Somehow summer always sneaks up on me. Between a flurry of “oh hey spring!” weekend fun and busy-ness and my day job, I looked at the calendar and suddenly it was almost mid-June.
But with a mostly rainy May, I lucked into a few perfect weekends (and some extra helping hands, aka my own master gardener) to get everything planted between my garden plot and pots on my porch. The plants certainly enjoyed all the rain, and I appreciated not having to babysit them while they were getting established.
I think this year is off to a pretty good start, don’t you? (May 11 vs June 5)
So far I planted from seeds:
- Beans–I’m trying two new-to-me yellow and green bush bean varieties this year. I want to make my dad’s three bean salad this summer!
- Peas–I’m excited to try these Dwarf Grey Sugar Snap Peas since they supposedly don’t require trellising.
- Radishes—French Breakfast (my most successful from-seed vegetable for the past three years), Early Scarlet Globe (new to me this year), Cincinnati Market, Plum Purple, and hoping I can get a watermelon radish to take this year!
- Cucumbers–I found a perfect recipe for cornichon pickles last year, and this year I want to attempt pickles from my own Parisian pickling cucumbers. They’ve sprouted, which is farther than I got with seeds last year. So far, so good!
- Carrots–With Parisian Market carrots, there’s obviously a French theme in my garden this year. But I’m excited to try these since they don’t need much depth, and they’re just so stinking cute.
- Nasturtium–I’ve never planted these before, but I like the idea of adding the flowers to salads and having a little color in my garden.
For seedlings, I planted:
- Broccoli–I love the swirls and spikes of Romanesco broccoli, so I figured I’d give it a shot in the garden. This is my first brassica-type plant, and while the bunnies took a nibble from some of the leaves, they don’t seem to have done too much damage.
- Celery–Celery is actually among the few things I will pick out of a dish, but some good marketing sold me on trying Pink Plume celery. What can I say, I’m a sucker for a good sales pitch (which, incidentally, came down to “It doesn’t taste like regular celery!”).
- Peppers–Oh boy. I may be getting nearly as bad with peppers as I am with tomatoes. I’ve got:
- Maule’s Red Hot–I loved these for drying and using as crushed red pepper last year.
- Corno di Toro Rossi–A bigger sweet/hot pepper.
- Mellow Star Shisito–Just for something different.
- Chile Pulla–I can’t find anything about growing these fresh, but the dried version is common in cochinita pibil, a Yucatan version of pulled pork, which has become my new grilling obsession.
- Fireball–I loved these last year and they produced like crazy, even in a pot on my porch. They’re like a sweeter version of a jalapeno, and I’m excited to try pickling some this year.
- Espelette–I told you there was a French theme this year. I got some of this special dried chile powder in France last year and am excited to try growing the peppers themselves.
- Padron–I think I planted one of these, but I honestly can’t remember. I hope I did, they’d be so fun to have with my next batch of paella.
And then there are the tomatoes. I…might have a bit of an over-buying problem that will turn into an over-eating problem come July/August/September. But, tomatoes! I somehow lost a bunch of the plant labels, so I’m not 100% sure what all I planted, I just know I have 11 (or is it 12?) kinds. To the best of my recollection:
- Cherry/grape tomatoes: Black cherry, Honeydew (yellow cherry), and an as-yet-to-be-determined variety of red cherry tomato
- Small/medium tomatoes
- Japanese Black Trifele–I grew this last year and liked it enough to try it again.
- Another small red tomato, another one that I forgot the variety.
- Slicing tomatoes
- Pineapple–I only got a few of these last year, but they were so gorgeous and delicious that I wanted to try again (and be better about fertilizing them this time).
- Wherokowhai–One of two dwarf tomatoes I’m trying out this year that are specifically bred to grow well in small spaces but produce full-sized tomatoes. So far they’re growing like crazy!!
- Fred’s Tie Dyed Tomato–…And the other dwarf tomato.
- Purple Cherokee–I traded sesame noodle salad for this beautiful homegrown tomato plant at the Chicago Food Swap!
- Green Cherokee–I got this as a freebie from the Chicago Botanic Garden. How could I say no to a free tomato plant?!
As for herbs, I have: chives (I cut them back and took home two pounds of chive–and they grew 6 inches of new chives in five days), garlic chives, cilantro, lemon verbena, oregano, bay, parsley, basil, winter savory, nepitella, spearmint, tarragon, rosemary, and borage. And apparently some dill seed got into my garden, so I guess I’m growing dill, too. Maybe I’ll try some dill pickles (to give away–I am decidedly not a fan of dill).