Good Morning Garden Soldiers!  This is part 4 of our gardening series, Succession Planting.  Succession planting is a method of staggering your planting in order to extend your harvest.  It’s through succession planting that we learn what grows during what part of the season.Some plants take all summer to produce their crop where others will only grow in cooler weather.  Careful planning will allow us to grow a succession of plants in the same place throughout the season to maximize the production.  This is especially important to those of us with small spaces.

There are a few different methods of succession planting

1. Staggering the same crop (planting the same crop in different intervals of time) – Using this method, you will plant the same crop 2-3 weeks apart in order to continue your harvest.  I utilize this method in early spring with my radishes and peas.  once a row of radishes has faded, I usually replace with a warm weather crop such as beans.  I also utilize this method with my warm weather crops such as beans.

2. Different vegetables, from cool to warm weather. With this method, we are simply planning our garden to utilize our space efficiently.  We are purposely planting cool weather vegetables in the spring with intent to replace them with warm weather crops as soon as they fade.  For example, peas are a cool weather plant.  Once the warm weather sets in, they will need to be pulled and replaced with a warm weather crop that can tolerate the heat, such as beans, eggplants, or cucumbers.

3. Planting the same vegetable with different maturity rates. Many people use this technique with tomatoes.  Planting different variety of tomatoes with different maturity rates can guarantee you’ll have a harvest of tomatoes throughout the months of July-September.  For Example, early girl tomatoes should be one of the first to produce.

Before we start planning our garden with succession plantings we need to understand and learn which plants are cool weather crops with a short production and which are warm weather crops with an extended production.

Cool Weather (Spring Planting)
Crops that occupy the ground only the first part of the season

*these crops will extend into the summer longer than others.

  • Peas
  • Beets
  • *Early Cabbage
  • Lettuce
  • *Onion Sets
  • Radishes
  • Spinach
  • Turnips
  • Carrots
  • *Broccoli
  • *Cauliflower

Warm Weather

crops that occupy the ground the major portion of the season
  • Bush and Pole Beans
  • Lima Beans
  • Cabbage
  • Celery
  • Sweet Corn
  • Cucumbers
  • Eggplant
  • Muskmelons
  • Okra
  • Peppers
  • Potatoes
  • Pumpkin
  • Squash
  • Tomatoes
  • Watermelon
  • Swiss Chard

Cool Weather (Fall Planting)
Crops to be planted in July or later for fall and winter gardens

  • Bush Beans
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Chinese Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Endive
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Radishes
  • Spinach
  • Turnips
  • Collards
  • Lettuce

I’m sure I’ve left some veggies out, but this gives you a good idea of what is growing when.  Now that we understand succession planting it’s time to start our seeds and start planning our vegetable gardens.  I’ll actually be ordering my seeds this week (I’m late, lol!) so next week we’ll go ahead and start our garden plan and I’ll reintroduce the process of starting your seeds at home from one of my posts from last year.  I’ll introduce different methods of gardening as well such as the square foot garden, raised beds, and container gardening.

If you have any questions at all up to this point, please let me know in the comments section below!  Now that I’m back from New York City, I’d like to regroup and think about how others can help with this series.  If you have any suggestions or ideas for a gardening blogging event, please let me know.  I would really like to set up a link within where we can start sharing what we are doing in our gardens from our own blogs.  Also a “Look What I Grew Badge” with a photo of each of us with something we have grown once that time comes!! I am so excited about this series and seeing what each of us is doing to grow our own organic veggies!

So until next week Garden Soldiers!!

Part 1: Ordering Seed Catalogs
Part 2: Understanding the differences between Heirloom, Hybrid, GMO, and Organic Seeds
Part 3: Planting Zones, Frost Dates, and Planting Calendars
Part 4. Understanding Succession Planting
Part 5. Spring Time is Near! It’s Time to Start Those Seedlings!
Part 6. Growing Seeds Indoors Under Supplemental Lighting
Part 7. Tending your seedlings
Part 8. Methods of Urban Gardening

Hello Garden Soldiers!  I am so sorry that I did not have time to get the next post in the series up!  Please don’t be dismayed as I promise I’ll have the next step all about succession planting and a monthly vegetable guide on Friday!  So I’ll see you then!!

I am still in NYC and blogging from my hotel room.  I have got to tell you, NYC is fabulous!  I could easily spend two weeks here diving into each part of the city.  Beautiful people, beautiful culture and of course beautiful FOOD!

On our first night in town, our group of foodie bloggers had the privilege of eating on the third floor of the Spotted Pig with a cooking demonstration from famed chef April Bloomfield herself!

