The beginning of June marks, what we consider, the official start to the growing season. It is at this point in the year that everything comes together in the "Veg" and "Kitchen" gardens. All of the hard work over the past few months is culminated in "planting out" and seeing the small plantlings (my nickname) start to grow and fill their new space.
This year, we planted over 80 varieties of plants. "Wow, that seems like a lot of plants"....and yes it is, but not as many as you'd think. We like to grow several varieties of each kind of fruit/veg we enjoy. We have our perennial favorites, ones that we plant every year because they are reliably good producers and the taste is delicious. We also plant a new variety (or two) every year for a couple reasons. First, because we want to try something new. You never know what you are missing if you don't try new things! Second, because sometimes these newbies perform better than our favorites and we decide to incorporate them into our regular yearly plantings. Some of our favorites this year are...
BEETS: Chiuggia, Albino and Touchstone Gold
CARROTS: Dragon, Black Nebula and Amarillo
CUCUMBERS: A&C Pickels,
EGGPLANT: Casper, Aswad and Listada de Gandia
GROUND CHERRY: Aunt Molly's
LETTUCE: Dragon Romain, Butter Bibb and Sparx Romaine
KALE: Lacitano (better known as Dinosaur Kale)
PEPPERS (SWEET): Lilac, Ozark Giant and Ajvarski
PEPPERS (HOT): Sugar Rush Peach, Aji Pineapple and Traveller's Jalapeno.
SQUASH (SUMMER): Lemon Zucchini
SQUASH (WINTER): Jarrahdale, Musquee de Province and Tahitian Melons
SWISS CHARD: Vulcan and Five color silver beet
TOMATOES (CHERRY): Isis Candy, Blondopfchen and Sunrise Bumblebee
TOMATOES (LARGE): Hillbilly Potato, Tappy's Heritage and Gold Medal
I will be sure to add a post with our favorite seed suppliers soon. You can sign up for their mailing lists now and start planning what you want to grow for next year!
Along with all of the successes, of course there are also failures. One specifically is "Atomic Grape Tomato". We have tried for multiple years now to grow this amazing looking (and supposedly tasting) tomato and we have failed each year. They start out great and then shrivel and die. This is the last year we are attempting these, as they are just not worth the time and shelf space when there are so many other varieties that grow so well for us. It's definitely frustrating but sometimes things just don't work in your garden for whatever reason and that's okay. As gardeners, we chalk it up to another lesson learned and move forward.
What Atomic Grape are supposed to look like...
What ours look like....
Another disappointment for us this year was our pea crop. Normally it grow so vigorous that we have to tie them up and we are usually picking peas by the basket full at this time. This year, they barely reached 24" and we have had just enough peas to pick while we wander around the garden each evening. We're not sure if it was because we had an unusual Spring or if it is because of something we as gardeners did (or did not do).
Peas last year....
Peas this year...
I think it's important to talk about both our successes and our failures. Gardening is a process, a journey, and each time something either thrives or dies, we learn something. Try as we might, we do not always get the outcome we are hoping for but we do gain valuable knowledge in the process. It is up to us, as gardeners, to take what we learn and apply it to the next chapter in our gardening journey.
Please stay safe, be well and don't forget the sunscreen!
-The Pirate Chicken