Vegetables: Planting and Planning for Summer

It was 27 F degrees Sunday morning. The irrigations system for the onions was frozen solid, but thankfully it did not crack. A few blueberry plants were in early bloom, so I doubt that those will have any fruit on them. Despite the cool snap, it is time to start seedlings. We could order plants from a commercial grower, but I try to avoid this if possible. If I start mine now, they will be the right size to transplant when the ground warms. It is a lot less expensive too. I bought seed in the winter for half price. As an example, a packet of 80 tomato seeds was $2.49 while a single potted tomato in our local hardware last weekend was more than that.

Potatoes are normally in the ground in our area already, but I have always had better luck planting later. This year we are going to experiment with a number of unusual varieties to see if they grow well here, produce a nice crop and can be sold in the Dallas chef's market easily. If you are wondering about growing your own potatoes, as a rule of thumb a single seed potato can be cut into 5-8 tubulars. that is a piece of a potato with one or two eyes on it. This small piece will keep the potato alive in the ground until it sprouts and sets roots; normally 2 weeks. You plant the tubulars every 12 inches. If all goes well, we will plant 70 pounds of tubulars and hope to harvest 700 to 800 pounds of potatoes.

The varieties we will plant are Yellow Finn, Rose Finn Apple, Bintje, Ozette, German butterball, French Fingerling, Desiree, Caribe, Austrian Crescent, Banana and All blue. I will share with you more when we receive them and they are planted.

Because Eva uses shallots in a lot of her dishes, we are planting Old German Shallots and Dutch Red Shallots. Economics of scale comes in here also. A small bag of 3-5 shallots cost as much as 50 shallot plants that will provide 300 shallots.

In the greenhouse, we are slowly filling shelves with trays of jiffy pots containing seeds for our summer vegetables that we transplant as soon as the ground is warm and there is NO chance of frost.

Today we planted Red Short Vine Tomatoes, Early Silverline Melon, Brandywine Tomato, White Tango Eggplant, Listada de Gandia Eggplant, Cavila Green summer Squash, Striped German Tomatoes, Wood's Prolific Bush Scallop Squash, Cilantro, Butternut squash, Thelma Sanders Sweet Potato Squash, Sweet Genovese Basil, Eight Ball Summer Squash, and Mrs. Burn's Lemon Basil. More will be planted as we have time.

In the next week or so we should see the seedlings emerge from the soil and rapidly grow into nice plants to transplant so we have an early start in the garden. This was also a day I really missed Karl not being on the farm. He liked setting the seed and starting the transplants. Memories are nice, even if they make you a bit sad. Most farmer's live a solitary life even if in a partnership with a spouse or significant other. That's just the way it is.

Stay tuned for more on our vegetable gardening.