Sunday, February 5, 2017
Now is the time to decide what beauties to grow in the edible garden this year. For warm season crops, it is best to either start from seed or buy as plants to get them producing quickly in the garden. For cool season crops, you can sow seeds directly in the garden, start indoors, or buy as plants.
We have many perennial herbs like rosemary, thyme, sage, chives, tarragon, oregano come back every year. Rosemary can be dicey. I always buy the hardiest available like Arp or Barbeque, hardy to Zone 5 and 6, respectively. I order from Territorial Seed as plants. Our rosemary did survive last winter. Won't be able to tell until April or so if it has survived another winter.
I always plant basil, chervil and cilantro every year, growing from seed indoors. My favorite basil varieties are Vanilla for pot pourri and adding to homemade cleaning products, Cardinal for its beautiful maroon flowers, and sweet leafy type like Genovese or Lettuce Leaf. I grow chervil to add to my body oil with lavender; these are great for the skin and smell wonderful. I'll likely plant only Slo Bolt cilantro to give it the longest growing before bolting in warm weather.
Cool Season Crops
This year, I am going to skip any from the broccoli family as I have had pests problems over the last two years. Giving it a rest for a year will take away this pest's food supply and next year we shouldn't have the same problem.
Peas can be planted as soon as the soil can be worked. I'll plant snow peas in all my pots. The leaves, flowers and pods are all edible and taste like peas. I have overwintering Austrian peas that are used throughout the winter and spring for salads.
Spinach, lettuce, chard, and perhaps kale will be in the garden this spring. Kale is a close relation to broccoli so I may skip it until fall. I'll plant the most heat hardy spinach type. For the initial plantings of lettuce, I'll plant whatever takes my fancy. For my April planting, I'll switch over to the most heat hardy varieties. I always have Simpson Elite, Red Sails, Grand Rapids, Oakleaf, and Romaine in the garden.
Warm Season Crops
Tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, eggplant, green beans, and cucumbers are standbys.
This year, the peppers will be Ancho or Poblano for chili powder, sweet peppers Tangerine Dream, Ancient Red, and a sweet habanero or jalapeño. They are supposed to grow prolifically like their hot cousins, but be sweet.
I'll likely grow a Black Beauty, Bush, and Early Prolific Straight Neck zucchini. I like doing one of each so that whatever the weather conditions, there will be at least one that does well.
For the eggplant, I'm going to grow at least the Turkish Orange or Casper varieties.
I saved seed from last year's beans. So I'll be growing Romano II, Purple Blauhilde, and Runner beans.
Most of the tomatoes will be the ones I saved seeds from last year-Cherokee Purple, Italian Paste, and Borghese Red and Orange storage types. I'll also add some smaller chocolate types.
Cucumbers saved from seed-Jaune Dickfleishige.
I add flowers to the garden every year, interplanted with the edibles. The flowers I am planning to add this year-marigolds, Cocks Comb, Moonflower, Hummingbird Vine, Love Lies Bleeding, sunflowers, zinnias, and Hollyhocks. Flowers are great for repelling bad bugs (marigolds) and attracting beneficial bugs like bees.
There are a few more to varieties I will add to the list. I'll get all my seeds out and look through them one last time to finalize the garden plan. One thing I have to do is to make a max that I will plant of each type. The hardest thing for me to do is not over-plant! There are just so many interesting kinds of veggies out there, it is tough to make a plan and stick with it!
For different garden ideas, here are some to choose from:Heirloom Sicilian kitchen garden
Small space French kitchen garden
Start a kitchen herb garden!
Children's edible garden
Grow your own smoothie and juice garden
Decorative container gardening for edibles
Easy kitchen garden
Weed free, self fertilizing, till free garden beds