“To own a bit of ground, to scratch it with a hoe, to plant seeds, and watch the renewal of life – this is the commonest delight of the race, the most satisfactory thing a man can do.”
–Charles Dudley Warner
I’ve finally gotten all my spring veggies planted, and most of my summer ones. This has been an unusually cool spring, but I didn’t want to wait any longer to get everything in the ground. We had a totally unexpected hard frost a couple weeks ago that decimated my bell peppers and eggplants, but other than that things are looking really good. I replaced the frost victims with new seedlings and I’m keeping a much closer eye on the weather now, so I can cover up the tender stuff with straw should the need arise.
Here’s what my garden looks like right now:
As you can see, I’m all about the mulch. You really can’t garden without it in this arid climate. It holds moisture in, blocks weeds, adds organic matter to the soil as it decomposes, and keeps the plants’ roots cool so they don’t burn up in the broiling heat of summer. Gotta have the mulch!
I’ve gone in a slightly different direction this year with my crop selections. The more I read about Colony Collapse Disorder, the more concerned I get about the effects of genetically modified plants on the beneficial insects that come into contact with them. This has inspired an interest in preserving old heirloom and open-pollinated varieties of crops. The added bonus here is that I can save the seeds my plants produce and they will breed true year after year, unlike hybrids.
So I’ve switched from my usual super-sweet hybrid corn to the old favorite Golden Bantam. Instead of my beloved Hybrid Packman broccoli I’m trying an Italian heirloom variety called Di Cicco. I couldn’t give up hybrid tomatoes completely — gotta have my Early Girl and my Sweet 100 Cherries — but I’ve added Red Brandywine and Roma this year.
What I’ve planted so far:
Eggplants, Black Beauty and a Japanese variety called Ichiban
Green Beans, Kentucky Wonder
Kale, two different varieties with really long names
Lettuce, several different varieties
Melons, an Amish cantaloupe type
Onions, Walla-Walla and Yellow Ebenezer
Peas, Snow and Sugar Snap
Potatoes, Yukon Gold
Watermelon, Crimson Sweet and Garrison
I’m going to put in some pumpkins later; I’ve learned not to rush that. Nothing worse than pumpkins that are ripe in August and rotten by Halloween!
I also put in a bed of strawberries, but that’s a post unto itself.
I’m having the usual luck with my watermelons so far — which is to say, very little — but I think that’s another post too.
Here’s hoping for warm weather, no more frosts, and just enough rain!