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Sunday, March 09, 2008

This Year's Garden: "The Best One Yet"

The vegetable garden today, waiting for spring, waiting to be planted.

After twenty years of planting my own vegetable garden, and twenty plus years of helping my Dad plant his vegetable garden before that, I’m still excited to get out in the spring and start planting again.

Every year holds the promise of being “the best year yet” in the garden. I have to plant and see if it is!

Here is the complete list of vegetables, herbs, and flowers that I’ll be planting in the vegetable garden this spring and summer here at May Dreams Gardens.

The Root Crops

Beets ‘Early Wonder’
Carrots ‘Sugar Snax’
Radish ‘German Giant’
Radish ‘Pinetree Mix’
Turnips ‘Purple Top White Globe’

The Green Beans


The Three Sisters Garden

Beans ‘Kentucky Wonder Pole’
Corn ‘Bon Appetit’
Squash ‘Hi-Beta Gold Winter’
Squash ‘Spaghetti’

The Cucumbers

‘Bush Crop’

The Eggplant


The Early Spring Vegetables

Lettuce ‘Pinetree Mix’
Lettuce ‘Red Velvet’
Lettuce ‘Speckled’
Lettude ‘Tom Thumb’
Peas ‘Green Arrow’
Swiss Chard ‘Mixed Colors’
Turnips ‘Topper’
Spinach ‘Bloomsdale Long Standing’

The Summer Squash line up

‘Gold Rush’
‘Cue Ball’
‘Eight Ball’

The Peppers

‘Big Bertha’
‘New Ace Sweet’
‘Sweet Banana’

And The Tomatoes

‘Better Boy’
‘Black Cherry’
‘Early Girl’
‘German Johnson’
‘German Red Strawberry’
‘Granny Cantrell’
‘Micro Tom’ (for containers)
‘Mortgage Lifter’
‘Red Currant’
‘Sun Sugar’
‘Woodle Orange’
‘Yellow Mortgage Lifter’

Some Herbs

Basil ‘Italian Large Leaf’
Cilantro ‘Large Leaf’
Dill ‘Fernleaf’

A Few Flowers

Sweet Peas ‘Old Spice Mix’
Marigold ‘Mr. Majestic’
Marigold ‘Sophia Mix’
Marigold ‘Golden Gem’
Nasturtium ‘Alaska Mix’
Nasturtium ‘Jewel Mix’
Nasturtium ‘King Theodore’
Sunflowers ‘Monet’s Palet Mix’
Zinnia ‘Enchantress’
Zinnia ‘Lavender Queen’
Zinnia ‘Lilac Time’
Zinnia ‘Purity’


My schedule of planting goes something like this, give or take a few days:

March 10 – 15 – Sow seeds indoor for tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, nasturtiums, sweet peas

March 16 – Plant early spring vegetables. According to the ten day weather forecast, I should be able to plant something next weekend. I’m going to plant something no matter what.

March 30 – Plant successive crop of early spring vegetables, plant out sweet peas.

May 1 – Start hardening off indoor sown vegetable plants

May 10 – Check 10 day weather forecast for chances of frost.

May 15 or later – Plant out tomatoes, peppers, eggplant; sow seeds for first crops of beans, corn, squash, flowers

May 29 – Corn should be up, so plant rest of the Three Sisters Garden

Rest of the summer – Harvest, eat, give away produce, sow successive crops of green beans, etc.
July 20 or so – Harvest first ripe tomato


I do have a couple of problems to sort out related to this year’s vegetable garden.

First, I normally plant six or seven varieties of tomatoes. This year I have 14 tomato varieties. I blame “garden blogger pressure” to grow more interesting varieties than the ones I first chose.

I’m going to have to look at my plans to figure out how to fit these all in. I’ll plant ‘Micro Tom’ in containers on the patio, leaving me with ‘just’ 13 varieties to plant in the garden.

This chart shows the space I have to work with.

Second, my raised beds have been in place for four or five years and there is at least one bed that has split at the corner, so I need to fix that. I like to fix problems as they occur, when the repair is minor. If I wait until a whole bunch of beds need to be repaired then I have a major job on my hands.

