Summer officially has begun — the race to fresh veggies is on

I always feel a certain sense of satisfaction when my garden is finally planted. And so it is. I spent the last two evenings first tilling under the weeds that had grown since the first go-round in April, then planting several more rows of peas, lettuce (photo below) and onions, plus beans, carrots, cucumbers, cauliflower and potatoes.


And, of course, I planted tomatoes. I am thrilled to say I broke my pattern of buying the biggest
tomatoes I could find in order to get ripe ones by early July. For those of you counting, that’s the third thing I pledged to do differently this year — the others being not tilling and planting everything in an eight-hour period and planting a few early crops.

Instead of going gung-ho on the size of tomato plants, I bought 8 of varying sizes, NONE of which had tiny fruit on them — or even yellow flowers. Surprise, surprise, they were a lot cheaper, too! I will admit, though, while part of me is proud I was able to use such restraint, the pessimist in me wonders: “What the hell I have done?” What if it’s a really cold summer and they grow really slowly? Will I have tomatoes by August? And more importantly, how can I possibly live without fresh tomatoes? What am I going to do? No seriously, WHAT am I going to do? For me, summer and fresh tomatoes go hand-in-hand. Without one, you can’t have the other. OK, deep breath Julie. It’ll be OK, they’ll grow just fine. And even if they are a bit later, there’s always the farmers’ market, right? I guess so, I tell myself begrudgingly. Problem is that even the farmers’ market tomatoes just don’t taste as good as MY garden.

Well, on to other things. The cauliflower is new for me this year. I have no idea how it grows or even if will grow, but when I was looking at seed packets, it popped out at me. “Hmm,” I said to myself. “Cassie and I both like cauliflower, that would be good.” And so I bought a packet of seeds. I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes.
I also did my best to pull/dig out the roots of the green rhubarb plant (which went to seed about three weeks ago) and replace it with red rhubarb. I’m not sure why I even bought the green rhubarb in the first place because I’ve never liked it. I find it too sour and too woody. However, I absolutely love red rhubarb, so this year I decided to dig out the green and add to the red collection I already have. Fingers crossed the green stuff actually dies off so the red can grow.

The lettuce I planted April 22 is doing wonderful (see photo to verify) and I think I might even be able to cut some to eat in another week. Yay!

By the way, I found a way to remember what I planted and where — I took the photo below just after I finished planting and watering each row. The tomatoes are in the far left background. Cauliflower to the right of the tomatoes and directly left of the raspberries. Cukes just this side of the tomatoes. Potatoes on the far left side, beans next to them. Carrots just this side of the raspberries and rhubarb on the right, and in the weedier part of the garden (near right) that I planted in April, onions, lettuce and peas. Of course, don’t forget the salvia — at each corner and in the middle of the long sides — in all its majestic purple.

So, there it is — my official start to summer. The garden is in and the race is on. Let the best veggie win!



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