So, by and large, I’ve planted my garden. Depending on how things turn out, I may or may not add one or two Chinese eggplant starts (from the Kowloon Market, up the street, which usually has them) and/or a few Ground Cherry starts (for the perennial bed), but those will have to wait until the beginning of June because I need to see which seeds are taking off and where I may (or may not) have space for a few more plants.
That’s how I do this. I intentionally (foolishly, or otherwise) overcrowd my plants to help prevent weedy things (aka: things I can’t eat AND/OR things I can totally eat, but which will take over fast and which don’t taste nearly as good as the other things I can eat that I planted on purpose) from gaining too much of a foothold. So I have a small forest of roma/sauce tomatoes in the middle of Raised Bed Number One and have planted my pole beans in clusters where (hopefully) they’ll do a good job of both (a) feeding my leafy greens LOTS of leaf-encouraging nitrogen, while also (b) providing those same (cold-hardy, heat-bolting) leafy greens with a little bit of shade during the hotter months of the summer.
What I’ve Got:
FROM STARTS (for a grand total of $23):
10 Romanelle sauce tomatoes
10 Super Marzano sauce tomatoes
1 Black Cherry miniature tomato
1 Sweet Million miniature tomato
4 Marketmore cucumbers
1 chocolate mint
1 English Thyme
2 “early prolific” yellow straight neck summer squash (in lieu of golden zucchini, basically)
3 “early cluster” cucumbers
6 scarlet runner beans
12 true cranberry pole beans
12 trionfo violetto pole beans
6 pink lady runner beans
12 mosaica pole beans
3 Black Futsu winter squash
6 Waldham Butternut winter squash
All this in addition to the goodies I already walked you through in my Beltane Garden Tour post plus the Marina di Chioggia, Canada Crookneck, and Musquee de Provence (pumpkin) winter squash seeds I planted about a week ago.
As an update, on that note: The chard and kale are seriously starting to look like chard and kale – though they’re still pretty tiny – but the rappini, peas, and fava beans are going great gang-busters and both the strawberries and the rhubarb are starting to flower (normally I’d be chopping those flower heads right off the rhubarb, but this year, at least, I need to just let it rest and make itself at home – if this means I get rhubarb seedlings all over the yard, next year, I’m sure we’ll survive). The various herb-starts I planted once the beds were in are all doing fine, putting out new growth, and generally looking quite happy, and the cilantro seeds I scattered about willy-nilly are just starting to sprout and put out true leaves.
I have some squash-like plants starting at the foot of Raised Bed Number One but I have no clue what they are. We’ll find out, I guess. (That’s my general rule: If it’s probably something I can eat, it gets to stay until I find out otherwise. This is probably some kind of a squash – just going by the size of the cotyledons, but the first true leaves are the wrong shape to be any squash I know. So… We’ll find out, I guess? I’ll throw a picture up here, once they’ve started taking off, and maybe someone can identify what I’m growing…? :-D)
Things you may have noticed: I’m going for redundancy here. Multiple kinds of leafy greens, multiple kinds of winter squash, multiple kinds of tomatoes, multiple kinds of pole beans, cucumbers, peas… you get the idea. Part of this is just: Strength In Diversity – wanting to cover my bases in case one variety of (several-years-old at this point) seeds doesn’t germinate so well. It’s definitely a possibility, though I hope to get more food than I know what to do with – so I can give some away. But the other reason for the wide variety of, honestly, a pretty limited collection of plants (tomatoes, leafy greens, cucurbitas, and legumes), is just that: variety.
I planted a few different cooking greens because (1) pretty, and (2) tasty, but also (3) I can mix them (along with dandelion greens, if any of them take root in the raised beds – here’s hoping) together when I do my blanching and freezing to allow for a more interesting mix on the palate when I’m cooking with them over the winter.
I planted a bunch of different winter squashes because they have different keeping lengths, and are good for different things. Black Futsu is a small squash – similar in size, iirc, to delicata or sweet dumpling – is good for Dinner For Two, just halve it, fill the cavity with apple juice, bake it and then stuff it with cooked quinoa & lentils or ground pork, or whatever. Waldham Butternut, on the other hand, is a super-reliable, long-keeping squash that dices really well and can feed an army (same with Canada Crookneck, actually – they’re related). Musquee de Provence is equally great as pumpkin pie or diced into a savoury creamed curry. Cucumbers make great raw salads, cold (and hot, freezable – apparently) soups, and pickles (which, if they’re lacto-fermented, can also go into soup?). Straight-neck summer squash can be stuffed, eaten raw, grilled, baked, preserved as relish, or sliced into rounds, blanched, and frozen for soups and stews.
I’m growing a mix of snap beans, shelling beans, and runner beans (which, which they work as snap beans, are good for pickling – I want to try doing a turmeric-garlic-mustard “extreme bean” pickle that doesn’t involve any chilies what-so-ever this year).
You get the idea.
ANYWAY. That’s the gist of where my garden is at, and where I hope it’s going to go from here. 🙂
Wish me (and us) luck! 😀
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
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