Third, the kind people at Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Co. sent me two extra seed packets to thank me for my order and my patience for a slight delay in shipping due to an ice storm. The seeds are for Lemon Cucumbers and ‘Collective Farm Woman’ Asian Melon.

I do not have room for these vining crops with everything else I am planning to grow this year. Rather than have these seeds go to waste, I’d like to send them to someone who can use them. So if you want them, let me know via a comment or email, and I’ll do a drawing to pick some one to win them.


Ripe vegetables were magic to me. Unharvested, the garden bristled with possibility. I would quicken at the sight of a ripe tomato, sounding its redness from deep amidst the undifferentiated green. To lift a bean plant's hood of heartshaped leaves and discover a clutch of long slender pods handing underneath could make me catch my breath.”- Michael Pollan, Second Nature: A Gardener's Education


Andrea's Garden said...

hello, I haven't stopped by in a while and was rewarded. So interesting to read about your vegetable garden. I wished I had room in our garden for one. Last year I visited your blog and I think back then you tried the "Three Sisters". It will be fun to see your veggies grow. Greetings from Germany, Andrea

Blackswamp_Girl said...

Carol, if you start to run out of space, could you maybe plant up a few more containers for the 'Red Current' and 'Black Cherry' tomatoes? I've grown cherry toms in a big pot before and they've been fine... just a thought, to help you squeeze more in! :)

Sherry at the Zoo said...

ummm...HELLO? Am I not your favorite sister?? The one that has been too busy blogging to do much garden prep? Hello?? Don't you want to send me some extra seeds or something? Please? I'll loan you a cat (or a dog) or two when your rabbit shows up if you share - LOL!

robbinscabin said...

I'm so impressed with your garden! I really hope that this is your best year ever.

I don't have room for your "homeless seeds" either but what a great problem to have...too many seeds!

Kathy said...

If you start too many tomatoes to plant in your garden, I will be happy to take two or three to plant here. I'm sure yours will be better than the plants I would buy at the store.
Kathy, the older sister

Leslie said...

All that snow is gone already? I guess I missed something. What an incredible list you have...I am ever so jealous!

Owin & Irena said...

Hello Carol. Your garden and your lists are totally impressive. I'm trying a vegetable garden in earnest for the first time this year....I think I'll be popping back here to visit. Seems like I can get some valuable tips by reading a blog from a pro such as yourself.

Dave said...

Wow you're going to be busy! Fourteen types of tomatoes. Are you going to freeze them for winter or do you do canning? I bet your neighbors don't need to garden do they? ;)

Katie said...

Hi Carol -

I'm suffering from raised bed envy. And 14 kinds of tomatoes? We're overwhelmed with just 5 (which is just about all we have room for...)

I'm really excited to see how this year turns out!


beckie said...

Carol, so ambitious! Can't wait to see how it all grows. You'll have toshow us pics. of all your crops. I gave up veggie growing a few years ago but am making room in the floewers for a couple of tomato plants this year. Keep up the good work!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Maybe your over flow of plants could be planted in Sherry's garden. She could also have the privilege of weeding for you. :)

Frances, said...

Give them extras to Sherry, your favorite sister, this is a no brainer, but save some for your other non favorite siblings as well, fair is fair. Okay, I bought eggplant seeds, they have just germinated, now what? You said the holes made by the flea beetles would not harm them, I am counting on that to be able to harvest some eggplants. Are they like tomatoes and peppers, wait until the soil is warm and all danger of frost is over? Any advice from you or your commentors is more than welcome!

Frances at Faire Garden

lintys said...

Wow, your snow is gone!

So much fun planinng the best year yet!

Tina said...

I just thought the same as Leslie and Lintys - Wow! Where'd your snow go so fast?
Want some of mine? I know you do, Carol. All that nice clean, lovely white sh**, I mean snow? Envious, aren't you?

