I've been very slow to post so far (sorry about that!)
Here are my plans thus far: we are putting in raised beds in the back yard area where last year we had an in-ground garden. We're doing that in the hopes that more will grow if it's not being flooded out. It also gives us the opportunity to separate our giant dog from the garden :o)
We are putting in 11 raised beds, all made of cedar planks; we also plan to purchase an 8'x6' pop-up greenhouse for use with the raised beds, and to try our hand at cold frames this fall for some continued greenery.
One of the exciting additions this year comes on top of our garage-- many of the boards need to be replaced, and since the roof is only a slightly sloped roof with lots and lots of room (the section we're talking about here is about 23' x 24') we have decided to replace the existing roof with a living roof. This will provide great insulation for the garage, but also expands our planting area significantly. We expect to be finished with the roof in early September, so it will be another great place for some of those later variety plants plus salad greens.
We've also landed a spot at our local community garden (Benjamin Franklin) in Old Brooklyn, so we're looking forward to the 800 square feet extra we get from that $30 investment. (Plus-- we're getting free seeds & seedlings as a bonus!)
We've started 10 flats of seedlings so far; most have popped up, and this includes an entire flat of rainbow quinoa that I checked on this morning and was pleased to see sprouted well. I'm really excited about the quinoa because it's a wonderful grain, is very useful, and last year's seeds were not viable (seeds of change reported a failed crop so I know it wasn't my fault). I am hoping to get a lot of grain out of those plantings.
In addition to the quinoa, we're planting the usuals-- lettuce, tomatoes, beans, peas, radishes, cabbage, broccoli, brussels sprouts, etc. We've also bumped up our potatoe plantings-- last year we bought and planted 4 pounds of seed potatoes; this year I've purchased 20 pounds of seed potatoes.
I'd like to focus on large amounts of root veggies this year to help get us through the winter; I'd also like to have quite a bit of spaghetti squash & pumpkin, which seem to hold up really well. I'm excited to have a large freezer to help with this challenge; last year our fridge died in the middle of the challenge which made it all the more challenging! We're also putting shelves in along the basement steps for mason jar storage so we can bring on the cans!
Todd is working to get a bee hive done (hopefully very soon!) so we can have our own honey for preservation and trade. The chickens are in full production mode right now, and we are experimenting with different ways to freeze scrambled eggs for use and trade.
We're also looking into a way to get butter.... but more about that later when we've ironed some things out.
If we can get butter, the challenge money will most likely be used for salt, probably some vinegar and sugar for preserves (though we do have some maple sugar from Todd & Mark's tapping days), and flour. If we can't get butter, the amounts of other things will have to shrink, and oil will be added to that list.