Growing a garden specifically for canning or freezing foods is a popular hobby mainly because gardeners know just how much healthier home grown food is for their families, especially when compared to a lot of what’s available at your local grocery store. If you’re just starting out, growing a garden for canning can quite easy or complex, whichever you choose. How complex depends on the personal preferences and desires of you, the gardener.
Canning gardens are actually general vegetable gardens with the intended purpose of canning the harvested produce. Anything you eat fresh can be used for canning, which is why so many gardeners simply plant extra vegetables so they’ll have part of the harvest for eating fresh and the rest for canning.
In many cases, however, experience shows that some varieties of vegetables are better for canning than others. Thus, if you want to plant a vegetable garden specifically for canning, you should try the species which are known to work best.
Start by considering the type of canning you’re planning to do. If you plan to can tomatoes, for instance, will they be whole, peeled, or chopped? Perhaps you’re more interested in making tomato sauces and pastes, or various marinara sauces or salsas.
You should consider cucumbers, an excellent vegetable to grow for canning purposes, since you can use them to make pickles. However, even with cucumbers you’ll have to select the type of cucumber plant that serves your needs. Some of these work nicely canning dill pickles, while others work better for making sweet bread and butter pickles. Then again, some work well for pickle slices, and others are best left whole.
Another canning garden choice is different types of hot peppers, such as cayenne and jalapeno peppers because these are primary ingredients for making salsa and other hot sauces.
Just about any vegetable you can buy canned in the grocery store can be grown in your canning garden. This includes carrots, green beans, and peas, all examples of vegetables commonly grown for canning.
If you have some fruit bushes, vines, or trees, why not try your hand at canning these as well. Simply can the fruits in liquid for use during the winter season, or freeze them fresh, or create various jellies and preserves from them.
Growing a garden for canning is a great way to save money at the grocery store, and will ensure your family has a great selection of vegetables, pickles, sauces — whatever your heart desires — every season of the year.
Glenn Cutforth is a writer, graphic designer, and webmaster at Lawn and Garden Magic, an oasis of gardening and lawn care information, tips and resources where you will learn everything you need to know about Vegetable Gardening, Organic Fertilizer, Flower Gardening and much more.