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

You know, gardening is a lot like being a Cubs fan: so much joy & hope in April, reality setting in around July, then the familiar Autumn mantra of "Wait until new year." I'm sure your garden this year will be more satisfying than the upcoming baseball season for the Cubs. "Do they still play the Blues in Chicago, when baseball season rolls around?" (John Prine)

mss @ Zanthan Gardens said...

If I keep reading your blog, it's going to end with my chopping down all my trees and ripping up my lawn to have a vegetable garden.

Then when we have 40 days of 100+ degree weather and another drought, I'll miss those trees.

Carol said...

Andrea, Thanks for stopping by again, and I hope you'll come back for more updates on the vegetable garden.

Blackswamp_Girl, That's a good idea! I know I'll be planting the Micro Toms in a container, might be fun to try the other cherry tomatoes in containers, too.

Sherry, Alright, I'll give you the seeds!

Robbinscabin, I think most gardeners end up with too many seeds. We should all confess that and post about which seeds we don't use.

Kathy, the older sister, I am sowing seeds for about 5 plants per tomato so I should have some to share with you and with Sherry. I think I'll plant 2 of each variety in my own garden.

Leslie, Snow in March melts just as soon as the sun hits it, and the temperatures get above freezing. In fact, if we have a lot of snow and it melts quickly, we can end up with flooding.

Irena, Congrats on trying your first vegetable garden. I'll try to post as much information as I can through the season.

Dave, My neighbors DON'T garden. I seem to be the only one who has a garden near me. I'll give away a lot of the tomatoes. Generally I don't can, but this year I might!

Katie, Thanks, I'm always excited at the beginning of the garden season.

Beckie, Thanks and check back as there will definitely be pictures of the progress and produce as the garden grows.

Lisa at Greenbow, Yes, Sherry will get some overflow plants. She whines so, doesn't she? ;-)

Frances, On the eggplant, yes, grow them just like peppers and tomatoes. Wait until all danger of frost is past before planting in the garden.

Lintys, Planning the garden is fun, almost as fun as planting it!

Tina, After careful consideration, I am going to pass on taking any of your snow! I wouldn't deny you!

Mr. McGregor's Daugher, That is aboslutely hilarious and "spot on"!

MSS@Zanthan Gardens, Don't cut down those trees! I can't be responsible for something like that!

Thanks all for the comments and kind words!
Carol, May Dreams Gardens

heirloomgardener said...

Thank you for the information. I don't grow many vegetables. We are in the same zone, so I am going to use your time table along with the Farmers' Almanac.

Sissy said...

I am amazed at the amount of snow you DON'T have!!
You obviously are in dire need. I will ship you some right away, because that's what kind of friend I am!!!

kate said...

Ah sisters! You are so organised ... I am impressed. What a lot of seeds you are planting. It is an amazing list.

Yolanda Elizabet said...

Of course this year's garden is the best one yet. I think that every year too and so far I haven't been wrong. ;-)

That's a nice long list of things to grow in your veggie garden Carol. And not only growing but eating too at some time or other. Happy munching!

Carol said...

Heirloomgardener, I'm honored you are following my timetable and hopefully it works out for you. Make sure we share the same frost free date, that's what is important.

Sissy, Welcome back to the blogosphere. Hold off on shipping that snow, okay? You might miss it!

Kate, You have to be somewhat organized to manage this many seeds. Yes, sisters!

Yolanda Elizabet, Last year was so dry around here that if we get a decent amount of rainfall, I should have a better garden, and plenty to eat!

Thanks for the comments, everyone,
Carol, May Dreams Gardens

Robin (Bumblebee) said...

This looks like a very ambitious plan. What do you DO with all that food? Are you feeding the local homeless shelter. Are you exceptionally hungry? I'm impressed.

Robin at Bumblebee

Jeremy Dore ( said...

With such a big garden space as this have you thought about using to plan it? Could save you a bit of time...
I found it really interesting to see when you are planning to harden off crops as few people mention that. 14 varieties of tomatoes - wow - but I can understand that. I always buy the seeds I want and then end up with lots of extra varieties that I can't resist trying from magazine give-aways etc!