This gastro-pub was adorned with piggies of all types and styles.  Vintage, indie rock for sure!  I was so excited to be able to meet Chef April and we were pleasantly welcomed and led up 2 sets of staircases.
It was so amazing to get to the top of the stairwell to see a private room with kitchen station.  Chef April and staff were prepping.

At first I thought that this may be a room where they have cooking classes or demo’s etc..  Not at all.  This is a closed room to the general public.  When Chef April and other famed chef’s such as Mario Batali close shop, they head to this room to hang!  This is a place where her friends relax, cook, and let off steam!

I was very excited to visit The Spotted Pig as this restaurant focuses on fresh, local, seasonal foods.  She also uses organ meats and REAL FATS!  Real fats including, pork lard, chicken and duck fat!

On our menu:
Devils on Horseback (wrapped dates in bacon)
Onion and Thyme Tart with Ricotta
Chicken Liver Parfait With Onion Marmalade
Cheese Beignets with Smoked Paprika
Seared Beef Filet with Horseradish and Aragula
Hummus with Feta, Olives and Flatbread
Broccoli Rabe & Roast Garlic Fritatta
Crispy Duck Confit with Cabbage
Six Root Vegetable Soup
Everything was absolutely delicious! Creamy, buttery, real depth and flavor from using real fats is what can be told of these dishes.
Cheese Biegnets with Smoked Paprika
Hummus with Feta, Olives & Flatbread
Broccoli Rabe & Roast Garlic Fritatta
This was by far one of my favorite appetizers of the evening.  The fritatta was creamy, buttery, and just so full of flavor.  The Roasted Garlic kept it sweet and delicate.
Seared Beef Filet with Horseradish and Arugula
Devils on Horseback
AMAZING!!  (But really, how can you go wrong with bacon?)
Food Bloggers Mingling
This girl serving drinks is way cute!
Chicken Liver Parfait with Onion Marmalade
Another favorite of mine!  This was so sweet and tender.  I’m excited to try this at home!
It was at this point that Chef April began to share her dinner recipes with us and how she prepares them.  
She started in showing us the Six Root Vegetable Soup using local root vegetables from her farmers market.  The vegetables included, potatoes, celeriac, parsnips, turnips, and carrots. (I can’t remember the 6th root, lol!)  She sweats the vegetables and adds homemade chicken stock with white wine.  Brings that to a simmer until tender and mashes to break it up.  It was delicious!!!
It was after this that she shared how she prepares her Duck Confit.  Cured in salt for 24 hours and cooked in it’s own fat.  
(When I get home, I will upload a video of Chef April explaining this process and the pronouncement on how the duck fat is essential in this beautiful dish! Chef April is my hero!)
Crispy Duck Confit with Cabbage
Let me tell you, I am still thinking about this dish!  It was my first time eating duck and the flavors were tender and so full of richness.  This dish alone has convinced me to raise 2 or 3 ducks along with my broilers this year!  I will be making this at home ;)
Chef April was so kind and full of energy.  She was happy to chat and answer any questions.  She has taught me the wonderful flavors that can be created by using nutrient dense organ meats and real fats.
Restaurant Dining
If you are ever in New York City and are looking for delicious, nourishing, REAL FOOD…
The Spotted Pig
314 West 11th Street
New York, NY 10014

I know you probably were expecting a post on enchilada’s roja or part 2 of my series on fat. That will come soon, I promise!  However, today my hubby and I are in NYC!!

In case you didn’t know, 14 other food bloggers and I will be teaming up with Kelly Ripa and the cake boss himself, Buddy Valastro to decorate cakes and raise money for the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund.

We still don’t know many details, but keep on checking back as I post about my adventures while in NYC!  One thing is for sure, Foodbuzz and Electrolux know how to take care of their guests.  Upon arrival, Gabe and I were met by a personal driver.  He had a sign with my name on it!!  How cool is that!  We are staying in the swank and posh hotel, Hotel Gansevoort in the trendy meat packing district of Manhattan.  It’s super nice!!  And if that’s not enough, Electrolux left me a swag bag!  Check out the goodies!!

Yeah, that’s a 46 bottle Electrolux wine cooler! That silver metallic jar is a sugar duster!  I’ve been needing one!  As you can tell, I’m pretty excited! 

Here’s a picture of the view outside our window.

This really is a concrete jungle!  New York is huge and from what I’ve seen so far, beautiful!

So anyway’s tonight I’ll be meeting these lovely ladies at a special cocktail reception where there will be a cooking demonstration from The Spotted Pig.

After our reception we are all getting together for a gift exchange.  Each one of us has brought a gift for one person.  The item needs to be something related (hopefully food related) to our part of the country.  I’m super excited to give my gift!  Once we exchange, I’ll share what we receive from each other. 

