I’ve obviously been doing something other than writing posts for this blog! What I HAVE been doing is getting plants ready for the farmers’ market–and now each Saturday morning begins at four a.m. as I try to put enough coffee into my system to get me ready to be at the farmers’ market to start setting up by 6 o’clock.
Today I took some time to work on my home garden. I planted some seeds: beans (French ones for haricots verts), and cucumbers; and planted some Yukon Gold potatoes. We plant lots of potatoes for the farmers’ market (Purple Majesty, Red Thumbs, Russian Bananas)–but for my home use I decided to do a potato that is intermediate in starchso that I can use them for more things.
Here is the potato patch–just planted and thoroughly watered. It’s a bit later than I really should have planted them, but we’ll see what happens. The ones on the farm that we planted about three weeks ago are showing nice small plants, so this feels a bit behind for me–but it’s really the first chance I’ve had to plant the home garden. I’ll be hoping to see green leaves popping up before long even with this late start. One of the things I am anticipating is some truly “new” potatoes! (See “Potato Basics.)
Japanese Black Trifele tomato
I’ve also planted the first tomatoes: a Japanese Black Trifele and a Black Krim. These are from those tiny plants that were transplanted from the floats as soon as they had their first true leaves…so it feel good to be able to put these plants out in the garden now. I’ve room for about four more plants, so I soon have to decide what those are going to be: most likely one Sungold cherry tomato since those are like summer candy for me, and a new one–a Cabernet–which is a grape tomato…and that will leave me room for one more that I want to try–an Indigo Rose–new this year. I’ve some very tiny plants of Black Cherry that I want to add as well. So it anticipation now!
Last summer the deer just demolished my entire garden–including an Italian Tree tomato that was about six feet tall–I’m hoping for better luck this year. I’m trying to find ways short of a huge fence to help keep out deer because I really do like my tomatoes!
The very pleasant garden surprise that I had this spring was that the fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) that the deer ate right to the ground last summer came back this spring. Though it’s usually grown as an annual, I’m hoping that if I’m very careful when I cut the bulbs I can have a perennial fennel crop since it’s one of my favorite veggies to use for braising, or for salad/slaw type dishes. Those lovely green leaves can be used as an herb for adding to salads, or seasoning if you like the flavor of fennel.
One of the things that the deer did not eat was my “walking” onion so now I have a lovely clump (they’ll soon be walking, too) of perennial onions in the garden. Now that these are established and starting to produce bulblets, they should give a continuous source of “green” onions for me…I’ll continue to buy my “storage onions from the grocery store since use so many of those. I’d need an incredibly large garden to grow my supply of those–and a lot of appropriate storage space, too; it’s just not practical–but I certainly like the concept of perennial vegetables close at hand–for a good part of the year.
My last addition to the garden today was an artichoke. Looks tiny now, but it will get bigger–and it will give “globe” artichokes–and, though it’s supposed to bear flowers this year, I know it may not give many until next year. This is one of the plants that we started from seeds to sell at the farmers’ market.
I’m sure that there will be more impulsive additions as the season progresses! Most likely more tomatoes since they are a summer favorite of mine and if the deer leave them alone, I’ll have many more than I can use because I just have to try different ones.
This doesn’t include the herbs that I’ve added this year. More on those later–right now I’m just excited to have these veggies planted–and hoping that the deer and the rabbits will leave them alone. Since a serious fence is not an option, I’m going to try the stakes and mono-filament approach–but then I may consider asking the hair-dresser for hair to sprinkle in the garden.