for stopping by!🌻


7 thoughts on “2023 Garden Plans

  1. Happy gardening! My husband went through his seeds today and making his plan for ordering. We have a big bowl of seeds to feed to the chickens bc some of his are 5-7 years old and have not sprouted in the past. Who knows…maybe the chickens will have a garden growing this year too. 😂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your plan sounds wonderful – full of hope and energy. Regarding a mulch for vegetables, I have had good luck with chopped oak leaves on tomato and onion beds. The tomatoes especially benefitted from cooler soil. Alternatively, I know growers who use a cover crop in the same bed as their tomatoes. Here in Oklahoma soybeans are good. They keep weeds at bay and fix nitrogen,

    Liked by 1 person

    • I appreciate the advice, thank you! ✨ I need to identify the big tree in our yard, I’m thinking it’s an oak though. If so, I’ll have to try that for sure! I’ve heard cover crops are wonderful for a garden, I’ll probably give it a try too. Thanks again, hope you have a good weekend. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Instead of traditional straw bales, consider contacting SiteOne Landscape Supply and purchasing Mighty Fine Straw w/ Tack in 2/5 cu ft bales. It runs about $10/bale here and covers about 600 sq feet. There is no seed in the straw to take off in your garden like traditional wheat straw (we’ve experienced that fun before too). The tackifier they use is food grade.

    Liked by 1 person

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