Should be a great evening and I’ll definitely take lots of pictures!  I’m also thinking about asking everyone if they’d like to do a twitter hashtag for this event.  This will allow you all to keep in touch with what we’re doing via our twitter updates.  As soon as I get word, I’ll share!

Stay tuned for a recap of this evenings events!  You can also follow me on twitter at @dianabauman. 

Besitos Amigos!


The key to a great Mexican enchilada is making homemade enchilada sauce.  During the summer, when tomatillo’s are in peak season, I love to make green enchilada sauce.  However, in the winter I crave a deep sauce with depth.  Frozen preserved tomatoes, chicken broth, reconstituted dried chile’s, and pork lard create a full bodied sauce. 

Salsa Roja Para Enchiladas – Red Enchilada Sauce
Makes enough sauce for 12 enchilada’s


  1. 3 whole tomatoes (preserved) diced, or 1 can of diced tomatoes
  2. 2 cups chicken broth, preferably homemade
  3. 5 garlic cloves, pressed or smashed
  4. 2 dried guajillo chile’s, stem and seeds removed
  5. 1 large dried ancho chile, stem and seeds removed
  6. 1/2 tbls dried Mexican oregano
  7. 1 tsp cumin
  8. 2 tbls farm fresh pork lard
  9. Celtic Sea Salt to taste


  1. In a large stock pot or dutch oven add all ingredients and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until the chile’s have reconstituted.
  2. Blend all ingredients in a blender.

That’s really it!  If you have any leftover sauce save it and use over eggs for huevos rancheros or to incorporate into homemade posole.

Next up – Enchilada’s Roja!

Buen Provecho!

    Happy Wednesday Garden Soldiers!!  As promised above is a badge that you can proudly display on your blogs or wherever!  Grab the code on my right sidebar!  I’m thinking as soon as we start to grow our own seeds or plant our own starts I will begin a series of picture roundups on my blog.  That way we can all see what we’ve been accomplishing and we can share in our strengths and struggles.  For all of you city dwellers with limited space, I also have some fun posts just for you!  So stay with me as we ALL grow our own food!  Also, for all of you displaying the badge above, I have some fun giveaways coming soon!!

    Today, we will learn about zones, frost date and planting calendars.


    The Plant Hardiness Zones divide the United States and Canada into 11 areas based on a 10 degree Fahrenheit difference in the average annual minimum temperature.  The United States ranges between zone 2 and zone 10.

    As you can tell in the map above, Iowa is zone 5.  This means our extreme lowest temperature will range between -10 and -20.  (Sad, isn’t it, lol!)  So when I’m planting any sort of plant or vegetable, I need to make sure that the plant’s hardiness can withstand the lowest extreme temperature.

    Every packet of seed will indicate which zones it can grow in.  For example, I’ve always wanted to grow a fig tree.  However, it’s hardiness zones are 7 – 11.  Clearly not meant for extreme cold weather.  Until I have a greenhouse, no fig trees for me ;)

    From the map above, find what zone you live in and memorize it.  It will help you out when your at the nurseries.

    Find Your Average Last Spring Frost Date

    Some vegetables can withstand frost while others cannot.  Before planting any seed or start you will need to know when your average last spring frost date is for your area.

    In Iowa, the last frost that can happen in the Spring is May 15th.  After this date, it’s safe to start planting all spring and summer vegetables.  However, before this, a frost can happen and as some plants are not frost tolerant they will die overnight.

    To find your average last spring frost date, visit the National Climatic Data Center, find your state and download the pdf.  This is also an important date to memorize.

    Here’s a summary of which crops to plant early, and which ones not to plant until after your last spring frost date:

    Very early spring (as soon as the ground can be worked)

    • Onions
    • peas
    • spinach

    Early spring

    • lettuce
    • beets
    • carrots
    • radishes
    • dill
    • cilantro
    • cabbage
    • broccoli
    • celery
    • kale
    • potatoes

    After last frost date

    • beans
    • corn
    • melons
    • cucumbers
    • squash
    • tomatoes
    • peppers
    • pumpkins
    • eggplant
    • basil

    Planting Calendar

    So now that you know your zones, your average last frost date, you will need to know when to start seedlings inside if you will be starting from seeds.

    For example, In Iowa, our growing season is from May – October.  If I were to directly plant tomato seeds in the garden after my last spring frost date, they wouldn’t have ample time to grow and produce fruit.  Therefore, I need to start them 8 weeks before May 15th.  Obviously, there is still a danger of frost, so I need to start them inside.

