Summer has not even started and I’m already dreaming of tomatoes fresh off the vine in August. Considering how short summer is around here, any longing for summer’s end is usually reserved for skiiers and pharmicists filling prescriptions for seasonal affective disorder. But I can’t help it: I bought and planted my garden plants over the weekend– and now that I’ve made the investment, I’m looking forward to the payoff.
Last summer was the first time either Ms. Bungalow or I had ever planted a vegetable garden of our own, and we learned a lot of lessons. Critters ate the corn stalks almost immediately, weeds took over early, requiring serious attention in mid-June, and our two yellow pear tomato vines grew so large they overshadowed and stunted the neighboring romas.
This year, we started by enriching the soil with some homemade compost and lots of manure. Then we picked some fun varieties of vegetables we enjoy eating. We planted lots of tomatoes, but scaled back to just one yellow pear. We have three heirloom varieties, including Moskovitch, Cherokee Purple, and Aunt Ruby German Green. We are trying a couple different kinds of peppers– Cubanelle and Purple Beauty– because good peppers are so expensive at the market. And we thought we would try some eggplant, so we got a Neon variety and a Thai Kermit. Most of these picks are just guesses at what sounded good or looked interesting (neon eggplant!) so I hope we find some new favorites in our garden by the end of the summer.
In addition to the garden veggies, I bought some sweet basil and some spearmint for a little herb bed I wanted to try out in the sideyard. Ms. Bungalow also picked out some Queen Anne’s Lace to add to the landscaping. Although I’ve been told Queen Anne’s Lace is not a perennial in this zone, it is supposed to reseed itself and come back in subsequent years. With six of those added to the gardens, we should be up to a total of three dozen new plants and shrubs added to the landscaping this spring. I have to say it is looking quite lush around here.
I wrapped up my garden preparations today by spreading some straw over the garden plots. Only a back corner of the garden bed remains for some string beans that I’ll start from seeds in a few weeks when the weather is warmer. After our trouble with the weeds last summer, I found that straw did a great job of blocking weeds and retaining soil moisture. Straw is also cheap and easy to remove from the garden bed at the end of the summer.
There I go thinking about the end of the summer again. For now, just grow– grow, my beauties, and soon you will be delicious.