Sunday, March 23, 2008

Spring Fever & Vegetable Line Up

I spent the morning planting vegetables and enjoying the weather. I did a bit of day-dreaming too, watching the hawks and herons hunt food for their young. It seemed as though the birds and lizards were enjoying the Spring weather as much as I was today. Robins were having a hey day on the last of the pyracantha berries and lizards scurrying over the boulders lining the driveway doing push-ups. A cowbird nested in the willow tree the last three years and I was pleased to see her again this morning checking out the same tree.

I planted a nice selection of tomatoes and peppers. Just to get your mouth watering for home grown produce, here's a photo of some of last year's crop. I'm hoping for a good a season this year too. I'm growing some of last years favorite along with a few new ones too. The tomatoes for this year are Arkansas Traveler, Black Prince, Bonnie Select, Brandywine, Celebrity, German Queen, Golden Jubilee, Grape, Lemon Boy, Mr. Stripey, Roma, Roma Grape, Sun Gold, Sweet 100's, and Yellow Pear.

New heirloom tomatoes for the garden this year are Arkansas Traveler, German Queen, Golden Jubilee and a new-to-me hybrid Lemon Boy. The Arkansas Traveler from the 1900's has pink flesh, tolerates high heat and humidity and resists cracking and disease. German Queen is a beefsteak type but smaller and less productive, but has excellent flavor. Golden Jubilee has smooth, well formed mild fruit. Lemon Boy has yellow not golden flesh and is very flavorful and produces a heavy crop.

Milder peppers are on the agenda this season and include Anaheim, Cubanelle, and Garden Salsa. Last year I had literally hundreds of peppers and I am still cooking with them. But when I only need two peppers to flavor a large crock pot, the hot peppers I grew last year will probably last me this whole season too. I also am planting Armenian cucumbers again this year. I was hoping to find some Yellow Submarines, but I have only seen and grown them once. If you ever have a chance to grow them I highly recommend them. They are huge but mild with thin skins and very flavorful.

One of my neighbors divided her garlic chives and brought me some to plant. These chives look much hardier and have thicker stems than any I have ever seen. I'll be planting them tomorrow and can't wait to see how they do here. I will also be starting some sugar snap peas with edible pods, asparagus beans, and will try growing okra for the first time.

It's a good feeling getting the vegetable garden in early this year, hopefully the weather holds, although we could definitely use some more rain. Till next time.