    Every packet of seed will tell you how many weeks in advance they need to be started before planting them after your average last frost date or if they can be directly sown into the soil.

    A great way to start planning what needs to be started indoors and when is to use a Spring Planting Calendar.  An amazing gardening blog that I love to follow is called Skippy’s Vegetable Garden.  She provides us with an amazing online planting calendar where all we need to do is enter our last average spring frost date and the calendar will tell us how many weeks in advance we need to start each vegetable.

    To get started click here.

    Make sure and print the planting calendar.  You will now have a good estimate on what needs to be started soon.

    Remember your seed packets will also tell you how many weeks in advance to start your seeds indoors.

    It’s now time to decide what you want to grow this Spring and order those seeds.

    Next week we’ll get into spring, summer, and fall plantings.  It’s through gardening and growing our own food that we truly start to understand what it means to eat in season.

    Until next week garden soldiers!!

    Part 1: Ordering Seed Catalogs
    Part 2: Understanding the differences between Heirloom, Hybrid, GMO, and Organic Seeds
    Part 3: Planting Zones, Frost Dates, and Planting Calendars
    Part 4. Understanding Succession Planting
    Part 5. Spring Time is Near! It’s Time to Start Those Seedlings!
    Part 6. Growing Seeds Indoors Under Supplemental Lighting
    Part 7. Tending your seedlings
    Part 8. Methods of Urban Gardening


    “When someone shares something of value with you and you benefit from it, you have a moral obligation to share it with others.” –Chinese Proverb

    What I’m about to share about fat and all that I feel is good and healthy about it is simply what I’ve learned and grew up in.  It’s what I’ve researched and feel to be true.  I am not a medical professional, a dietician, or nutritionist.  I am a mother of 2 small children and a first generation American whose families were raised on whole animal fats including butter, lard, and beef tallow.  My family has grown to be old, healthy, and full of life!  My encouragement to you is to research pure animal fat from pastured animals and make up your decision on what has nourished our people for thousands of years versus what has been instilled upon us over the last hundred.

    Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing the health benefits and pure joy of eating by using butter, pork lard, and beef tallow (beef fat).  I’ll share recipes and really dive into the animal including cuts of meat, how to properly prepare them including tenderizing our grass fed beef, (Hello Pork Belly!!)  Really, it’s in these fats that we have used for thousands of years that we can begin to enjoy food.

    The book in the image above called fat, by Jennifer McLagan, is one that I would recommend to any American who has been raised on the Standard American Diet, (SAD).  She begins her book by diving into the science of fat, how we lost the appreciation for it, and why fat is good for our health.  She speaks passionately about the subject and writes in a way that one can understand and begin to see how we have a fear of eating and a fear of fat itself in this country.  A very unhealthy way of thinking of food leading to many eating disorders.

    In the United States, (I can only speak for the United States as it’s where I’ve been raised) we have an unhealthy view on fat especially when it’s on us.  I don’t know about anyone out there, but in my life, I have not yet met one person, or I should say woman, who has been completely happy with their weight.  Even my skinny friends are constantly weighing themselves and running off those extra few pounds.  I’ve found that when we are unhappy with our weight that we begin to fear food and run to diets including low fat diets.  The reality, and one that I constantly remind myself of, is we are not built to be the personified model or actress that we value so much in the United States.  We are all genetically different and truthfully a few extra pounds is much healthier than being under weight.

    So before I start writing about fat, this is me and I’m happy with me!

    Sure, I’m currently hitting the gym trying to increase my activity level especially during these cold months.  However, I’m not expecting to drop down to my high school years. That is an unhealthy way to look at weight loss.

    So now, it’s your turn.  Look at yourself and be happy with you.  Knowing you are not like anyone else in this world and that is what makes you special and unique!  You do not need to turn to diets made by man, filled with artificial preservatives, trans-fats, and hydrogenated oils, instead, let’s start eating REAL FOOD!  That combined with a healthy amount of exercise can get us down to a healthy weight.

    Now let’s start eating real fat again!!

    People with serious health conditions can benefit from reducing the amount of fat they eat.  However, for the rest of us, fat is a necessary and important part of our diet.  Please note, I am not saying to go all out and load yourselves up on fat, instead, to be knowledgeable of the types of fat there are and how to use them appropriately.

    If you haven’t signed up, Jenny at the Nourished Kitchen has started a 28 day Real Food Challenge!  Go on over and check it out!

    Tomorrow or Thursday, I will go into the history of fat, the science, and why it’s so important for our health!

    If you’re an organic gardener please join me on Wednesday as we continue our gardening series.  Zones and Planting Calendars!!

    Until then, have a freshly baked piece of toast with some real butter!