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Eat Your Veggies

I’ve been working on the vegetable selections for the Tanner Orchard this week. Normally I only advise on this, but we do not have anyone assigned to that garden at the moment so I’m stepping in it, so to speak. I do not mind. I rather like selecting vegetables, more than eating them, really. Though I consume far more than I once did. Oh, hell. Who am I kidding? I actually crave vegetables these days. I even have meatless meals on occasion. Meatless and cheeseless! So there.

Anyway, I’ve been selecting vegetable seeds for the coming season. I’ve stuck with heirlooms in all the species. I think. And all GMO free. Thanks to the folks at Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds it is pretty easy to do.

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They were very generous last year giving us seeds to pass out on National Public Gardens Day. That day, by the way, is May 10, 2013. And I know we are in the digital age and all but I still love catalogues and theirs is one of my favorites to sit down with at the kitchen table and dream through.  So what’s going in the Orchard in 2013? The usual things I suppose. Lettuces, radishes, beets, kale, carrots, onions, cabbage, beans (stay away deer), summer squash & zucchini, winter squash, peas, and what else? Oh! Tomatoes! To reduce numbers I selected one cultivar of red, yellow, and pink fruited plants. And now I remember sweet peppers (what my people used to call mangoes) and eggplant. As in the past, the produce will be given to Second Helpings.

Some of these will be direct sown beginning in early Spring and continuing on until after frost danger has passed. Some I will start early under lights in our basement. It is not the ideal spot but how often are things ideal in a garden? And some things I will have a local grower start – tomatoes, peppers, some early kale and chard. Maybe the cabbage.

We are doing a program with some local kids as part of National Public Gardens Day again this year. All the kids took home a tomato plant last year. This year I found one called ‘Bison’ that I think will be more ideal. It’s a dwarf one introduced in 1937. The year of the Great Flood. My thinking is kids that do not have a large yard or garden space will still have room for it and kids without a garden space at all can grow this one in a large pot. We introduce them to gardening, fresh food, and container gardening all the same time! The catalogue says it is a heavy producer. Shoot. I’ll be happy if they get a light crop.

Every year it is so exciting when the seed catalogues come with all their new introductions and can’t-live-without selections. I am so thankful I have not lost the thrill of opening those pages and reading and dreaming about all the things I’m for sure going to grow this year. Even if in reality I never buy nine tenths of what catches my eye, when the cold gray skies return the dreaming will get me to the next sunny day.

Now go eat your veggies. Meanwhile, I have to get these seeds ordered before they sell out.

Filed under: Horticulture

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