We’ve had a beautiful warm day today, and a warmer one is forecast for tomorrow, but there was a frost here just a few days ago, on Wednesday morning. I’m glad that my plant babies are still in their flats and pots, rather than in the ground.
I’ve worked some in the yard today but still have a little more to do before the beds are all ready for summer crops. Since the “last frost date” is still a few days away, this is just as well.
The map of what will be planted in each section of the gardens has been drawn, but it isn’t really set until the plants are all in the ground, and I’ve been thinking more about what I’ve chosen to plant and the reasons for my choices.
I tend to plant many different kinds of crops, but just a little bit of each–except for tomatoes and peppers, which I plant enough of for a little canning/freezing/dehydrating. We eat a lot of tomatoes and peppers.
For the other crops, though, there are different reasons for the choices. Some plants, like lettuces, don’t keep especially well, so I try to grow enough for us to use fresh, with a little to share, but with not too much that might “go bad” before we can use it.
Some crops I grow just a little of because we won’t eat much of it (chicory and kale, for example) but we do like to have a bit.
Other crops we grow just a little of because I’m not sure yet whether I like them. This is how I started with beets, but I plant more of those now as we like them and their greens more and more.
Other gardeners make other choices. I’ve known some to grow just tomatoes. I would hesitate to put all my effort into that one crop, though, because some years are not so great for tomatoes. It would be sad to put a lot of effort into a garden that keeled over from, say, late blight! Diversification means that, even if one crop doesn’t make it, there will still be food from the yard.
Mr. Hankerson and Mr. Kastner, who have a big garden out on Dallas Highway, are growing more peppers this year than in the past, and I was told that choice was partly because they have a great new recipe for green tomato and pepper relish. They plan to make lots!
At the Plant-a-Row-for-the-Hungry garden, we plant crops that don’t have an immediate and pressing need for refrigeration, because the food pantry that gets our harvest doesn’t have a huge fridge.
My friend who grows all her veggies in containers on her driveway looks for varieties that are just a little different than standard grocery-store produce, so people who walk by won’t harvest all her food before she can. It turns out that white eggplants are less likely to “walk away” than the standard purpley-black ones.
What a miracle it is that there are so many kinds of good food from which to choose, so that we all can grow gardens that work for us!