We finally passed our last frost date and I’m having a hard time not ripping out all the winter plants to make room for tomatoes and peppers. That time will come soon enough, but for now the tomato sprouts are only a couple inches tall and the first bush bean plants have started to sprout, albeit under plastic milk jugs to keep their delicate leaves warm at night. In the mean time, I’ve been poring over seed catalogs. Not that I’m going to buy any seeds this year, since my collection already takes up an entire desk drawer, but there are some pretty fun heirlooms that I’d like to buy next year:
- Peppers: Topepo Rosso Pepper, a pimento pepper like I grew this year, only it might actually grow straight instead of needing to be propped up due to the weight of its own peppers. Or how about an Italian sweet pepper the Corno di Toro. Since pepper seeds are some of the easiest to save yourself, I have never actually bought pepper seeds before, but the amazing list of Heirloom peppers from Seed Savers Exchange may change that habit.
- Potatoes: German butterball. We bought these from the farmer’s market a few times (basically whenever we saw someone selling them) and now I’m sort of obsessed.
- Eggplant: Friends of ours successfully grew eggplant in their garden last year (just down the path from our garden), and now I can’t get it out of my mind. I’m partial to the long, skinny eggplants that don’t require peeling, salting, or any of that nonsense, such as Ping Tung Long.
- Tomatillo: Last summer I tried planting tomatillos from seeds I had saved and they kept getting eaten by something. Meanwhile, a garden plot 40 feet away had epic, un-nibbled-on tomatillo plants. I think I may just need to buy seeds, in which case, I am (unsurprisingly) drawn to the purple ones. Maybe when I make salsa verde the salsa will match my purple immersion blender.
- On the subject of fruit encased in husks, I only just learned about ground cherries! This is the one kind of seed I might buy for my garden this year (Aunt Molly’s), because, why wouldn’t you want to grow ground cherries? This would help alleviate my regret for not planting raspberry bushes in the garden in the beginning, when they would have had time to mature before we moved away.
- We won’t even get onto the subject of tomatoes, because I have almost no self control, but I’ve been drooling over these ones and these ones.
- Melons: for some reason there are a lot of Heirloom varieties of melon, even one that is only good for carrying around in your pockets because it smells THAT GOOD! Peter vetoed growing the pocket melon on practical grounds, although I can’t promise I’ve forgotten about it completely. In the mean time, I already have seeds for Hale’s Best Muskmelon that I bought last year, and I’m ogling Pride of Wisconsin (for its designation as the melon to grow if you can only grow one) and the Prescott Fond (for looking like a warty pumpkin on the outside).
- Squash: like for melons, I got a bit carried away with this category. The problem is that I keep finding pumpkins that look weirder and weirder, and of course that only makes me want to grow them more (i.e. Black Futzu Pumpkin, Marina di Chioggia, or Musquee de Provence). I also suffer from only having normal-looking squash seeds at the moment, delicata and New England Pie Pumpkin (aren’t the pie pumpkins overly adorable?).
Now that you know what I’m not growing, here is the garden plan for this summer:
- Greens: Lacinato (Dinosaur) Kale, Bright Lights Swiss Chard, Fordhook Giant Swiss Chard, Frisse Endive, Bloomsdale Long Standing Spinach.
- Lettuce: Rouge d’Hiver, Emerald Oak, Gourmet Lettuce Mix.
- Beans: Gold Rush Yellow Wax Bush, Royal Burgundy Bush, Maxibel Haricot Vert Bush, and Blue Lake Pole.
- Corn: Sugar Pearl F1 Hybrid.
- Peppers: pimento, jalapeño, serrano, cayenne, and habanero.
- Tomatoes: Chadwick Cherry, Yellow Perfection.
- Squash: New England Pie Pumpkin, Delicata Winter Squash, Buttercup Winter Squash, Golden Bush Zucchini, Tricolor Zucchini (Jade, Gold, and Emerald), and Costata Romanesco Zucchini.
- Cucumber: Marketmore 76, National Pickling Cucumber.
- Melon: Hale’s Best.
- Herbs: Italian Flat Leaf Parsley, Bouquet Dill, Genovese Basil, Chives, and Cilantro.
- Other things: garlic, Danvers 126 Carrot, Cosmic Purple Carrot.
As a final note, here are some pictures of the garden two summers ago (2012) when I first started gardening again.
And just a few months later…
Then more pictures of the garden from last summer (2013)… where you will find fewer greens and more peppers/corn/beans as I learned how to not kill things. I think I’m making progress!